Tie Dye DIY …. It’s Back…..

Reemergence of tie dye

The phrase “tie-dye” was coined in the mid-1960s in the US; however, the actual art is something that came out far before that time frame. It actually originated in ancient Asia in China around 619 to 906 C.E. as well as between 552 to 7 94 C.E. in Japan. India had a similar art called bandhani, which means to bind, and in the 8th century Japan had a method called shibori, which involved folding, twisting and compressing cloth and dying it to create various patterns.

Tie dye is back in fashion (even in the edible arts!)

Tie dye has come and gone in popularity throughout time but it is a part of our history as Americans. In the 70's tie dye was all the rage and came to represent peace and free love during the hippie “movement.”

Once again, tie dye has surged in popularity but not just in the fashion and clothing area but in the world of the edible arts too! From cupcakes to cookies tie dye is alive and well and recreating itself in many interesting and creative ways in the baking industry.

Some of my favorites include:

Tie Dye Cupcake Recipe from Betty Crocker

tie dye cupcakes


Tie Dye Cake Recipes from BluPrint

tie dye cake


Peace and Love From Handmade Charlotte

peace and love

Tie Dye Macaroons 

tie dye macaroons


Tie Dye Cookies From JavaCupcake

tie dye cookies


Creating a Fashion Statement Using Tie Dye

Now that you've seen how many unique and creative ways tie dye can be used in edible arts why not try your hand at making a fashion statement. Tie dying involves manipulating the fabric (natural fabrics like 100 percent cotton work better than synthetics) in various ways from folding and crushing to tying it off with string or rubber bands.

Then the cloth is dipped into containers of various colored dyes, the cloth is wrung out and rinsed and voila! You have a brightly colored and patterned shirt, dress, skirt or whatever else you wanted to color and decorate. All kinds of patterns from spirals to lines, circles, etc. can be created in normally at least three colors of dye, though more or less colors may be used.

Nowadays, people are rediscovering the fun of making tie dye items and from kids to adults, it has come back into fashion. It has even been touted as a good way to teach young kids hand and eye coordination and motor skills since it involves twisting, etc. Plus it is a fun pastime and craft for groups like Scouts or even a birthday party gathering can do together.

tulip tye dye kit

Best Selling Tulip Tie Dye Kit

Tips for successful tie dying

If you want to have a successful tie dying session, there are a few things you should do. For one thing, it is recommended to pre-wash your cloth, especially since fabrics like 100 percent cotton tend to shrink in hot water. Plus, it’s always a good idea to wear rubber gloves so your hands won’t turn all kinds of crazy colors from the dye.

It’s also a good idea to choose bright colors that complement each other, especially if the various colors mix or blend themselves together during the process. For instance, don’t put colors like red and green or blue and orange or yellow and purple next to one another or you could end up with just a brownish mess.

Besides making the proper color choices, it’s vital to get the proper color saturation while making your creations. You need to make sure to get enough of your dye to soak into the cloth so you won’t be left with a lot of white and not enough of the colors you want to portray.

How to get specific designs onto your clothing

pattern making kit

Tie Dye Pattern Maker

If you are trying for specific design styles then you will want to know the process to achieve that design.  Here are some basic rules:

Vertical or Horizontal Stripes – Fold the cloth into vertical pleating to get horizontal stripes and into the opposite (horizontal pleating) to get vertical stripes.

A Bullseye pattern —  To make the concentric circles, grip the cloth in the area where the center of the bullseye will be, then pull the cloth until you have a long tube like shape, then put rubber bans or string at equal intervals along the cloth.

Spiral – Put the cloth onto a flat surface, get rid of the wrinkles, then put a pleat across from the place you want the center. Then, grip that center area and twist it. As you do this, pleats will start to form and you can split these pleats while you keep the folds at the same height and make sure they aren’t any more than about one or two inches tall.

Circle – Take small rubber bands and pinch the cloth wherever you want a circle, and that area will produce a circle of whatever color of dye you use.

Mixing Dye —When you mix your dye, the powdered dye should be put into empty squirt bottles first, then the water. Be sure not to breath in the powdered dyes. You should use any mixed dye within 30 minutes for best results.

Applying Dye – Prior to doing the folding, etc. to make your creation, you need to soak your clothing in some warm water, then wring it out. Then lay it flat onto a sheet of plastic to protect the area and squeeze on your selected dye. Make sure you do both sides of the cloth. Then, put the cloth into a plastic bag and let it stay there for about 12 to 24 hours.

Finishing the item – Then, once it has sit in the bag, you take it out, cut or remove the strings or rubber bands, then rinse the cloth out in cold water to get rid of any excess dye. Then rinse it in hot water to get rid of any unreacted dye and when the water runs clear, it is time to wash and dry your cloth in the washing machine.

All in all, the art of tie dye is a fun, easy method of decorating clothing or other cloth items from tablecloths to curtains and more. If you love bright colors and patterns, and perhaps you could even have a desire to relive the hippie days of the 1970s, then go buy some white cotton t-shirts and some boxes of dye mix and get ready to have some fun decorating!

If you've created an interesting and unique tie dye inspired creation please share it with us!



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