Skip the military surplus store and create a shirt that touts your own personal flair. Tie-dye is a time-honored tradition, dating back almost 6,000 years. In the United States, tie-dye is most associated with the 1960s. Now the popular style from decades ago has re-emerged.
Things You'll Need
1 tbsp. bronze dye powder
2 squirt bottles
Olive green dye powder
Black dye powder
1/4 cup soda ash dye fixer
1 1/2 cups noniodized salt
100 percent cotton t-shirt
Drop cloth or large piece of plastic
1/2 cup Synthrapol detergent
1/4 cup regular laundry detergent
Washer and dryer
Wet the t-shirt and wring it out.
Spread a drop cloth or a large piece of plastic on the work area. Put on gloves. Dissolve 1 tbsp. of bronze dye powder and 1 1/2 cups of noniodized salt into a bucket containing 3 gallons of hot water. Place shirt into water.
Dissolve 1/4 cup of soda ash into 1 qt. of hot water. Stir soda ash solution into the dye bucket. Soak shirt in dye bucket for at least 20 minutes. For a bolder bronze color, soak a little longer.
While the shirt is soaking, prepare the olive green and black dye. To prepare the olive green dye, take cap off squirt bottle and insert funnel. Use funnel to add dye powder. Follow ratio of 1 tbsp. of dye powder for every 16 oz. of water. Fill bottle to halfway mark. Swirl bottle to mix dye into water. Finish filling the bottle with water and put the cap on. Shake the bottle to mix the dye further until dry particles are no longer visible. Repeat the process to prepare the black dye.
Take the shirt out of the soda ash and bronze dye solution. Wring out the shirt, but do not rinse it. Lay it onto a flat protected surface. To create a camouflage style, place your fingers wide onto the shirt, then use them to repeatedly scrunch up the fabric. Keep scrunching the fabric until it forms into a round bundle. Then put rubber bands around the bundle to hold the bundle together.
Randomly apply the olive green dye and the black dye throughout the bundle. Use more olive green dye than black. You can use the spout of the squirt bottle to squeeze dye in between the folds of the fabric.
Place bundle on wire rack. Allow 12 to 18 hours to dry.
Fill washing machine with hot water and add 1/2 cup of concentrated laundry detergent (specially formulated for rinsing freshly tie-dyed garments, such as Synthrapol, PROsapol or Dharma Professional Textile Detergent). Cut the rubber bands off the t-shirt and then place the t-shirt in the washing machine. Make sure the t-shirt is fully submerged. After the washing machine completes its cycle, run the washer again with 1/4 cup of the special concentrated laundry detergent and 1/4 cup of regular detergent.
Place t-shirt in the dryer. Once dry, it is ready to wear.
An alternative to using dye to make a camouflage t-shirt is to use fabric paint. The paint dries in 30 minutes, and the garment may be washed after three days.
Protect your skin from any potential harsh effects from the soda ash and the dye. Do not underestimate the importance of wearing gloves.