Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 02 Jul 2011 02:52 am

Indulge Your Inner Hippie and Learn to Tie Dye

Even if you’re not a child of the 60s, you’ve probably had the pleasure of owning and wearing tie dye clothing. If you’ve ever been to an event with a craft fair, chances are that you’ve noticed those eye-catching booths full of colorful tie-dye clothing and home decor. You may even have marveled at how they manage to incorporate those intricate, vibrant designs onto a plain cotton T-shirt. While intricate tie dying is truly an art, you and your family can have loads of fun at home making your own tie dye (or tye dye) creations. Hands down, the best way to learn how to tie-dye is through instructions demonstrated on a video or DVD. Seeing how it’s done, as opposed to reading about it, makes all the difference in the world. Still, tie dye is a process of trial and error, so why not give it a whirl (or a swirl)?It’s All About the FabricWhen it comes to tie dye, the right fabric is critical. Natural fibers – like cotton or linen, pick up the dye well. If you stick with 100 percent cotton, you can’t go wrong. To start with, why not pick up some inexpensive T-shirts at your local mass merchandiser? Get one for each family member, and make it a party! Remember, though, that you need to wash and dry the new garments before you start your tie dying party. Unwashed new fabric won’t pick up the dye very well. The Secret of DyesActually, the dyes you use to tie-dye aren’t a big secret. For cotton, you need to use a dye that will react well to the fabric, namely Procion MX, dissolved in a urea solution. You can make virtually every color imaginable with just three colors: yellow, turquoise, and fuchsia. But, before you start dying, you need to soak your fabric in soda ash. Tie dye artisans use a few other chemicals as well, which you can learn about on an instructional DVD or video. The Fun Part: PatternsTie-dye is all about colors and patterns. Learning how to make swirls, crinkles, stripes, wavy lines, hearts, clovers, and – yes – even peace signs is a great way to engage the creativity of everyone in the family. You can learn to tye knots; twist fabric into pancake shapes secured by rubber bands; roll a shirts to form tubes, which you then tie; and pleat the fabric to make symmetrical patterns.Applying the DyeThere are at least six different techniques you can use to apply the dye to your fabric, from dipping and soaking to using squeeze bottles and spray bottles. Again, someone with years of experience can best teach you how to apply dyes to get the results you want.Making it StickAfter tie dying your shirts or decor, it’s important to follow the steps necessary to make sure the dye reacts with the fiber. Then you need to repeatedly wash the fabric in a special solution so that the dyes don’t inadvertently mix and so the garments remain colorfast. Ultimately, though, tie dye is all about having fun. It can be a family adventure, a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon with friends, or a way to indulge the creative hippie within you. A great instructional DVD or video will help you learn to tie dye, and send you well on your way to creating gorgeous, vibrant designs.

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