The Joy of Tie Dye
It’s remarkable how cathartic tie dying can be. There’s something about the careless freedom of pouring vibrant, liquid colors on a clean white shirt that invigorates your sense of wonder, and reawakens your inner child. It’s electric watching your colors seep into your shirt, growing and changing, bleeding together, making new colors into rich, unique designs. There’s a sense of discovery about tie dying. You choose your shirt, your colors, you get to choose the type of design you would like to have, but in the end, you really have no idea how your design will turn out, or how your shirt will look.
Tie dying begins as an act of excited, free formed creation, and then becomes an adventure– a secret to uncover! When your shirt dries, and you finally unroll your design, it’s like opening a present on Christmas Day. Your tie dye will be a complete surprise, but, at the same time, personal to you.
There is no “wrong way” to tie dye. Below is a diagram of some simple techniques to get you started. Twisting, folding, pleating, or curling are a part of the “resist” process of tie dying. The resist process helps create the pattern in your tie dye. For example, curling your shirt will create a spiral, fractal like pattern in your tie dye.
After you have manipulated your fabric, place rubber bands tightly and at spaced intervals around your shirt. These rubber bands will keep segments of your shirt dry from the dye, and will create the negative white space in your design, crucial for an effective pattern.
Once your rubber bands are in place, you can begin to add your dye. You can apply your dye in any way you want- whether it be rainbow colors, alternating colors, black and white, or single colored- but we recommend keeping complementary colors from blending. For example, Red and Green, Orange and Blue, and Yellow and Purple do not mix with one another. When these complementary colors do mix, they create a dingy, brown color that will detract from the vibrancy of your tie dye. In general, keep primary colors together if you are going to blend in your tie dye.
Red+Yellow = Orange
Yellow+Blue = Green
Red+Blue = Purple
Once you’ve applied your color, let your tie dye sit for 24 hours. Once the shirt has dried, remove the rubber bands, and then wash your tie dye alone in hot water.