Friday, September 3, 2010

Live Free or Tie-Dye Hard

Yesterday I did a tie-dye craft with my MOMS Club. It was like the blind leading the blind. I had found some good sites with info on tie-dyeing and techniques, and tie-dyeing with kids, but I'd only ever done it once before. And we messed it up and they all turned muddy. Only 5 other brave mommies dared to try (really, we didn't even need the kids there. The mommies with kids in school could have come!)
I found a 5-color kit at JoAnn's that claimed it could dye up to 20 shirts, and it came with squeeze bottles. And it was 30% off. I had also found some boxes of Rit dye on eBay for cheap, but I am sooooo glad that I decided to get this kit too, just in case. We ended up only using this. Other than a lack of orange, it was perfect. And didn't require salt or hot water.
I had thought that the event started at 10:30, so at 9:30, when I was about to start taking my shower and getting my dyes ready, I looked at the invite and saw it said 10am! ACK! My husband was home sick, so I left him in charge of the Princess and I took the fastest shower in the history of me. I came running out, to find that not only was my child still in pajamas, but her breakfast was still in the discussion stages. Whuuuuck?! So I decided to leave her behind. Plus she had woken up several times in the night and had a runny/stuffy nose, so she wouldn't be her normal clingy/whiny self. She'd be a tired, sick version of her normal self.
Hubby was not in agreement. So instead of getting my dyes ready, I helped get my child ready. Then, when she was strapped into her car seat, he relented and offered to keep her home. Seriously? But I took her anyway. Did he remember to send me off with any tissues? No. Did he send us off with plenty of water? No. He gave her milk, which increases phlegm production. What a sweetheart. -.-
But I got to the park on time. And waited. And waited. The first mom showed up just a little late, which was no problem. Everyone else came half hour later. I could have filled my dollar store spray bottles up with hot water and mixed the orange, pink, brown and teal dyes at home! Oh well. Instead they were filled with cold water, since the park's restroom only had cold. I used them to weight down the plastic disposable (dollar store) tablecloth since I had forgotten to bring tape. The kids loved them though, and spent a long happy time running around spritzing each other, so the moms could do all the fun stuff!

Here are the sites I got my tips and ideas from: Tie-Dye party with kidsgeneral tips and different techniques, and a glue-batik method that I linked to in the invite (since it would require advance planning for the glue to dry) and one of the moms opted to do. Plus the kit came with a sheet of ideas. But I really needed info from all these places. Some said how long to let them sit for. That using a wet item made it easier. To wear gloves when rinsing (I would only have thought to wear them while dyeing!) Some didn't tell you to rinse the dye out before washing (that was the mistake my sister and I made on our first attempt. All the excess dye spread and made everything muddy in the washer.)

Supplies: Plastic tablecloth. Newspapers (to soak up excess dye under the shirts.) Vinyl gloves (latex or dishwashing gloves work fine too.) Paper towels (for spills, whatever.) Baby wipes (ditto.) Rubber bands. Fold and Close Sandwich Bags (not the Ziplock kind. We used these thin bags as gloves for the kids!) Spray bottles (the kids had fun with them, but the moms used them to help spread the dye evenly for the techniques where they were just squirting color around, rather than twisting and rubberbanding. It made the colors spread and fill out spaces better.) Large Ziplock bags (to store/take items home in.)

I didn't get any pictures of the Princess doing her shirt, since I was busy keeping her 'glove' on and helping her hold the squirt bottles, but she chose the technique she wanted to do (spiral/swirl) and she chose the order of the colors for each segment. Unfortunately, I forgot that she thought we were making a shirt for her daddy. I had a shirt for her but lost it, so in my frantic rush to get ready, my husband offered one of his white shirts. But one of the mommies had extra kid shirts, so I bought one off of her. So Z thought we were painting daddy's shirt and got upset because she wanted to give it to him right away. I ended up making his shirt, which is a shame, since having her make one for him and me make one for her would have been more special.
And our masterpieces (after rinse and wash):
Z's shirt (front and back)
As you can see, I didn't get the spiral effect that I was looking for. But I got a nice bulls-eye, so that's something at least. On her shirt, she only did the pink through purple rings, and we left the rest blank. After I got home, I kept the material gathered and used left-over dye to squirt and splatter the rest of the shirt. I love how it turned out. To minimize the mess, I put it onto a ceramic plate and did it at the sink. I used the shirt to sop up spilt dye from the plate as well. Worked great.

The shirt I made for my hubby. Since it was bigger than hers, I was able to keep twisting and rubber banding it, so I kept going and did it all the way through.

