I imagine that nearly everyone has tried tie-dying at some point in their life. It's fun and low-tech and has a cool mysterious element. I mean, isn't it exciting when you undo all the rubber bands and finally get to see the finished product? There are many ways to tie-dye and I've tried most of them. For most methods a sink, washing machine, and dryer are standard pre-requisitions. But I found a way around all those requirements. In fact, I can tie-dye without dye. I've been doing it for over 15 years. Intrigued? I hope so!
My family gets together every summer. To add an extra element of fun to the family reunion, this year we had a theme: The 70s!!! I know, fun right? It was a blast! What comes to mind when you think about the 1970s? Disco? Mod? Bell-bottom pants? Tube socks? Half shirts on men? Short shorts? Leisure suits? Wedge high heels? Newsboy hats? Sock it to me? Fringed vests? Headbands? Chokers? Well, nearly every single one of those elements were seen at my family reunion. My contribution: tie-dye t-shirts for all the kids! Maybe tie-dying is a bit more 60s in your mind, but I looked it up and those hippies were tie-dying well into the 1970s. (psst! I was born in 1977 so I don't recall too much tie-dying...)
Anywhoo, here's what you need to use the Ricochet Method of Tie-Dye:
Everything but the paint can found at your local dollar store.
- T-shirts. For most dyes, you would need 100% cotton for best results, but any fabric will work for this method. I got all my white t-shirts from the dollar stores. I even got some grey t-shirts and they worked as well.
- Water. A bucket will do. No sinks required. I used a horse trough. ;-)
- Rubber bands. I got 2 bags of assorted rubber bands from the dollar store and had way more than I needed to tie up 28 t-shirts and several pairs of tube socks.
- Spray bottles. I got mine from the dollar store as well. This item is actually optional because you could really just pour the color onto the t-shirts or use paint brushes. The spray bottles are good for kids though.
- Acrylic paint. Not tempura, oils, or watercolors. I used Apple Barrel brand acrylic craft paints. They are very inexpensive and come in virtually every color.
Here's how we tie-dyed at my family reunion:
Because I am a list-maker, here are some things to keep in mind about tie-dying with acrylic paint:
- As long as it is not dry, acrylic paint is water soluble. But once it's dry, it basically turns into a plastic-like substance that will not be diluted with water. You can look online for ways to remove acrylic paint that has been dried. I used rubbing alcohol to get wall paint off my hardwood floors.
- If the paint dries on you skin, it will rub/scratch off under water. It's harder to remove the paint from under your nails and around your cuticles, but it won't stain your skin.
- If your finished, dried t-shirt is super stiff, don't freak out until you've put it through the washer and used some fabric softener. The combination of the paint and hard water can make the shirt pretty stiff. If your shirt is still pretty stiff after washing, then you know you didn't water down your paint enough.
- If you were to use a more expensive brand of acrylic paint, something like Golden that comes in tubes, your paint will have more bang for the buck. Fine quality acrylic paint has a high pigment content compared to "craft paints". I didn't have a blue Apple Barrel craft paint, so I used my Golden brand phthalo blue. The result was a bright and beautiful blue.
- One really cool thing about this method is that you can utilize white paint on dark colored fabric. Think about it. :-)
Have you ever tie-dyed? How did it turn out? Would you be willing to try out this method?
Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,
linking up here: