What is Tie-Dye ?

Tie-dye is a method for dying natural fabrics that creates colorful and interesting patterns. The method includes folding, pleating or crumpling the fabric into different patterns then tying it with string. Soaking the fabric in vats of dye and the tied part will get uneven distribution of color creating different kind of patterns after wrung out and rinsed.

It is very important to get natural fabric in making a tie-dye, for synthetic materials do not accept dye. Cotton is the best fabric in making a tie-dye. You can also do tie-dye in silk scarves, blouses, bed sheets, pants and skirts.

Most people use three colors in their tie-dye, but you can also use multiple colors to your heart’s desire. If you will be using several colors, make sure to pick colors that will complement with each other to make the color blending get interesting result. Vats should be prepared in plastic tubs or bucket ahead of time before doing the tie-dye and prepare a pot for heating your dye mixture.

The first step in doing tie-dye includes soaking the fabric in soda ash, make sure to wear protective glove throughout the tie-dye process. Use half cup of soda ash per gallon of water, soak the fabric in the solution for five to ten minutes, occasionally turning the fabric. Remove the excess water after you wrung out the fabric; make sure to keep the fabric wet. The techniques in folding the fabric determine the result pattern in tie-dye. There are books regarding the instruction for folding that beginners can use.

With the material tied, you can start soaking into hot vat with the lightest color first. Leave the fabric for ten minutes before thoroughly rinsing it with warm water after moving it to another vat with different color. Depending on the desired pattern and color result, the longer you soak the fabric the deeper the color. The temperature of the vat also affects in color absorption. You can also partially dip the fabric if desired.

After the tie-dye process, rinse the tied fabric with warm water until the water runs clear. Finally, untie the fabric and wash it with mild detergent and cold water. For regular care, wash separately with cold water.

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