Tie Dye Techniques

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Tie dying T-shirts is fun for children and adults and makes a good project for summer camps or other groups. In order to successfully tie dye an item, it is important to follow a few guidelines that will ensure that your tie dyed shirt or hat will be vibrant, and that the designs will pop-out visually.

Create a Proper Dye Bath

  • Making sure that your dye bath is started properly will help the colors to adhere well to the cloth that enters it. If you are using a RIT dye (See Resources), pour in 1/2 cup liquid dye or one package of powdered dye for every 2 gallons of water. Combine the dye and the water in a large stock pot, and make sure that you wear rubber or protective glove when handling dye. The dye will stain skin as easily as it stains cloth. Heat the dye bath over medium heat until the water is almost to a simmer. Although hot water will bring out stronger colors, make sure that you do not boil the water.

Wrap the Cloth

  • Wrap the cloth using strong rubber bands. Take a section of the cloth and twist a piece of it tightly in your hand. Once the twist is very tightly wound, wrap a rubber band around it multiple times, really securing it. When the rubber bands are wrapped tightly, no dye can reach that section of the cloth, thereby creating a strong distinction between the colored and non-colored areas. Once you are finished wrapping the cloth, insert it into the dye bath dry. Stir constantly while the dye bath simmers at least 4 minutes.

Rinse the Cloth Well

  • Once your cloth has simmered in the dye bath, rinse the cloth well in warm running water. Squeeze out the cloth repeatedly until the water runs clear. Once the water is clear, turn the running water all the way to cold, and continue squeezing to ensure that all of the excess dye has been rinsed out. Remove the rubber bands, and rinse the entire cloth well with cold water. Wring out the cloth, and hang the cloth up to air dry.

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