Tie-dyeing is a fun and simple way to make your old or plain fabric items new again, from towels to t-shirts, yielding a surprising result each time. You can experiment using different techniques to create various styles and designs, ensuring that you’ll always have a selection the public will love.
* Venus fabric dye
* Item to be dyed (i.e. shirt, scarf, towel), at least 80 percent cotton or another natural fabric that can be dyed
* Table salt
* Rubber bands
* Large pot or container (not galvanized and enough to hold all the items to be dyed without crowding)
* Long-handled utensil (i.e. old spoon, BBQ tongs)
* Rubber gloves
* Large towel
* Cleaning items (i.e. cleaner, dish cloth, paper towels)
* Old newspaper
Step 1. First, wash the t-shirt in order to remove any possible dirt and prepare it for dye absorption. Tie-dyeing is best done on damp fabric.
Step 2. Cover your work area with newspaper to protect it from any spills, and assemble all your tools.
Step 3. Wear rubber gloves to prepare the dye. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided on the package. Our particular fabric dye, Venus, for example, calls for the powder to be dissolved in boiling water to get the best, fastest results possible. So fill the large container with lukewarm water, bring to a boil, and pour in the dye, starting with the lightest color if you are using more than one color.
Step 4. While the water is coming to a boil, lay the t-shirt flat on your work area. Grab the center of the t-shirt with your thumb and index finger, and lift it up. Run your other hand down the cloth, twisting the fabric as you gather it together tightly.
Step 5. Wrap one rubber band around the gathered t-shirt, right below the spot where you lifted. Then, wrap a few more rubber bands, about one to two inches apart from each other. Feel free to make up your own spacing.
Step 6. Once you’re satisfied with the rubber band placement, immerse the entire t-shirt in the first color dye. Boil the t-shirt for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Step 7. Then, stir four level tablespoons of table salt into the mixture for each gallon of water used. Boil for another 20 minutes, stirring constantly.
Step 8. Remove the t-shirt and rinse in cold running water. Wring out the garment until water runs almost clear.
Step 9. For designs requiring more than one color, repeat steps 3 to 8, using colors in order from lightest to darkest.
Step 10. When you have finished dying the garment, remove rubber bands and lay t-shirt fl at on your workspace. Place a towel over the still-damp garment, and iron it flat.
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