tie dye central

When I first got to the US two years ago (!), I could not get over the American obsession with tie dye. I just thought it was the weirdest thing. But it soon became indoctrinated in me, and after one very false start, I created a tie-dye t-shirt of my very own during clue week / the best week of my life. So you can imagine how pleased I was to come home just as tie dye also became a thing over here. I’ve been wanting to recreate my success all summer and didn’t get round to it, but luckily my new housemate Rory was just as keen. This week, with just the two of us in the house, we decided to get to it.

We started off with five Dylon dye colours: “ocean blue”, “bahama blue” (which we didn’t end up using), red, pink, and yellow. IMG_2253


The sachets are full of powder, which you have to mix with salt and warm water in order to create the dye. There are two methods you can use, by the way: one is to soak the shirts in big bowls of dye, and the other is to apply it using some sort of squeezy bottle. We decided on the latter, so after a quick trip to buy several bottles of water, we started mixing up the dye.


To avoid any potential spillage, Rory improvised a lovely apron.


We used about a half a centimetre of dye powder to one tablespoon of salt and the rest water, and then you just shake it all up. The results looked like this:


With our dyes created, it was time to get to the good stuff. After some intensive research on youtube, we decided to go for a range of designs: swirl, “tiger stripes” and, for Rory, a marble effect. Swirly ones are super easy to do, just pinch a bit right in the middle of a flat t-shirt and twist it until it looks like this. Make sure your elastics cross at a central point!


This is a tiger-stripe in progress. For this design, just lie your t-shirt out flat and drag your finger from the top to the bottom so it kind of folds in half. Then just pull the two sides more together and secure it like this:


Here’s the dye in actions. The water bottles worked great, we just squirted the dye right on. Rory, who had been waiting to tie-dye as long as me, was VERY enthusiastic.


He went for a very bold multi-coloured design for his swirly one. Artsy, right?


After we’d put the dye on, it was time to put them into bags and leave them to set/dry/soak in/whatever they were doing.  We left them in the airing cupboard, and after the world’s most agonising overnight wait, I was absolutely dying (get it?!) to see how they’d turned out. You have to rinse them in cold water before untying to get all the excess dye off (or else, as I found out, it just drips everywhere), and then it was time for the grand unveiling.


These are my 2 – what do you think? I personally was SO impressed! I have to admit I wasn’t entirely sure how they were going to work, but they surpassed my expectations massively and I cannot wait to show them off to everybody I know (prepare yourselves if you know me in real life). We also have a ton of dye left, so watch this space for more hippie-inspired crafting!



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