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How to Tie Dye

Tie dye is a popular technique used to create colourful designs and patterns on clothing. Various techniques have been used to tie dye clothing for more than 6000 years. Today, tie dye is a great way to jazz up plain t-shirts and other garments using colourfast dyes and creative folding techniques. What's more the techniques and these free instructions are so simple, that even kids can have fun tie dyeing!

Learning how to tie dye is very easy. All you have to do is follow these instructions for tie dye to create unique patterns on your clothes that will last for years...or until you want to tie dye the garment again!

The first thing you need to do when learning how to tie dye is to obtain the right materials. You will need to buy clothing that is suitable for tie dye as well as the dyes themselves and other materials that make the tie dye process effective. Here is a list of items you will need to tie dye clothing.

Step 1. What You Will Need

1. Dyes
- Most dyes from reputable manufacturers are suitable for tie dying.
2. T-Shirts
- We have a selection of items that are ideal for tie dyeing.
» Mens budget t-shirts
» Childrens t-shirts (age 5-12 years)
» Babies and childrens t-shirts (2-4 years)
» Infants t-shirts
3. Gloves
- To keep your hands clean and free from dye.
4. Large container or bowl
- To tie dye the clothing in.
5. Elastic bands or string
- To create the tie dye effect.
6. Sodium Carbonate
- To promote transfer of the dye onto the clothing.
(For use with certain dyestuffs. Please check dyestuff manufacturers instructions)

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Step 2. Dyeing Method

Tie Dye Stage 1
- Wash the garment (t-shirts, vests, sweatshirts) that you are to going to tie dye. To remove any chemicals which may react with the dyes.

Tie Dye Stage 2
- When the garments are dry, they should be tied using elastic bands or string. There are many different ways to tie the garments to to achieve different effects.

Tie Dye Examples
A. Swirl Effect
B. Striped Effect
C. Heart Effect
  • Lay the T-shirt on a flat suface.
  • Pinch the centre of the T-Shirt and twist into a spiral.
  • Tie the shape with 2 bands to form 4 section.
  • Lay the T-shirt on a flat suface.
  • Fold the T-shirt from the side edge and pleat the fabric in opposite directions to form a concertina effect.
  • Secure the length of the folds at regular with string or rubber bands.
  • Lay the T-shirt on a flat surface.
  • Fold the T-shirt down the middle in half.
  • Lightly draw a freehand half heart on the chest of the t-shirt.
  • Fold the fabric in small finger pleats along the drawn heart shape line.
  • Hold in place and tie along the folded line.
  • To acheive more white lines, repeat folding and tieing.

Tie Dye Stage 3 Optional
- The next process is to place the tied garment in a bowl of hot water into which sodium carbonate is dissolved. Immersion should be for around 20 minutes. The sodium carbonate solution will help the dye take more readily to the garment. (Please check the instructions on the dyestuff to see if this stage is necessary)

Tie Dye Stage 4
- Apply the dye to the water as per the dye manufacturer's instructions.

Tie Dye Stage 5
- The next stage in tie dye process is to remove the garment from the dye and leave to dry for 24 hours. The garment should then be washed thoroughly before wearing or before application of a new dye pattern to superimpose over the existing dye pattern.

Colour Mixing Guide

Tie Dye is an easy and great way to create patterns and colour on T-shirts. For Best results use our 100% cotton T-shirts Remember these easy colour mixing rules if you are using coloured T-shirts or more than one colour of dye.

Colour Mixing Examples

Free Tie Dye Tips

Tip 1
- If you buy clothing for tie dye, always make sure that the garments are at least 60% cotton-based. Buy clothing for tie dye that is less than 60% cotton and you may have problems in getting the dye to take. Our suggestion would be to use only 100% cotton products for the best results

Tip 2
- If you haven't tie dyed before use light weight clothing (T-shirts, vests, childrens items). These are easier to handle. Once you are more experienced you can tie dye heavier sweatshirts and other items.

Tip 3
- If using more than one dye colour, always apply the lightest colour first.

Our best selling clothing

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