I have loved tie dye for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid my dad pulled over to buy my sister and me a tie dyed shirt out of a VW van. I still wear that tie dye today. As an adult I've not been deterred by tie dye at all. I LOVE it. The bright colors, the unexpected results all add up to one amazing way to pep up one's wardrobe.
After meeting the guy who used to tour with The Dead (yep, The Grateful Dead) as their official tie dye artist and chatting up all things tie dye I learned to appreciate even more that this isn't just a crafty hobby, but an art form. The Artisan Tie Dye Kits from Tulip are perfect for professional, artistic results!
For this project you will need:
White Cotton Hobo Bags (these blanks are from Dharma Trading)
plastic wrap (like Sarah wrap)
I'm sure you've tie dyed with a Tulip kit before, because what crafty person hasn't? A notable difference here is that in the other kits the soda ash is already inside of the dye in the little bottles you fill with water. With the Artisan kit you put your soda ash into 1 gallon of water...
and soak your dyeable blanks in the mixture for at least 20 minutes.
Now you might be wondering what soda ash is and why this is a necessary step in a bucket or in the bottles of tie dye themselves... soda ash is also known as Sodium Carbonate. This stuff is going to change the PH of your fabric making the fiber reactive dye and fabric bond permanently. Allowing fabric to soak in the soda ash is a more complete method of soaking guaranteeing there is more within the fabric which tends to lead to more vibrant colors. Whew... science goggles off.
After letting your fabric soak for at least 20 minutes wring out the fabric leaving it damp but not soaking. I prefer to do this step WITHOUT gloves because the soda ash can make the fabric feel "slick" and I have a hard time working with it with my gloves on. But be warned, if this stuff gets into a cut it really, really hurts.
Add warm water to your dye bottles up to the fill line (you'll want to wear gloves now) and mix the dye together. Last year when I did tie dye at craft stores around the OKC metro there was one very frequent question... "What if I can't mix in the powder at the bottom?" Simply turn the bottle over (with the cap on) and tap the bottle gently on a flat surface. The powder dye will loosen up and fall into the liquid below. Give it a super great shake to incorporate all of the dye.
When removing the cap, keep it away from your skin or dyeables and the dye will belch out as the cap is being removed.
This was my first experience with the Artisan soda ash method and I wasn't sure exactly what the difference would be. The bottles are the same as with the other Tulip kits BUT the dye is way thicker and somehow more colorful. I don't know how to explain it but it's very different. I did find that the yellow dye required the occasional shake as the dye tended to separate but other than that it's business as usual.
Oh, and this stuff is awesome. Just gonna get that out right up front. I LOVE this tye dye.
Let's get our first bag all ready to go...
Before you can get dyeing you'll need to tie your bags up. Remove your fabric from the soda ash mixture, wring out well and then begin to fold. Here I've folded the bag in half.
Starting in the middle at the top of the bag, accordion pleat through the middle of the bag in kind of a circular way.
Once gathered, take the pleated area and rubber band into sections.
Take the bottom end and wad it up all crazy and secure with bands. I thin this is called scrunch!
Dye the center (accordion pleated areas) with different colors in bands. Take the scrunched end and the straps and dye them the same color. Here I went for cyan with the occasional addition of black.
The properties of the colors of dye are the same as all of the color rules you learned in school... cyan and magenta are going to make purple. So after my teal sat for a little bit I went over my cyan areas with magenta to also add some purple in the mix. Typically the center core area will not take on as much of the outer color so you'll have a distinct difference between the cyan and purple areas... it's pretty dang cool.
Onto the next bag...
For this bag we're going to lay it out flat and begin scrunching together the fabric from bottom to top in a curvy shape. The line of the dye will follow this line so feel free to get as curvy as you please. If you use both hands (other hand not visible because it was busy photographing) you'l get a nice, consistently shaped wave in the middle of your bag.
Rubber band your two "lines" and continue scrunching in a curvy line on either side and add more rubber bands to each line you create.
Add dye to the curvy sections you have created trying to keep it in between the lines of your rubber bands.
Dye the entire length...
clean your grate and flip over finishing out the dye with the same colors as from the other side.
Wrap up your dyed business in plastic wrap as well as you can. Oh, and professional wrap is much stronger and less likely to bunch up all crazy on you. Here I'm using the thin, cheap stuff and I was cursing something fierce. The pro stuff can be found at Walmart and they even have a store brand of it making it not much higher than the regular name brand stuff.
Toss your dyes in airtight bags to set for about 12 hours. Here I'm using gallon zipper bags but you can also use those handled plastic bags you get your groceries in by tying a knot in the top.
After your dyes have sat for at least 8-12 hours (I always think more is better!) give them a rinse in your sink or tub. I use the tub because the stream is stronger and I get my business done quicker.
First rinse with the rubber bands in place until the water seems to run clear. Remove the bands (a quick snip with scissors makes this radically easier but be careful not to accidentally cut your fabric) and rinse again until the water runs clear. Toss into the washer with no fabric softener or detergent and run through a light cycle to get all of that excess dye out. I like to use Color Catchers (found by the dryer sheets in the laundry section of stores) to make sure that excess dye adheres to those disposable pieces rather than back onto itself ruining my gorgeous white areas!
Allow to dry and then get ready to use. I have found that I like drying my tie dyes on a line best because the wrinkles tend to naturally work out and the colors stay vibrant. For some reason when I toss in the dryer the heat seems to zap some of the color out. This may totally be in my head, but I'm a line drying girl for my tie dyes always and forever!
To be honest this was the bag I thought would turn out just so so. But in the end it is totally my favorite. Hands down! And by poll, so far it is everyone's favorite too!
And here is my second bag. It is still totally fab but doesn't have that structured shape I was going for. But,hey, this is tie dye and a big part of the fun is not knowing what you're gonna get, right?
No matter how you slice it, they're both totally awesome and amazingly vibrant. In the end I learned that I am crazy in love with the Artisan Tie Dye System and WILL be using it again and often. This stuff is amazing!
For more tie dye love, be sure to visit my blog Dream a Little Bigger! Peace, love and tie dye y'all!
Head over to our TIE DYE YOUR SUMMER site for even more inspiration, how-to's, and fun videos to get you mega-inspired for some DIY summer fun!