Monday, 2 May 2011
Eugene is a city still inhabited by Hippies, so we have the perfect excuse to indulge in some tie-dye t-shirt fun.
Beth and I bought a couple of tie-dye kits ($15 each) and some white t-shirts ($3 each) at WalMart, and our friend Nicholas came round to join us for a Festival of dyeing.
Our kits had 3 colors each and enough dye between them to complete twenty t-shirts, but we decided to do three each to start with and see how they went. The kit gives plans on how to do the ties, using rubber bands to create circles, spirals, splotches, scrunches and other ideas. We rinsed the t-shirts to remove any residue chemicals and shop marks, and tied the damp shirts into various patterns. The damp helps the dye penetrate the fibres.
Nick and I enthusiastically grabbed the bottles of dye almost before Beth had finished mixing them (the bottles contain powdered dye to be mixed in the bottle), and started squirting.
Beth's more controlled approach allowed her to see our mess-ups, and plan her moves carefully.
Determinedly not following the instructions, Nick took off his rubber bands as soon as he'd finished applying the dyes. You're supposed to wait until the dyes have set more, several hours later. We wrapped our t-shirts in plastic wrap to prevent unintentional cross-dyeing, and placed them in the sun to bake.
Beth carefully tidied up the plastic sheets we had placed to protect our patio table. Just as well, as there were several dye dribbles.
The longer you leave them the better the dye will take. Nick took his home, while Beth and I left ours overnight in the plastic wrap. In the morning I we unwrapped our efforts, rinsed and washed an enormous quantity of unfixed dye out of the t-shirts, and then washed them again with a little detergent and dried them. Here are our efforts.
My best effort, a simple bull's eye pattern. This was the long sausage-shaped bundle in the earlier pictures.
Beth's sunburst design. I like the "multiple suns in a blue sky "effect.
Beth's bull's eye had less dye than mine, but has a nice sun's rays effect.
This was my attempt at a scrunch pattern. My mistake was too tie it up with rubber bands, it's supposed to be left loose. For all that, not bad for my first attempt.
I got a bit too clever with my spiral design, and tried to put three different spirals in. I should have stuck with one or two. I also went too lightly with the dye.
Beth's spiral came out really well, much better than mine. I put the score at 2:1 to Beth, with my bull's eye beating Beth's, but Beth's sunburst beating my scrunch, and her spiral beating mine hands down.
Lots of fun all round, and we have six unique t-shirts that we will never meet anyone else wearing. We've got dye and t-shirts left over, and lots of ideas for other designs. I can see how this could be come addictive.
Other dye colors are available in other kits, and you can mix dyes to make unique colors. You can use any color t-shirt as a base, but white is easiest to show the dye colors as they are originally designed. Be sure to rinse and wash thoroughly several times, and wash separately at first, so as to not have the dyes run into each other or other clothes in the wash.
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