Some folks prefer to use Fabric Paint such as Dye-Na-Flow paint, Jacquard Air Brush Ink, or even Dharma Pigment Dye, rather than a dye. Dyes penetrate and become part of the fiber whereas a paint attaches itself to the fiber and sits on top of it. Dyes have absolutely no feel (hand) to them; even the best paint will have some feel to it. That is why you would want to use a very thin paint, like Jacquard Air Brush Ink or Dye-Na-Flow, because they will act and travel on the fabric more like a dye and leave very little feel. You can even thin them some and still get great color. Advantages to using paints for tie-dye are the non-toxicity, no messy powders, no chemicals, and the fact that paints can be permanent on most fabrics, even some synthetics. Paints can be safer to use with really young children. The advantage of using dyes over paints are the more traditional tie-dye look, the softness, and the Fiber Reactive Dyes are more economical.
COMMENTS and INSTRUCTIONS:
! It's a big secret, but some of the most interesting TIE-DYE you'll ever see is done with thin fabric paint. You can get tie-dye effects that are crisper, cleaner and more controlled than with dyes, and it's faster and easier.
Thinner paints like Jacquard Airbrush Ink or Dye-Na-Flow (any that have Tie-dye listed among their uses) are almost imperceptible on the fabric - but it is there. Being a paint, they are also thicker than dye and won't migrate the same way as dye. As a result, shirts tie-dyed with fabric paint have less mixing of colors but more defined, harder edges. Also, there is absolutely no run off and there is no possibility of staining un-dyed or light areas (sometimes a problem with dyes). Paint colors are more forceful (less subtle) than dye colors, which in some circumstances, may be a negative but is often just what is needed.
A. Tie the fabric or shirt in the desired way. Roll it in a shallow pan of paint (dilute to taste). While still folded, hang to dry (a bent wire under one of the rubber bands). After the exterior is dry, (the inside will remain wet), untie and repeat the process with one or more additional colors, then hang untied to dry. Iron, bake or use a commercial dryer to set according to the manufacturer's directions. Another alternative is using our No Heat Fixative mixed with the paint right before using, in which case the paint will become permanent in a few days.
B. Paint thin or thinned fabric paint onto the tied shirt with a brush or foam brush. You even spray it on! Use as many colors as you want, paint different areas different colors. Now hang dry. Untie and iron (heat set) or re-tie and do it again.
* Experiment with thinning the paint with water -- different consistencies will give different effects.