Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Coolest Tie-Dyed Shirt Ever And How To Do It

Have you ever dyed anything?  I've recently become obsessed with clothes dying.  It's so easy, fun, and it can give your clothes new life.

Before I start my diy, I'd like to give you a few helpful hints about dying in general.  I've made a few mistakes along the way, so I'd like to share them with you so that you don't do the same.

1.  Only dye whites and very light colored fabrics.  Apparently you can dye other colors, but I've never had much luck with this.  I tried to dye a pair of red pants black and they just turned out a gross brown color.

2.  Don't dye to cover sweat stains.  I know this is a gross tip, but I thought this was completely brilliant.  Take an old dingy shirt with pit stains and give it new life.  Sounds great right?!  Guess what?  The stains are still there.  Only now they are just a new color.  In my case they were pink.  Not attractive.

3.  Don't dye clothes you are super attached to.  Here's how I decide what I'm going to dye:  I ask myself, "what am I going to do with this article of clothing if I don't dye it?"  If the answer is donate it or throw it out then you're good to go.  That way, if you do make a mistake, you haven't really lost anything.

I find that the best thing to dye are old dingy whites.  Let's face it: white articles of clothing don't have a long life.  At some point no amount of bleach or oxiclean is going to restore them.  That's when it's time to dye.

I use Rit dye.  It's cheap and it works well.  Rit dye can be found in most grocery stores (normally near the panty hose......don't ask me why).  When I first started dying, I thought I was limited by the 7 or 8 colors that Rit offers.  Wrong!  Check out for an extensive color mixing guide.  This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever.  They have hundreds of colors and the recipes for how to achieve them.  There are also a ton of different projects and dying techniques.  This is a diy-er's dream.

I'm going to show you how to tie dye.  Maybe a lot of you have done this before, but you were probably in the third grade and your parents did most of the work and you just watched.  So here we go.

First decide what you are going to tye dye and throw it in the washing machine.  I went with a white button down that I wore too many times on the beach (sweat, sand, sun, saltwater, and sunscreen.  My perfectly white shirt just couldn't handle it all).  And let's be honest....a tye dyed button down? There is something so totally wrong and so totally right about it.  Preppy and hippy together at last, in one perfect article of clothing.  I felt like a genius when I decided to do it.  I kind of still do, I'm pretty nuts about this shirt.

I like the sunburst technique for tie dye, but there are plenty of others.  But here is how to do the sunburst.  Find the point on your shirt/whatever-you-are-dying where you want the center of the sunburst to be.  For most of us, this will probably be in the center of the shirt, though it doesn't have to be.  Pinch that point and hold the shirt up and from that point.
Now, start rubber banding the shirt about every inch to two inches.  Make sure your rubber bands are tight.  Notice how I banded mine: the rubber bands are slightly spread out and not banded close.  This will make the tie dye look a bit more organic and add some cool striations where the bands were.

Now, you are ready to dye.  I find that the easiest way to dye is with the washing machine method.  Everything can be done in the washing machine and there is no mess.  Be sure to read the instructions!  But I'm still gonna tell you how to do it, so don't worry if you got water on your package and now you can't read it.  That happened to me once.

Fill your washing machine with hot water.  Dissolve your dye in a cup of water.  Add your pre-dissolved dye and a little bit of laundry detergent to the water and let it agitate to mix.  Add your shirt and a cup of salt to the water (the salt helps to brighten the color).  Your shirt needs to be in the dye for at least thirty minutes, so keep resetting your washer so that it continually agitates the water.  Don't let your shirt just sit in the water without the agitator running.  My washing machine agitates for about 8 minutes before it starts draining, so I just set 8 minutes timers so that I can run and reset it.

Once your shirt has been agitating in the washing machine for 30 minutes, you can let your machine continue its cycle.  This will drain, rinse, and spin your shirt.

When the cycle is complete, take your shirt out of the machine and remove the rubber bands.  Now it needs to be washed again on a warm water setting.  Check out your awesome shirt!

You do need to run your washing machine again after the shirt is complete, just to get all of the dye out.  Throw a couple of old towels in there, some bleach and a bit of laundry detergent.  This will get all of the dye out of your machine.  Be sure and throw the towels in there!  Your machine responds to weight.
And that's all there is to it!   Be sure and ALWAYS wash dyed clothing separately.  If you are just dying and not tie dying, the process is the same.  Just leave out the rubber bands.  This is a really easy way to spruce up your wardrobe.  Don't feel limited to just tie dying shirts.  I tie dyed some pillow cases for my guest bedroom and they look so funky and awesome.  Also, remember Carrie Bradshaw's tie dyed dress in the Sex and the City movie?  How great is that dress?!  So get creative!

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