Big Heart Tie-Dye Tutorial
a Dharma featured tutorial
Why wear your heart on your sleeve when you can wear it on your chest? In this tutorial we will show you how to make this classic design for family and friends.
- Fiber Reactive Dyes - we used 14A-Hot Pink, 83-Wisteria, 19A-Lilac, 19-Plum and 161-Powerberry
- Squeeze Bottles
- Flat Sinew
- Cotton T-shirt(s)
- Soda Ash
- Washable Marker
- Dust Mask
- Professional Textile Detergent
- Heart stencil- draw a half heart on cardstock or cardboard just like when you cut them out as a kid.
- Don't forget the T-shirt, or the white garment you are wearing your heart on
Let's get started!
Using the Basic Tie-Dye directions, we have a few useful hints to add:
- Make sure to pre-wash your garments with Professional Textile Detergent in HOT water.
- Soak your garments in soda ash. Mix one cup of soda ash per gallon of water to make the soak.
- Mix up your dyes, 2 teaspoons of dye per cup of water with 1 tablespoon urea. PRO TIP: Dissolve the total amount of urea you are going to use in the total amount of warm water you are going to use, maybe in jugs, then use it to paste up the dye, in something like an old pyrex measuring cup, like you would flour for lump free gravy, smashing and stirring with a spoon and gradually adding the urea water until the dye is completely dissolved in the 8oz of water. This gives you a more even dye job with no weird dark splotches or freckles of undissolved dye. Use a funnel to pour the dye into the squeeze bottles.
Lay your shirt flat front side up and put the ruler in the middle of the shirt. Fold the shirt in half by taking the left side to match the right side. Once you've got a perfect even fold carefully slide out the ruler.
Place the half heart stencil on the shirt. Line up the flat edge of the stencil along the fold, be careful not to place the design too low. Use the washable marker to trace the outline.
Start pleating along the line, you can start at either end, following it all the way around. Once finished use the flat sinew to tie around the outline. Keep in mind you want it secure and the tighter you make it the more white there will be around the heart.
Time to finish pleating the rest of the shirt. Follow the pleats already made around the heart design, lightly pulling as you go to help the folds come naturally. Once finished wrap the sinew around the rest of the shirt (don't lift the shirt or let go of the pleats) by sliding the string under and making some criss crosses. It's important to secure the shirt because you will need to flip it and it needs to be held together. Once the sinew is tied make sure there are no loose ends, this can cause unwanted bleeding. Pro tip: Use the sinew cone to roll lightly on shirt to compress pleats and get sharper fold lines.
Now for the fun...dye application! Using a bin and rack is the easiest method we've found in order to keep the shirt from sitting in a puddle of left over dye. For the heart area we used 14A-Hot Pink up to the line but not past. Then apply the colors past the line: 83-Wisteria, 19A-Lilac, 19-Plum. Repeat the colors until the whole side is covered. Flip the bundle over and apply the dyes in the same order on the other side. Grab a stick or skewer to peak into the fold just to make sure the dye is fully saturated into the folds.
If you like the darker colored 'spider' effect this next step is for you. Apply the 161-Powerberry dye on the outside from the middle of the shirt down on both sides. Give it nice coverage but there is no need to saturate it since we still want the lighter colors underneath to come through.
Lay your tie-dye on a tray with some newspaper to batch for 24 hours. Rinse the bundle in cold running water, then cut it open and keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Wash in the washing machine with hot water and Dharma Professional Detergent.
Now you are ready to wear your heart on your chest or give it away to someone special.