Easy Tie-Dye: Food for Thought
Tie-dyed fabrics are vibrant and colorful, but they are also a challenge to make. You have to tie off, or rubber band, the fabric and dip it into multiple dyes – which is messy and not the most kid-friendly of crafts. You can make tie-dye style fabrics using a single dye. It creates different levels of color, and interesting patterns, without the mess of standard tie dye.
What you need:
- Large plastic tub with cover – the container should be big enough to fit all of the fabric with about six inches of room left at the top.
- Cloth – select natural fibers, like cotton or wool, that absorb dye easily
- Two bottles of liquid fabric dye – the same color
- 1 cup of table salt
- Hot water
- Ruler, yard stick or large wooden spoon
- Crumple the fabric into a ball and put it into the bin. Tightly-crumpled fabric will allow less dye to seep into the folded area, while looser crumples does the opposite.
- Drizzle one bottle of fabric dye over the fabric. The dye should make splotchy patterns in the fabric, which is what you want. The areas that the dye touches will be darker than the untouched areas.
- Pour the salt into the bin. The salt will help the dye set.
- Add enough water to cover the cloth completely. Press the cloth down with a ruler or spoon to make sure it is all submerged.
- Stir the water with ruler, or wooden spoon. Some of the dye will bleed out of the fabric and into the water.
- Add some of the dye from the second bottle to make the water darker. Add as much, or as little as you like. The more dye you add, the darker the finished creation will be. However, if you are using a dark color, like navy or black, be aware that making the water too dark might obscure the pattern on the cloth.
- Cover the bin and let it sit for at least three hours. The longer you let it sit, the more the dye will saturate the cloth. Three hours is the minimum, but you can let it sit as long as you like.
- Pour the contents of the bin into the washing machine. If the fabric is too big, carefully transfer the fabric to the machine, then pour the water into the washing machine.
- Run the washing machine for one cycle to remove any excess dye.
- Dry the finished product in the dryer, to help set the dye.
You can find fabric dye at stores like Hancock Fabrics, hobby stores, and sometimes in the laundry section at some grocery and drug stores. Look for Hancock Fabrics coupon deals online, or for free coupons for craft stores to save money.
You can also use old clothes that are made of natural materials. Avoid using synthetics, or blended fabrics, because they don’t tend to absorb dyes well.
If you use a large textile, like bed sheets, double the amount of dye and start the process in the washing machine instead of a large bin. Use the soak cycle to fill the drum, then turn off the machine and let the fabric sit in the dye solution for several hours.
Keep in mind that the dye could stain the machine, which could stain your clothes. Be sure to run the washing machine for one wash cycle, with bleach, before you use it for your regular laundry.