Tie-Dye Methods

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Tie-dye is a process of resistant textile dyeing. This means that designs etched in different colors on fabric do not run loose on the fabric. Modern tie-dye involves using bright colors against a white background. Tie-dyeing is done by folding wet fabric into desired patterns or shapes. You can apply different colored dyes to different parts of the fabric.

Types of Fabrics and Dyes

Tie-dye is usually done with dyes found in the store, which are common fiber-resistant reactive dyes. These dyes prevent the color from running all over the fabric and maintain the design or pattern. Usually, dyes are purchased in the three primary colors of red, yellow and blue.

Cotton, canvas and linen, which are composed of 100-percent fiber, are all dyeable fabrics; they react well with the dye to give you the desired results. Fabric blends of rayon and silk do not react well with the dyes.

Light-colored fabrics mix well with the dye, producing bright-colored, well-shaped designs and patterns. Dark-colored fabrics of black, purple and blue should be avoided. These dark-colored fabrics change the color of the dye. For instance, a red dye against a fabric of purple will give a brown color.

Folding Techniques

Folds are created in accordance with a pattern, design or shape. The common folding techniques include the spiral, V shape, random design and peace patterns. Spirals are created by gathering or bunching together a section of the cloth in the middle. This can be accomplished by use of a small clothespin or kitchen fork. The fabric is then slowly rotated around the pin to create pleats. The pleats are then bundled into different sections and dyed in different colors. Each section is held by a rubber band to prevent the colors from mixing. Once the color is set, the rubber bands and the pin are removed and the fabric is rinsed in warm water.

To tie-dye in a V shape, the fabric is folded in half vertically and a line is drawn diagonally from the shoulder area to the center. The fabric is then folded according to the line and the dye is applied to the desired pleats.

A random design usually involves a pattern of random circles where different parts of fabric are tied in a knot by a rubber band. This results in various circular patterns across the fabric.

Peace designs are achieved by folding the fabric in half and drawing a half circle followed by the center line and arm of the peace sign. The fabric is then folded along the lines and tied using rubber bands. The dye is then applied to form the outline of the peace sign. A lighter-colored dye is used to fill in the background colors.

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