Tie-dyeing is a process that can be done to just about any fabric. In tie-dyeing, you twist fabric and dye it with bright, vivid colors in a particular pattern. Natural fibers, such as hemp, cotton, rayon, ramie and linen, work best. When tie-dyeing it is important to set up your colors and workstation beforehand. Have an idea of what colors go with what, and visualize how you want the end result to look. If you do not have a separate flower pattern to tie-dye, you can also tie-dye a flower shape by the way you fold and tie the fabric. Fold each “flower” (or part of fabric) in an accordion to make a long, narrow rectangle. Fold the fabric back and forth in the shape of a triangle.
Things You'll Need
- Pre-cut flower shape
- Protective dust mask
- Soda ash fixer (pure dense sodium carbonate)
- Rubber bands
- Plastic bins
- Squeeze bottles (one for each color of dye used)
- Plastic bags
- Dye fixative
- Washing machine
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Soak the fabric in water.
Twist and tie the fabric flower into desired patterns. Use rubber bands to secure the tied part. If you have never tie-dyed before, you might want to practice on a T-shirt. Remove all excess water that the fabric has absorbed. Sometimes it takes a few tries before being able to fold the fabric to dye into the flower shape, so practicing this aspect can also be beneficial.
Soak the fabric in the salt solution. There should be 8 oz. of soda ash to 1 gallon of water. Let it sit in the bin for 15 minutes. Remove the excess solution from the fabric so that it is not dripping.
Mix the dye and the water in one of the squeeze bottles, shaking until the dye is completely dissolved. Repeat as necessary for each color you plan to use.
Squirt the dye onto the fabric.
Place the wet fabric into the plastic bag. Allow it to sit for 24 hours.
Fill your washing machine with hot water and 1/4 a cup of dye fixative.
Rinse the fabric, leaving the ties on the fabric, under very cold water to shock the dye and keep the chemical reaction.
Rinse the balled fabric in warm water, slowly untying the rubber bands; rinse it until the water runs clear.
Put the fabric into the hot water in the washing machine, and allow it to run through a full cycle.