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Hello all. So you want to learn how to tie dye? Well, I've decided
to give some tips here, and some basics on a couple of designs
for anyone who wants to learn. Please DO NOT email me with tie
dying questions. Those emails will NOT be answered. If you want to
learn more than what's posted here, I'd recommend checking out
Dharma Trading Co.'s web site listed on my home page, and picking
up a couple of books. Tie Dye, Back by Popular Demand is one of the
best ones they've got available. It's well worth the money if you
really want to spend some time and learn the art. To all of you who
do want to learn to do this, I'd say patience and practice is the only
true learning tool, and good luck to you. Some of the instructions
below are my own, and some are taken from Dharma Trading Co.'s
site and their tutorial. Below are instructions on a couple
of my more popular designs. I will not be giving out any other tips
on designs that I've learned to do. They took too much effort and
patience to learn.  I hope this gives any of you who truly want
to learn a place to get started. Happy Dying To You!!!


Getting started.....

Items you will need to begin tie dying:

1. Cotton, rayon, or wool cloth or clothing item.

2. Soda ash (available at a craft store or swimming pool supply store).

3. Rubber bands, string, clips, or something to tie or bind your fabric into a design.

4. Procion powdered dyes (available at a craft store or Dharma Trading).

5. Urea (available at a craft store, Dharma, or your local nursery, it is organic nitrogen).

6. Plastic squeeze bottles.

7. Plastic bags.

8. Synthrapol ( a detergent available at Dharma Trading).


Squeeze bottle method dying:

You must first wash the fabric or garment to be dyed in warm water and synthrapol to remove any sizing. The fabric may not take the dye well if you don't, so this is important. Then soak the fabric in a solution of 1 cup soda ash/gallon of water for at least 20 minutes. After soaking, take the fabric and spin it out in the washer until it is just damp. Fold, scrunch, spin or tie the fabric in the desired pattern. Lay on a plastic bag or a clean surface to dye on. Dissolve 1 Tbsp. of Urea/cup of water. Mix 1 to 8 tsp. dye per cup of water, depending on how dark you want the colors to be. Pastels don't take much dye, 2 to 4 tsp. for mid-strength on most colors, and lots of dye powder for black, or it will look gray. Squirt the dye on the fabric any way you want and let sit overnight. The next day, rinse all the excess dye from the fabric while folded, untie, unfold, rinse more, and wash in water and synthrapol. Be sure to rinse the fabric until the water runs fairly clear to avoid back bleeding in the wash.


The Spiral Design

To do a spiral design, follow the instructions above. Here are the
directions for folding and dying that design.

Prepare the shirt as instructed above. Once it's spun in the washer so its
just damp, lay the shirt on a table or any clean flat surface, and spin
it accordingly. Use your hand, a ruler, a dowel, or kitchen utensil that won't
damage the shirt, and grab it in the location shown in the picture below.

Spin the shirt so it looks like a pie. Make sure you keep all the pleats divided
evenly as you spin, and split the folds if they get too big. In the end, you'll
have something that resembles a pie, and you're ready to rubber band.

Put rubber bands on the shirt so that they look like the wedges of a pie.
These will be your guides for putting the dye on the shirt. Be sure to
get them arranged over the center of the shirt as shown in the picture below.

Once you have the rubber bands in place, it's time to put on the dye.
For a rainbow pattern, you will put each color evenly on the shirt in what
would be a couple of wedges of the pie. Be careful when applying the dye
because if you hit the rubber bands, you'll splatter the dye on the other
areas of the shirt that you are not putting that color on. When you've applied
the dye, it will look like the picture below. Repeat the process for both sides.

Let the shirt sit for 24 hours, then rinse and launder as you would any
other cotton item. Then enjoy your newly tie dyed shirt.


The Spider Design

This design is very similar to the design shown above. The difference is
that you fold the shirt in half, and then spin the spiral from the middle
of the chest of the shirt. Spin the shirt out until just damp in the washer
once prepared as noted above, then fold the shirt in half as shown below.
Use your hand, a dowel, a ruler, or a kitchen utensil that won't damage
the shirt to spin the design. You'll use a similar method to the one
described above, except for where it's grabbed and spun as shown in
the picture below.

Spin the shirt up and once again, put on the rubber bands like the wedges
of a pie. Once that's done, you'll do a slightly different method for dying
this design. For a rainbow and blue spider, one side will be dyed similar to
the directions above, a couple of wedges for each color in each piece of the pie.

That does it for the first side. Now for the second side, you want to do all one
color. This gives you the spider color that shoots between the rainbow. For
this example, I picked blue. Black, purple, grey, or green looks very nice with
this same design and rainbow on the other side. After dying the rainbow side,
Turn the shirt over, and dye the other side all one color as shown below.
That color will be the spider design main color. I recommend turning the shirt
back over and leaving it rainbow side up after dying the other color.

Let your shirt sit for 24 hours, and rinse and wash out the dyes.
Enjoy your newly tie dyed shirt.