Whenever I go to a city fair or carnival I am always drawn in by the bright crisp tie dyes that hang from the canopies and are usually sold by some funky hippies. A slight tinge on jealousy always lingers knowing how many times I have tried to make awesome tie dyes but failed miserably. You see in high school, my friend Nicole and I had a great plan to make some rad t-shirts for ourselves. We bought loads of R.I.T. dye and started making awesome designs in a bunch of t’s. After the dye set for a few minutes, we unwrapped them and exposed our awesomeness. Unfortunately those awesome designs turned into faded muddy messes every time we rinsed or washed our creations. Well, never again. I found a kit (thanks to our regional YW camp meeting) that does all it promises and then some.
The Tie Dye Kit
There are a lot of kits on the market that promise fabulousness, but when it comes down to it, the only one that I have found that delivers is from Dharma Trading Co. (NOTE: I am not getting any kick back from Dharma, I just LOVED their products) I ordered their “Tie Dye Little Group Kit” for around 50 shirts (for 36 shirts, we only used 1/2 the kit, so it over delivers!). It runs about $50 but does go on sale every once in a while. Here is what is included in the kit (the kit actually contained 6 16 oz. bottles).
Besides the supplies listed above, you will also need MORE gloves,
and the following items.
Dye Mixing Instructions
The following instructions is for a large group and the measurements are to fill one of the 16 oz bottles that came with the kit. I filled each of the 16 oz bottles with a different color and had extra made up for a total of 9 bottles of dye for 36 shirts. The kit came with about 5 different sets of instructions that all seemed to contradict each other at least once.
I’ve tried to simplify things by giving you a photographic instruction manual.
The kit comes with turquoise, yellow, and fuchsia as the primary colors. There was so much math involved the way the manual presented it, I’ve tried to simplify some of it for you below. I hope it helps.
(NOTE: To make fuchsia or yellow dye, follow the instructions above, but only add 2 teaspoons of fuchsia for one bottle or 2 teaspoons of yellow for one bottle)
Now that the dyes are all mixed up, it’s time to get dying, wait that doesn’t sound quite right. Anyway, start by washing anything that you want to dye. I collected all of our YW’s clothing items the week before our Wednesday night activity. I washed them all in my washing machine with Tide, and NO fabric softner. This removes all of the extra dirt, or films that may be on new OR used clothing (the kit came with a special detergent, but I didn’t want to waste it in this step, and everything turned out fab with out it…but do not skip the washing).
Then we all met for our activity at our building’s park where I brought the pre-washed shirts, the pre-mixed dyes, and three 5 gallon buckets. I pre-mixed the Soda Ash Fixative: 1 cup of Soda Ash and one gallon of water in each bucket and brought them to the activity. We set up a large banquet table and let the girls find their shirts (they all were initialed on the tags with permanent marker) and then they chose their design. We folded their shirts for their designs and set them immersed in the Soda Ash buckets for 15 min. The shirts were wrung out over the buckets, so we could re-use the soda ash fixative for other shirts. Then on the grass they poured dye how ever and where ever they wanted. Each shirt was then placed in it’s own grocery sack with the handles tied in a knot. This keeps them wet so that the dye continues to absorb for the next 24 hours.
We divided the shirts into groups of 8 and dispersed them to the leaders. Each was given a 1/4 cup of the profesional laundry detergent that came with the kit. As we opened each bag, we rinsed it with cold water until just a little dye was running off. Then after all eight were rinsed, they were all thrown into a washing machine with HOT water and the detergent. After one cycle we dried them in the drier and they were complete.
A few important Notes:
I mixed the dyes in my cream Corian sink and nothing stained Yipee!
I did not need to run a “clean up” cycle through my washer, there were no residues left behind
A front load washer uses 1/4 cup detergent, and a top loader uses 1/2, so use front loaders where possible
The dye comes off your hands in about 2 days
Here are 9 of my favorite t’s that our YW made.
A lot of the girls chose the spiral tie dye design because it looks complicated but is actually very simple.
Check out those white jeans now turned into stripes and then the really simple bulls eye designs.
(NOTE: this kit came with a handy book with several different design instructions. The girls loved flipping through it and figuring out how they could make it their own)
We are passing these out the Sunday before camp. The girls are going to wear them on the buses the first day. I think it will show great unity, don’t you think?
I loved the way these turned out so much, I am making them with my kids and their cousins this year on our annual pilgrimage to the beach and my brothers house. Look out white T’s, I’m commin’ after ya!
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