How to Tie-Dye a T-shirt (or any garment really)

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Ever thought of having a tie-dye party? You can host a tie-dye party for both girls and boys. It’s super easy. I’ll show you how.

There are many tie-dye kits that you can purchase from Amazon or Walmart, one of the kits I see often is called Tulip.

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I myself order my dyes from Dharma Trading online. Their dyes are superior and the colors are so vibrant and do not fade or bleed. I have tie-dyed t-shirts years ago, and still they have not faded.

You can purchase a Tie-Dye Little Group Kit from Dharma Trading, good for a party of 50 people, which contains all that you need

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Kit includes:

  • six 16 oz. squeeze bottles
  • #1 Lemon Yellow – 2 oz.
  • #13 Fuchsia – 2 oz.
  • #25 Turquoise* – 2 oz.
  • 3 lb. Soda Ash fixative (Pre-soaking in Soda Ash fixer solution is what allows the fiber reactive dyes to work at room temperature. Soak the tied garments about 5-15 minutes. Squeeze out the garment so it is damp but not dripping)
  • 1 lb. Urea (Urea helps large amounts of dye dissolve in small amounts of water. Urea helps the dye penetrate the fabric.)
  • 8 oz. Professional Textile Detergent
  • 250 rubber bands (approx.)
  • 6 pair rubber gloves
  • 1 dust mask
  • Book – “Tie-Dye” which contains complete instructions and special group instructions

Even though this kit comes with only 3 colors, you can mix dyes to make another color. Check out this Color Wheel for the extra colors you can mix and make. You can get green, orange and purple. I would also purchase extra colors, black, and red.

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If you want, instead of ordering a whole kit, you can order the jars of dye only. The Soda Ash you can either make yourself (see recipe below) or buy from a store that sells swimming pool supplies. However, then you would need to purchase squeeze bottles for your dyes.

Here are some extra things you may need:

  • Large table
  • Plastic tablecloth (or buy a tie-dye tablecloth from Amazon and keep for future parties)
  • Large bucket to soak the garments in beforehand
  • Old newspapers (at least 6-8 weeks old-so the ink doesn’t come off) to absorb the excess dye under the clothing being tie-dyed
  • Bowls of water to rinse gloved fingers between colors
  • Paper towels and/or sponges to wipe up messes!
  • Big garbage can or bags for trash

I have hosted a number of Tie-Dye parties. Recently, I decided to have another party with my little friends (under 18).

First step, I presoaked the t-shirts with the Soda Ash. Use – 1 cup (8 oz.) of Soda Ash Fixer per gallon of warm water. A gallon will soak 10-12 adult XL tees – so way more kids tees, fewer dresses, etc.

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Or… you can make your own Soda Ash:

How to make your own Soda Ash:

Simply heat baking soda or sodium bicarbonate in a 200°F oven for about an hour. Carbon dioxide and water will be given off, leaving dry sodium carbonate. This is the soda ash.

Soak the tied garments about 5-15 minutes.

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Once your t-shirts have soaked for about 20 min – 1 hour, you can remove. Wring well.

Squeeze out the garment so it is damp but not dripping.

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Your table should be ready with a tablecloth, elastics, a pan, and your bottles of color, and gloves.

You can use a pan with a grill on it. Or make your own pan from the dollar store. It is 2 pans, one smaller, and poke holes through it so that the dye runs to the bottom.

Choose the design that you want (designs posted at the bottom), and proceed. There are many designs on line that you can print and save. Here’s one example.

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Once finished, you need to put your t-shirt in a plastic bag, and leave it in there overnight.

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The next day, you need to rinse it out with running water (best to do in the bathtub), and then throw it in the washing machine and wash. For the first 2-3 washes, wash separately.

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And remember, there are no mistakes with tie-dye. Each design is unique and a piece of art.

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Go ahead. Try it out. And show us your pictures.

“How bad can it be?”

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