Fig. A: Tie-dye supplies.
Fig. B: The wax paper gasket in position.
Fig. C: Twist into a spiral around the clothespin, which
marks the center of your design.
Fig. D: Hold the bundled T-shirt together firmly with
» Cotton T-shirts The more the merrier.
You can dye any cotton item: sheets,
towels, pants, whatever.
» Procion fiber-reactive dye,
powdered 2–8tsp per 8oz of water
» Soda ash 8oz per gallon of water
» Dye-carrying detergent
such as Synthrapol or Dharma’s
new nontoxic alternative
» Warm water
» 5gal bucket
» Plastic squeeze bottles
1 per color
» Waterproof gloves rubber or vinyl
» Dust mask to keep your lungs clean
» Rubber bands or string
» Paper towels
» Wax paper (optional) for gaskets
1. Good Day Sunshine
While wearing clothes you don’t love, put 3–4gal of
hot water into your bucket and mix in 8oz soda ash
per gallon. Following the manufacturer’s instructions
(and wearing a dust mask), mix up several colors
of Procion fiber-reactive dye and pour into squeeze
bottles. Soda ash may irritate your skin, and the dye
will make your fingers interesting colors, so wear
gloves now and throughout the entire process.
2. Fixing a Hole
To keep your bottles from leaking, seal them with wax
paper. Cut 2" squares of paper, fold them in quarters,
and cut off the corner that’s made up of all inside-folds. Unfolded, you have a hole in the square! Put it
over the bottle and fasten the lid over it (Figure B).
3. Twist and Shout
The essence of tie-dye is the tying; and it’s not just
tying, but rumpling, folding, pulling, and twisting the
fabric and binding it into position. The ties can be
loose, to hold the fabric in shape, or tight, changing
the way dye infiltrates the fabric. This chaotic treatment makes sometimes unpredictable, and usually
very interesting, patterns. Tie-dye is just one form of