Explode like the fireworks this 4th of July in your own Red, White and Blue T-shirt! For use with seasonal July 4th Tie-Dye Kit - #4JTDK, or products can be bought separately. Dyes in kit are Fiber Reactive Dyes #10- Fire Red and #22-Cobalt Blue, enough to tie-dye 8 adult t-shirts or at least 16 small kids shirts. Or you can dye white muslin for buntings!Can also be used on any of our other 100% cotton or rayon dyeables.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Prepare your dyes and soda ash fixative soak.
Using a funnel, pour water into the squeeze bottles with the dye powder until the bottles are about 1/4 full. Screw on the yorker spout, and holding the little red cap in place, shake the bottle to dissolve the dye. Once it is well mixed, finish filling the bottle with water. If the bottles leak, you can wrap the threads with teflon Plumber's Tape for a better seal.
Wearing your dust mask, dissolve 1 cup (8 oz.) of the Soda Ash Fixative per gallon of warm water into a bucket big enough to soak your tied shirts.
Step 2: Decide how you want to fold your shirt. We will show you a version with simple accordion pleats but you can tie the shirt any way you want.
Place your pre-washed, damp (not dripping wet), t-shirt flat on a smoothed plastic drop cloth.
Starting on the left side seam make 1" folds, gathering up the bottom of the shirt. See photo below.
Decide how many rubber bands you want to tie your shirt with. Rubber bands leave a crinkly white area when you are done (more rubber bands means more white). Tie the rubber bands starting from the bottom of the shirt, spacing them out evenly as you go up the shirt. Stop banding under the sleeves. Wrap the the rubber bands as tight as you can. This area will all be red and white in the final shirt.
Next, lay the shirt back down and open the top of the shirt up on the table so it is flat. Starting from the last rubber band, scrunch the top part of the shirt up into a ball. The more even your gathers, the more even the scrunch patterning will be in the end.
Take a few rubber bands and tie them in different directions to hold the scrunching together as snugly as possible.
Step 3: Soak the tied garments about 5-15 minutes (until saturated) in the bucket of dissolved Soda Ash Fixative. You can reuse the solution until gone. Squeeze out excess solution so the garment is just damp, not dripping wet.
Step 4: Lay your shirt on the table again. Starting with the red dye, squirt the dye on to the lower folded part of the shirt and be generous. Then squirt on the blue dye to the upper scrunched part of the shirt. Note: it helps to elevate the shirt off the table if possible, so dye doesn't pool and travel to parts of the shirt it shouldn't be. Old cookie racks work well, as do seedling trays. Or you can work on old newsprint to soak up the excess dye.
Be sure to really get into the fold of the pleats and scrunched section, as if you don't there will be more white than you want. It helps to open them up gently with your gloved fingers and check that the dye is getting all the way in.
Step 5: Put your shirt (still tied) in a plastic bag (the idea is to keep it wet and chemically active) and let sit for at least 8 hours, but preferably 24 hours, to "cure". Shorter times work in the heat of summer, but longer times are needed when it is cold.
Small plastic kitchen garbage bags work well because you don't want the shirt to curl up on itself (if the red part touches the blue part, you will have a purple part on your shirt). For small shirts, 1 gallon ziplock bags work great. Keep some air in the bag so that dye doesn't wick in folds of the plastic and travel to other parts of the shirt.
Step 6: After the curing period, remove the shirt from its bag and, while still tied, rinse off the excess dye under cold running water.
Step 7: Next, rinse in warmer water while you begin to untie, and after garments are untied, until the water runs fairly clear. Have your washing machine pre-filled with hot water and Dharma Professional Textile Detergent, or Synthrapol, and throw in the clothing as soon as it is rinsed, running it through a full cycle. If you don't have a washer on hand just use a bucket for now and wash it as soon as you can in a machine.
Step 8: Dry your shirt normally, bask in its patriotic, hand-made awesomeness, and wear your American tie dye with pride.