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5 Different Tie-Dye Styles

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tie-dye styles
Tie-dyeing t-shirts is a project that has been around for decades but never truly gets old. It’s a fun craft for kids, tweens, teens, and adults, so it’s something that the entire family can enjoy. And while many projects may only be displayed in your home for a short period of time, when you know how to wash tie-dye shirts, they’re something that can be worn and enjoyed for years. And let’s face it, a few new shirts are way more useful than more papercrafts to clutter up your home.

When it comes to creating your own tie-dye creations, there are no true “rules.” With blank shirts, some fabric dye, rubber bands or string, and a bit of creativity, you (or your kids) can make your own unique creations without any specific requirements.

There are, however, certain techniques that allow you to create interesting designs like spirals, hearts, etc. Keep reading to discover a few different styles and techniques to take your tie-dye shirts to the next level.

Spiral

In the world of tie-dye designs, spirals are the most common option. The spiral technique is pretty easy to master, too, so it’s one that is definitely worth learning.

To start, lay your shirt on a flat surface. Next, press the tines of a fork down on the center of the fabric and start twisting (like you’re twirling spaghetti onto your fork at dinner!). Continue twisting until the entire shirt is wrapped up. Then, remove the fork, gather the fabric into a circle and secure using four to six crisscrossing rubber bands. When you’re done, you should have a circle that’s divided into triangular sections like a pizza.

Finally, apply the dye. You can use just a single color and only dye a few sections, or you can use multiple colors to dye each section. Either way, be sure to use plenty of dye to ensure that it saturates the garment. When you’ve finished dying one side, flip the fabric over and repeat on the back.

Shibori

Shibori is one of the oldest tie-dye techniques and has been practiced for centuries. You can create this look yourself with just a few easy steps.

Lay the fabric flat and then carefully roll it around a tube. A paper towel tube or wrapping paper tube that has been trimmed down works well. Push both sides of the fabric toward each other, scrunching them up tightly as you go. Secure in place with rubber bands and then apply your dye. Rotate the tube as you go to ensure that the fabric is completely saturated.

Crinkle

If you want to keep things super simple, the crinkle technique is the way to go. This option is great when you’re tie-dyeing with kids, too, since there is really no way to mess it up.

Start by crumpling a t-shirt up randomly. Once it’s sufficiently crumpled, secure with a few rubber bands. Place them haphazardly to avoid creating any sort of specific pattern. Then, apply the dye. This technique works well with a single color, but you can use multiple colors, too. Just be careful when using multiple colors to avoid using ones next to each other that will blend into a muddy brown color. Stick with primary colors (red, blue and yellow) that mix to create other aesthetically pleasing colors.

Heart

Are you someone who wears your heart on your sleeve? Let the world know by creating a tie-dyed shirt with a heart on the front. The heart tie-dye technique is easier than you might think, and the end result is quite impressive.

First, fold your t-shirt in half lengthwise and lay flat. Then, use a washable marker to draw the outline of half a heart so that the center of the heart is at the crease. Tightly pleat the fabric along the marker line you created and then secure using a rubber band. Keep the rubber band as close to the line you drew as possible. Use additional rubber bands to bind the rest of the shirt in increments.

Apply dye to each section. Use alternating colors for the most dramatic effect. Be sure to use enough dye to fully saturate the fabric, especially for the main heart.

Reverse Tie-Dye

If you love the look of tie-dye but want to try something totally different, try reverse tie-dye. With this project, you’ll start with a black t-shirt instead of a white one.

Start by laying the shirt out on a flat surface. Pinch one of the bottom corners and pull the shirt into a long tubular shape. Next, tightly wrap rubber bands around the fabric to create sections that are about an inch in width.

Combine equal amounts of bleach and water in a spray bottle and then apply to the shirt. Let soak until the fabric has been bleached to the desired shade. Remove the rubber bands and then rinse the shirt thoroughly and wash. Do not dry.

Lay the damp shirt out flat and then apply the dye in your desired colors to the bleached sections. Once you’ve finished coloring one side, flip the shirt over and dye any undyed bleached sections on the other side. The less white you have showing when you are finished, the more dramatic the final look will be!

Conclusion

Regardless of which technique you choose to try, be sure to give the dye plenty of time to process before rinsing. Typically, you should wrap the garment in plastic and let it sit overnight. The next morning, you should rinse it using cool water and then launder.

Pay close attention to the instructions that come with your dye. Depending on what brand or type you use, the exact steps required may vary. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is the only way to ensure the best possible results.

Tie-dyeing shirts and other garments is a project that is fun for all ages. Try the techniques listed above or get creative and come up with your own designs and patterns. The only limit is your imagination.

By Erick Ycaza

Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style. Surprisingly, I have been blogging and writing about music since 2007.