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The best way to tie dye more 2 or more colours

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I have done tie dye projects a few times.  Usually dunking the items in buckets of dye which is only really suitable for doing one colour.  Recently we used a tie dye kit which had 2 colours with spray bottles.  this was successful but a little awkward as the items had to be held and sprayed.  It is hard to use a spray bottle if it is not in the upright position.

This week the school asked me to tie dye some shirts for a school concert.  The project was jinxed from the start but now I can tell you what NOT to do.

First I bought 2 colours of dye but when I got home discovered that the dye was for hot water.  I’ve used hot water dye before but it would not work with 2 colours.  I then did a lot of internet searching and watched a few video’s on YouTube.  From this I discovered that I have to use cold water dye and the best method is to use squeeze bottles with a nozzle.

I had 2 old juice bottles which the nozzles were a bit chewed by children

I had 2 old juice bottles which the nozzles were a bit chewed by children

The school gave me 4 shirts to dye, 1 was 60% cotton, 40% polyester the other 3 were 100% polyester.  I also bought 2 shirts for my children to do, they were 100% cotton.

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STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak the shirts in salt water (add a lot of table salt)
  2. Wear gloves when working with dye
  3. Mix the cold water dyes as per instructions.  I used Lady Dye, cold water dye, colours Sky Blue and Cherry
  4. Remove items from the salt water solution and pull up and tie off sections using elastic bands, I ran out of rubber bands and used string on some but the rubber bands are better.  Each pulled up section tied with a rubber band will make a circle.  You can do one big circle or lots of little ones
  5. Move to your work area.  I placed wire grid mesh on trestle frames.  You could also place a baking cooling rack over a baking tray.
  6. working in sections squirt the dye onto the fabric and try to ensure that the item is saturated with dye.  Where the blue and red overlapped the colours mixed to purple.  This is fun, and you can play with colours.  Blue and yellow will create green where they overlap and so on.
  7. Place item in a sealed plastic packet and leave for at least 12 hours
  8. Remove rubber bands and rinse until the water runs clear

In the past, I have done tie dye as a craft project at children’s parties for the children to take home a shirt instead of a party pack.  We did single colours in buckets.  This method not only works better but children can be more involved in creating their patterns.

left 100 percent cotton, middle 60 percent cotton, right 100 percent polyester

left 100 percent cotton, middle 60 percent cotton, right 100 percent polyester

Doing the school shirts was a bit of a disaster.  The 60% cotton shirt worked alright but the dye did not work at all on the 100% polyester ones, they came out dirty white.  I had to buy 3 replacement shirts and re-do the exercise.  Fortunately I had not thrown the dye out.  The following day I warmed the dye in the microwave and used it again.

Another tip is that if you feel that there is too much white on the finished items you can re-tie and dye those sections.  This was the case with the shirt which I did for Fjord and the end result was great.

The great thing about mistakes and errors is that we learn from them.

Tie dye gives old clothes a new lease on life. This white dress was stained and ready to be binned

Tie dye gives old clothes a new lease on life. This white dress was stained and ready to be binned

To dye the dress, I sort of twisted it into a ball and tied string around the outside to hold the ball in place.

 

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7 comments

  1. Well done Sules, I loooove tie dyed stuff

  2. Great idea for my faded whites! Thanks

  3. So helpful! It’s made me brave enough to try it for myself 🙂

  4. You have the patience of a saint 😄 I remember dyeing clothes in the 70’s as a teenager. Wasn’t for the faint hearted, but then again I have never been one for crafting or one with patience. Your tips are very helpful for someone attempting it. Interesting about the polyester. That dress came out so pretty and summery.

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