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How to make your own tie dye patterns

Learning the art of tie dyeing is a wonderful activity where you can nurture and put your artistic talents into work. Besides making unique designs and having a style of your own, you'll have a vast choice of materials to work on from shirts and dresses to scarves and bags. If you are interested to make superb creations and designs, we show you simple to follow steps of making your own tie dye patterns.

The guide

Tie dye patterns are great for shirts, dresses, trousers, and fabric bags. You will essentially need the following materials:

  • Cotton fabric you wish to colour
  • Dye
  • Strings
  • Mask and gloves
  • Soda ash fixer
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Funnel
  • Large basin or pail

Steps

1. Pre-wash shirt or fabric in hot water. This will make it easier to work on your tie dye pattern. Make sure excess water is squeezed out.

2. Make your soda ash solution. Refer to the instructions for the right measurements. Typically, add one cup of soda ash fixer to one gallon of warm water. Use the sink or find a large basin or pail to hold the garments you are going to dye.

3. Arrange the shirt or shirts on a flat surface and tie them using the strings. There are several folding techniques you can try such as spirals, electric bunching, rosettes, stripes, circles, and pleats.

4. Dip the fabrics in the solution. Note that each gallon of solution can soak roughly ten shirts. If you would like to tie dye other types of clothes such as dresses or trousers, adjust the amount of soda ash solution. Soak the clothes in the solution for 10-15 minutes.

5. Squeeze the water from the clothes or shirts making sure that they are damp but not dripping.

6. Measure and mix your dyes in an old pitcher or pail. You can also use a funnel later on to pour the dye mix into squeeze bottles.

7. Apply the dye on the tied clothes using the squeeze bottle or use a paint brush or sponge to add colours to certain areas.

8. Bag your tied fabric to keep it damp and let the dye sit for from 4 to 24 hours. Alternatively, you can also cover it with a cloth to hasten the dyeing process and for sharper colours.

9. Rinse your tie dyes thoroughly in cold water. Keep rinsing until the water is clear.

10. Wash your tie dyes in the washing machine using a hot water temperature.

Rinsing and washout are important

Tie dye patterns are easy to do if you get your measurements right. You can experiment with a lot of colours and designs. Bear in mind that the rinsing and washout processes are vital to getting brilliant colours. Hence, it is a good idea not to overcrowd your washing machine during the rinsing process. Cotton fabrics are also highly recommended because they absorb dyes the best.

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