Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tie-dyeing fun time.

Spiral fold, blue and purple on white.
I've been having a bit of fun with tie-dyeing blank shirts since doing up the Ingress shirts in December. The first couple of shirts have faded dramatically, and after a bit of reading and experimentation I think I have come across a method that suits the Rit dyes that I have been using.

1) Soda Ash pre-wash. AKA caustic nasty stuff. I added a small amount to a bucket of warm water, soaked the shirt for about 10 minutes, then wrung out as much water as I could before I folded it into the pattern shape I was planning.

This stuff burns, so use safety equipment, and have someone keep the small creatures out of the room. I'd made the mistake of taking off my rubber gloves part way through one dye batch, and I was in for a few hours of hurt as punishment. Many places recommended using detergent added to the dye, I'll have to try that next time.

Heart fold, purple on purple
2) Don't mix the dyes too strong. As you can see in the heart fold image - one side is brighter than the other. The dye was mixed so strongly that there was still undissolved powder in the dye. This happened a lot with this batch, with some interesting (and repeatable!) results.

I followed this video on making the heart shape. How to Tie Dye Heart - YouTube

It wasn't as tough as I thought it would be, although the folding part was fiddly and needed redoing a few times before I felt the end result would be recognizable. I think the next heart shape I make will need to have finer folds. When you realise this one is on a child's size shirt, the size of the folds is expected. The folds on an adult shirt would be more numerous, and the end result I think would look much more intricate.

Spider fold, blue and green on white
3) Don't be afraid to refold and refold until you are content.

I used Tie-dye Wiki - Spider as my reference. Lots of fold goodness there, and a lot of "I must try that!" on my future to do list. This was only my second real foray into serious tie dye work, and most of these shirts were for gifts, so I stuck with the basics.

As with the heart shape above - the spider fold proved tricky. I think I folded this one five times before I was happy with how the fold looked. I had to give it a bit of a re-soak in the Soda Ash, I was working on a very hot day and the shirts were drying faster than I could work!

This was also where I burned my hand with the soda ash, I'd gotten impatient with my folding and took off the gloves so I could get a better result. Oops!

Chaos fold, fuchsia on pink
4) Leave the shirts somewhere very warm and bright.

Other recommends are to use a non-food microwave, iron or other method of high heat. We've only the one microwave, and the iron set method was less than perfect. (The shirts from a previous attempt used the ironing method have faded dramatically. This is Australia, where the sun is mean, so we went with that.

As each shirt was dyed, my husband took each one, bagged it, and set it out in the bright sun to 'set'.

It was a fairly hot day (35C), and I will admit to getting a bit impatient. Original plan was to leave the shirts overnight, but after 6 hours I wanted to see the results.

They were fabulous. :D

Spiral fold, purple on purple
Spiral fold, black on grey
Spiral fold, fuchsia on pink
Chaos fold, purple on white
Accordion fold, black on white