Harmonious Homestead
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I Tie Dye

tie dye skirt and shirt on childPerhaps the most 'hippie' of my talents is my expertise in tie dye. Never one to enjoy branded apparel, I was initially drawn to tie dye because I could create my own colorways and patterns. Now I mostly dye children's wear as it is often cheaper than buying new, hides stains well, and has no printed characters or dumb sayings.

Tie Dye Process

I gather dye ables from the thrift store and Dharma Trading Company. Onsies, tshirts, and other items are very easy to find at the thrift in young children's sizes. Women and older children sizes can be more difficult to find, but a little searching usually reveals interesting dyables.

I use Dharma Trading Company Procion dyes. These dry dyes must be mixed into a urea water solution. I strain all colors with red through an old silk hankie to prevent spotting, a common occurrence with the large particles in a red dye.

Next, I wash all pieces with textile detergent. It releases any dyes that may already be in the fabric and conditions the pieces for dye.

rubber bands for tie dye

While still damp from the washer, I use rubber bands to tie the pieces. With experience, you can learn which folds and ties will create which patterns in the finished piece.

tie dye in soda ash solution

The tied fabric then goes into a bin with soda ash solution. The soda ash is a mordant to allow the dye to adhere.

tie dying with procion dyes

Finally, it's time to apply the dye. I squirt it from squeeze bottles to control where the colors go. Each piece is dyed in an individual bag. I wear gloves to try to prevent colored fingertips, although I'm usually not entirely successful.

bagged tie dye pieces

The clothing rests with dye for 4 to 24 hours. This is the most difficult part of tie dying because I'm always eager to see how the patterns turn out!

tie dye hanging on the lineFinally, each pieces is un-banded and rinsed well. After the water flows clear, I rewash with textile detergent to remove any remaining dye.

Tie Dye with Me!

tie dye music festival

On Saturday August 21, I'll be providing dyes for the Tie Dye Fest, an annual celebration with music and family fun at 1697 Bunty Station Rd, Delaware Ohio. You are invited to come join me to dye, dance, and be merry from 4ish - 10ish. Bring your washed whites to dye, a potluck dish to share, and a chair or blanket.  Y'all come!