Here's a step-by-step of what we did (or should have done):
  • Optional prep, done in advance: pre-treat with soda ash, but I know nothing about that, other than I think you want it done the day before and fully dried. Also, you would want any glue-batik designs to be dry already. Cardboard insert is recommended between layers for gluing and dyeing. 
  • Step 1: Wearing gloves, prep dye(s) according to package. If doing a lot of dye, or in an enclosed area, you may want to wear a breathing mask or bandana over your nose/mouth as well. And remember to wash away any spilled powder, as it can still be activated with water and surprise you later.
  • Step 2: Waterproof tablecloth or tarp (or both, one for the craft surface, one for under!)
  • Step 3: Tape down tablecloth or tarp. The wind was very annoying to deal with. Plus the drips were being flung all over, rather than just dripping straight off the table, missing the benches. I had planned on taping down my tablecloth, but forgot to bring tape.
  • Step 4: Layer with newspaper (or towels you don't care at all about. But I recommend newspaper, since you'd have to wash the towels special until you were sure the dye wouldn't get all over everything else in the wash.) You want something to soak up excess dye so it isn't forced to soak into your item or pool all over the table. Then you can just lay down fresh paper for the next person.
  • Step 5: Any item you plan on rubber banding should be wetted first. Not soaking wet, but not too dry. Moist to damp is best. You can always use a spritz bottle if you feel it needs to be wetter. It's much harder to remove excess water once the dying process has begun! Plus wet shirts tighten better when twisted for  rubber banding.
  • Step 6: Wear gloves. Dye! We had great success with the squeeze bottles and spritzing with extra water to help the dye spread onto larger areas, like for the glue batik, but a spray bottle with dye might have been better for that. I love how my scrunch-n-squirt technique ended up looking on the back of her shirt. One mom tried a technique that I saw somewhere but I don't think was on a site listed above. The one I read said to draw a simple design (a letter or a shape) in chalk, then make little bunches of fabric and rubberbands around the outline. I'm not sure how to dye it, whether you try and avoid certain parts or not, and I haven't seen her results yet, but hopefully hers looks like little whitish splotches in a heart pattern. But she may have overdone the water spritzing. If you just want to dye without tying, for best results have a cardboard insert between fabric layers (so you don't have weak bleed-through from the other side interfering in your design.)
  • Step 7: Spritz with more water if you feel you need it. Fill in gaps. Fine-tune design. Do sleeves and back. Whatever.
  • Step 8: Wring out excess dye/water. (I skipped this part, since I didn't feel I used too much dye. I was worried that I had used too little!)
  • Step 9: Keep as-is (try and store flat if dyed flat. Folded or twisted if dyed that way) and take home or store in plastic bag for at least 6 to 8 hours, or overnight if you can stand the suspense.
  • Step 10: Wear gloves. Starting with warm running water, and gradually cooling, rinse excess dye until water runs clear. If you don't do this, your colors will bleed all over in the wash and look muddy. My sister and I have 15 ruined onesies and baby shirts from learning this the hard way! You will want to remove rubber bands while rinsing (I usually wait until water is running fairly clear, so I don't get dye all over my hands, since it's easier to remove string/rubber bands without gloves on.) It is easier to just cut the rubber bands off, rather than save them. But they can be re-used otherwise.
  • Step 11: Wash alone with cold water (NO SOAP) in washing machine. If you dyed several items, it's probably okay to wash them together. I did with my 2 shirts. I've heard that adding salt or vinegar helps set the dye, but I don't know how much to use, and I forgot to try. Optional: Run washing machine EMPTY with warm water and soap to rinse any dye residue in machine before washing next load. I opted not to do this, since Unka Seesee's darks were up next, and I don't mind if his clothes get ruined. 
  • Step 12: Hang dry or use coolest dryer setting. I hung mine, since our dryer is newish and I only see 3 settings, and I don't really know how to use it. Apparently, I sometimes don't even get it running and come back to 2 loads of sopping wet clothes.
  • Step 13: (Optional) Wash separately after first use/wear. I'll wait and see if my child or husband comes back multi-colored. 

Rocket ship shirts for 2 brothers using the glue-batik method (before rinsing/washing.)

A 'Dream BIG' shirt for their little sister (pre-rinse)

Random squirts technique, after spray bottle to make colors spread. (pre-rinse)

And here are some post-rinse from another mommy:

1 comment:

  1. Oooooh bring the kit to my house, that looks so fun! And it worked this time! Remembering to rinse BEFORE the washer is important apparently...

    'Aunt Kayneen'


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