How to Tie Dye With Vinegar & Cold Water

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Tie dying is traditionally done with very hot water. Dying clothing successfully in cold water is more challenging, and produces softer, less vibrant colors, but it can be done. Particularly when doing a tie-dye project with children, or at an outdoor-camp setting, cold water and vinegar may be the best choice.

Things You'll Need

  • White cotton T-shirt or other cotton clothing
  • Bucket or tub
  • Water
  • Fabric dye such as Rit or Procion
  • White vinegar
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber bands
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Prewash the T-shirt or other fabric. Old T-shirts will absorb dye better than new ones.

  • Fill the bucket or tub about halfway with water and dissolve the dye in it. If hot tap water is available, use it and allow it to cool when the dye has dissolved. If not, use cold water. Add approximately 1 cup of vinegar to the mixture.

  • Tie off the portions of the damp T-shirt that you will dye by pulling up a section of fabric and wrapping a rubber band around it. Wearing rubber gloves, dip the fabric in the tub of dye. This step should be repeated until all of the desired spots on the fabric have been dyed.

  • Remove the rubber bands as soon as you are finished applying the desired amount of dye to the T-shirt. Allow the shirt to dry thoroughly before you wash it. Wash the T-shirt or other tie dyed material before you wear it. This will ensure that the extra dye and vinegar are removed and do not irritate the skin.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there is a problem with children putting their hands in the dye mixture, use a spray bottle filled with the vinegar/water/dye mixture to saturate the tied-off portions of the damp T-shirt.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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