Dyeing to sample

As previously mentioned, I am currently teaching some classes at one of the big box stores in town. As part of that I need to make samples. This time around they are focusing on tie dye. Now, I did live through the 70’s, but I had never done tie dye before. Shocking, I know!

While some of the other projects were labeled as tie dye, they were not like the original 1970’s tie dye. But, I was also assigned some bandanas to tie dye, and did those. There were tying techniques involved, so I guess that was my first tie dye project. No photos, sorry.

Another project I was assigned was to dye a T shirt for the open house. I set up these dye projects in the safety of my garage. In order to protect Wood’s shop from a spill I also spread plastic drop cloths on the floor.

This project used powdered dye (and mordant?) that came in a squeeze bottle. I selected a three-color package – blue, green, and yellow. All I needed to do was add water. The previous project taught me that squirting from a bottle was less than controlled. I scrounged around for some medicine dropper/bottle combos to control the dye a little better.

The instructions said to wet the shirt, so I did. I scrunched up the T shirt on the plastic, as I had liked that pattern the best from the previous project. I started with the blue dye and found the color to be rather strong. Then I added the green and yellow dyes. I decided that I wanted to add more color, but didn’t want to do it the way the instructions said. I diluted some dye by adding water and dye into the dropper bottle. I put the diluted dye around the edges of the shirt bundle.

The instructions said to let the dyed object sit overnight. I carefully placed the T shirt onto a plastic shopping bag, then put it into a locking plastic bag. The next day I started rinsing the shirt. The instructions said to rinse until no more dye came out. I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed, and... During all this process I found that the shirt became less vibrant. The next day I rinsed some more, and finally decided that it was leaking little enough dye that I would trust it to the washing machine.

After washing and drying I found that the shirt had lost a lot of color. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so leery of the original color.

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