Tie-Dye Revisited

The craft cabin was my favorite place to be stationed as a counselor at Girl Scout day camp.  Every week I’d hope I’d get the craft cabin assignment and the weeks I did were a blast.  One of my favorite camp crafts was tie-dye day.  We’d set up buckets of dye outside the cabin and get tons of rubber bands out on the tables.  I love the way that tie-dyed fabric is such a surprise when it’s untied!

My best friend asked me if I knew how to tie-dye since she had an older, well-loved sweatshirt that needed a color boost.  As it turned out, I just received a new white sweatshirt.  So we had a tie-dye night!

First, supplies… you’ll need dye, rubber bands, gloves, a bucket or sink to dye in, and a stir stick.

When I’m tie-dying I like to plan out roughly where my bulls-eyes are going to be.  I laid out the sweatshirt and placed rubber bands to mark where I wanted my bulls-eyes.  I really wanted to make the logo on my shirt at the center of a bulls-eye.

Then, start wrapping the rubber bands.  Pinch the part that you want to be the center point and put a rubber band around it.  I picked up the front and back at the same time, but you can do each side on its own.

I pinched and banded all the centers first.  Then I moved down from each center and wrapped another rubber band.

Continue until you’ve made the bulls-eyes as big as you want.  The more rubber bands, the more circles.  Remember, wherever there’s a rubber band, the shirt won’t get dyed.

For the sleeves I decided to do a fan method.  Start by folding the cuff and accordion-fold all the way up.

Then wrap rubber bands on either side of the folded fabric.

Keep going until it looks like these.

From here, make sure you follow the instructions on the dye you’re using.  That said, we discovered our supplies didn’t exactly match the directions.  Our bucket was a little small, but we went for it anyway.

My sister made a stir stick with two paint stirrers and duct tape.  Awesome!  Our dye said to wet the fabric first; then into the dye it went!

Here’s another point where we diverged from the instructions on the bottle.  It said to stir for 30 to 60 minutes.  Well, since the bucket was a little small, we couldn’t really stir.  So we poked at the shirts.

After 15 minutes, I stuck my hands in the bucket and flipped them.

It was really nice to do this with 2 other people, so we could take turns poking!  After about 30 minutes, we let it sit for another half hour.  From my days in the craft cabin I learned the longer you leave the fabric in the dye, the bolder the color.  I used to put my shirt in the bottom of a dye vat for the entire day.

When time was up, we asked a strong boy to dump our bucket in the sink.  Thank you, strong boy!

Then we rinsed.  (Don’t you just love my bestie’s tat?!)

And rinsed…

And when our hands were tired, we rinsed some more.  Then we took off the rubber bands.

My favorite part!  The big reveal!  Here’s mine:

and my friend’s:

The last step was to wash them.  Here’s a quick self-portrait I took of the finished shirt.

By the way, Rand heard the camera, ran down and sat right in front of me!  I didn’t call him or ask him to sit there!  He’s such a poser.

Special thanks to my sister for taking the photos of the process!