How To Tie-Dye Your Clothes



May 2020

How to tie dye at home

With tie-dye a huge summer trend, as well as being one activity that we can try at home while we have all that free time on our hands, legendary American fashion label Ralph Lauren explains how to master the art of tie-dye like a fully-fledged fashion pro…

Step 1: Get Your Kit Together
Most craft stores sell dye kits with everything you need to get going—including cotton shirts (check to see if your local one offers home delivery).

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Coloured dyes
– Squeeze bottles
– Rubber bands
– Rubber gloves
– Baking soda and dye fixative, for better color saturation
– Something to dye!

Step 2: Choose Your Canvas
Go with garments made entirely—or at least mostly—from natural fibres like cotton, linen, and wool. Try it on socks, T-shirts, oxford shirts, sweatpants, or hoodies for relaxing at home—and, of course, you can’t go wrong with a cotton mesh Polo shirt.

Step 3: The Set-Up
Prepare your dyes (each brand will have its own instructions), then soak your garments in warm water (with baking soda if using) and gently wring them out — tie-dye works best when the fabric is damp, but not soaking wet. Put on your gloves and find a good space to work, like a bathtub, a large sink, or somewhere outside, and you’re ready to go.

Tip: If you have one, setting down a wire rack is helpful — it allows excess dye to neatly drip off your garment rather than pooling together on your work surface.

Step 4: Tie It Together
Grab your rubber bands and get to work! Try the standard swirl pattern by cinching the center of a T-shirt or Polo and spiraling it tight, then rubber-banding it together to form triangular cross-sections. Pinch small sections and wrap rubber bands tightly around them to create circle effects. Or, bunch your garment together and apply your bands randomly to create an abstract design. Grab a few old tees—maybe even a sheet—and try just about anything else that comes to mind, and try to guess what the resulting pattern will be. Creativity is encouraged!

Step 5: Add the Dye
With your gloves on, grab your dye bottles and apply to the fabric. Try mixing and matching different colours onto the different sections that your rubber-band pattern has created. Repeat on all sides of your garment. Tip: A little bit of color blending is encouraged, but be careful—too much can muddy the overall result.

Step 6: All Set …
Place your garments into individual plastic bags and let rest according to your dye’s instructions. Then, if you’re using a fixative, soak according to its instructions. Then remove the rubber bands, unfold, and voilà—your new tie-dye!

Tip: Be sure to rinse each piece of tie-dye thoroughly, then machine wash individually at least once to wash out any excess dye and prevent it from spreading onto the rest of your laundry.

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