tie dye

I spent a lot of time this weekend crocheting the blue scarf while I sat with my father-in-law. But that is not why my hands are blue. I tried tie dying for the first time since college when a girlfriend and I tie dyed a set of sheets in the dorm laundry room.

I had seen a project of tie dyed napkins out on the internet and decided to give it a go using one of those three-color Tulip one-step kits and a package of white bandannas. I used the dry method to prevent the colors from bleeding into each other.  Here are a few thoughts on the process.

The kit gives a few techniques for different designs like the spiral, the bulls eye and stripes. In a perfect world, I would have tried a few of them, seen what worked and then gone back to finish the rest, but you must use the dye within 45 minutes of mixing it and the dyed projects need to sit wrapped in plastic for 6-8 hours before unbinding it. Once you start, you pretty much have to use it all, or waste it.

When the colors are applied, they are really vibrant. In this case there was bright turquoise, dark blue and emerald green. They faded A LOT when I put them through the washing machine. The colors are still pretty, but much softer and definitely no longer as vivid.

It might have been the fact that the fabric of the cotton bandannas was thin, but during the “sit for 6-8 hours” part of the process, the dyes did wick.  I had left quite a bit of white on these, and when they were rinsed out, there was not much white left at all. I also may have over saturated the fabric with dye since it was my first try with it and I was not sure how much would be needed.

This project took a lot of water to rinse out the dyes. You are supposed to rinse them until the water runs clear. After over 30 minutes, they were still releasing dye. I was starting to feel too wasteful, so I got them to the close-enough stage and called it good.

Cover more than your immediate work space. The little squirt bottles that come with this kit do sputter a bit. I had a baking tray covered with newspaper, but there were a few drops that jumped back onto the counter.  These were able to be wiped completely up right away without leaving any permanent marks, but I was lucky to notice them immediately. Aslo, son’t wear the new t-shirt you just got on sale at Target for this project. ‘Nuff said.

Get extra gloves. The kit comes with 2 sets of plastic gloves. I used both sets in the dying process as the first set got dye on it and I did not want to transfer those smudges onto the additional pieces. When I was rinsing the napkins out, I did it without gloves, and now my hands and fingernails are a faint shade of dark blue.

So all in all a good learning experience, and this is also why i decided to try napkins for my first attempt. They were inexpensive, and don’t need to be perfect to still be usable and fun. I did have a bit of dye left over and tried using it on some yarn.  Since I can’t run that through the washing machine and dryer, I’m still waiting for it finish drying out completely before I’ll be able to see how it turned out.

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