DIY Tie and Dye

Tie and dye is an ancient resist dyeing technique. The process of tie and dye typically consists of folding, twisting, crumpling or pleating a fabric and then dying it, that produces different textures through dyes. The fabrics are tied through threads or rubber bands; and these manipulations prior to the application of dyeing, are called resists. These resists partially or completely prevent the dye from coloring the fabric.

tie dye  technique

Out of all the resist dye techniques, tie and dye is characterized by the use of saturated primary colors in bright shades and bold patterns. These beautiful and bold patterns may include spiral, mandala, circles, stripes etc. However, some of these bold patterns have now become cliché. Currently, new designs of more sophisticated tie-dyes are emerging in the fashion industry that are characterized by monochrome colors, simpler motifs and by paying more focus on fashionable garments, and experimenting more on different fabrics other than cotton. Tie and dye can be used to create a wide variety of designs, from basic and primary patterns to beautiful works of art.

tie and dye designs

Discharge techniques that are done using household bleach, are readily accessible way to do tie and dye without any mess and without the use of expensive dyes. Tie and dye is an excellent pastime for lazy afternoons, to create something innovative and give a new look to your basic garments. This technique tends to give better results on cotton fabric and the resulting print is durable with long lasting colors. More intricate patterns through tie and dye involve certain additional steps including an initial application of dyeing prior to resist; and then dyeing it again by tieing it in the necessary pattern in a different colored dye, resulting in multi-colored prints.


techniques of tie and dye

  1. STRIPES: Fold the fabric into vertical and horizontal pleats. Horizontal pleats results in vertical stripes and vice versa. Diagonal pleats create diagonal stripes. After this, the process of dyeing is carried forward.
  2. CLASSIC SPIRAL: Lay the garments straight on a surface and make a pleat, wherever you want the centre of the designs to be. Grab the centre of the pleat and start twisting the fabric. After twisting and tying the pleat, it moves far away, and this results in spirals on dyeing.
  3. CIRCLES: If you use a rubber band to pinch and dye the fabric on several places; on dyeing it results to form circles as print on the fabric.


classic color combinations

Color combinations that your fabric is supposed to be dyed in, completely depends on your choice. You can use dyes in any color to create beautiful patterns on your garment or fabric. However, dyes work in a different fashion; two colors, when dyed together tend to produce a separate color. A lot of fuchsia with a tinge of yellow, makes red; red and yellow combined together make orange; yellow and turquoise produce green; turquoise plus fuchsia makes purple; and a lot of turquoise plus a little fuchsia makes blue.


mixing of DIY dyes

Start with adding powdered dye to empty spray bottle, and then add water to the beaker. Also, avoid being in direct contact with the powder dye. Shake the bottle, to mix the powder dye. In order to get best results, and accurate color on the fabric,then apply the dye on the fabric, immediately after it is made. To ensure that the dye stays for a longer period of time on the fabric, and for stability the fabric can be pre-soaked for fifteen minutes to one hour, in a solution of sodium carbonate mixed with water. If the dye already has soda ash pre mixed, you can pre-soak it only in water.


applying dye

Before folding or tying the fabric, soak it in warm water because damp fabric will absorb dye more easily. On folding the fabric, soak it in the tub for dye bath. Let the folded fabric rest there for a while, so that the dye penetrates into the folds, and gives bright colors on the fabric. Squeeze the area to which the dye is applied, so that it easily gets into the folds. Flip the fabric and repeat it on the other side of the fabric as well, for better dyeing results. Take off the fabric from the dye bath, and keep it in a plastic bag to keep the fabric wet. Keep the fabric in this plastic bag for 24 hours. After the fabric is removed from the plastic bag, the folds or the ties can be opened to see further results. Also, if you want to dye the fabric in multiple colors, after the above mentioned procedure, open the folds of the fabric, and tie it again, in a different manner and re-dye.


tie and dye washing

Carefully cut the rubber bands or the threads that you have tied on the fabric, making sure that the fabric does not snip. Rinse the fabric by hand in cold water, and further the fabric can be machine dyed. The fabric is first rinsed in cold water to release excess dye from the fabric. Further, it is dyed in hot water to remove the traces of un-reacted dye, until no more dye is removed from the fabric. For the first few washes, the fabric is dyed separately from other fabrics, to avoid mixing of colors.

Tie and dye, a resist dyeing technique can be easily carried forward at your place, with minimum requirements. All you need is a cotton fabric, for better results. However, tie and dye can be further carried on any other fabric with just proper dyes.

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