Looney Labs Something Mailing list Archive

Re: [Something] Tie-dying question

  • FromDi <sudduthd@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 12 Apr 2007 11:01:50 -0500
Please allow me to add to the advice already given to check out Dharma Trading Company.  Their basic kit are fairly reasonably priced and contain high-quality materials.  While there are chemicals, they are safe if used correctly, and the results are stunning.  They also have excellent prices on items to tie-dye.  I particularly love their line of t-shirts, especially for kids.  Much better quality at much better prices than one can find at Wal-Mart or the like.
I've had some experience tie-dying with kids, mostly my nieces, and have picked up a tip or two which might help you when working with your 3-year-old:
To get the dyes to react to fabric, the fabric first needs to soak in a soda-ash solution.  Most tie-dye instructions will tell you to wet a t-shirt, fold or otherwise "tie" the design, soak the shirt in soda-ash for 15-minutes, then apply the dye, and let the shirt sit for 18-hours.  When working with kids, especially small kids, however, I recommend the following:   When the child is not involved, soak the un-folded, un-tied shirts in the soda-ash for 15-min, wring out, and let dry completely.  Mix up your dyes in advance (keep them refrigerated for longer/brighter life) and set a short period of time to work with your kid.  My nieces have about a 3-shirt upper-limit for patience.  
Before the tie-dye event with your kid, spend some time familiarizing yourself with various designs either online or in books (Dharma has a lovely book for only $5 with several great designs in it)   Once you're familiar, spend time with your child, talking about what they like, what colors and what patterns so you can be prepared.
Depending on the patience-level of your child, either let them help fold/tie the shirts, or do it yourself, in advance, perhaps folding/prepping all but one shirt before engaging your child in the activity.  Make sure you are both wearing old clothes and/or aprons, and definitely have plastic/vinyl/latex gloves to wear and work over lots of plastic or outside or both.   Help your child apply the dyes to the shirts using squeeze-bottles.
The instructions will now say to keep the shirts covered, damp, and above 70-degrees for at least 12 hours.  Kids really *want* to see the designs "instantly" and one of our local museums gave me a great tip.  Once the dye is applied and any excess has had a chance to drip-away for a few minutes, lay out a piece of plastic larger than your shirt (cut open trash-bags work well for this) and carefully cut/remove the ties from the shirt and open it up so you can see the design.  Carefully lay the shirt out on the large piece of plastic, and, after a suitable time to admire what you've made, loosely roll the shirt in the plastic for the appropriate waiting period.  Then wash-out the design the next day. 
Hope these tips are at least somewhat helpful, and hope you have fun!! 
di  <*>
tie-dye demo-rabbit in St. Louis
P.S.  You can tie-dye LOTS of things besides t-shirts.  Socks are fun, as are pillow-cases, or even whole sets of sheets!     Even smaller kits have enough supplies to make several items, consider inviting other neighbors/friends to participate, and share the costs, then plan an event for some later time where you can all wear your new tie-dye and "show off" your new creations! 
P.P.S.  Don't forget to take plenty of pictures! 

On 4/12/07, miyu <xmiyux@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Thanks for the great advice! Hrm, perhaps I should try out this internet thing. ;)

Obviously I was wanting information from people that I could actually question for tips and the like and after seeing some of the interestingly complex designs some of the Rabbits had done I thought this was the correct list to ask.  Was I incorrect in that assumption?

I will check out that Dharma site and scope out their dyes.  I could deal with some minor fading if it means I get to use vegetable dyes or something relatively natural.  And Ryan, I trust your advice, no need to put a portfolio online :lol:  Although if you ever do, I would love to look through it and admire the items!


Ora, lege, lege, lege, relege, labora et invenies.

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