Tie dye is one of those trends that never gets old. It's a super simple way to revamp your old clothes, and pretty much always looks great. Not to mention how fun it is taking off the rubber bands and revealing your final pattern. This year, tie dye became a major trend again, and stores like Urban Outfitters hopped on it. While the sweatshirts and matching sets are so cute, they always cost more than simply making it yourself. I haven't tie dyed in over 2 years, and I figured now would be the perfect time to do another tie dye project. I've decided to try three different methods on different articles of clothing. For this post, I'll be trying the ice cube method, scrunch method, and the classic swirl.
For this method, all you do is randomly scrunch up your clothing and tie the sections up with rubber bands. This is the only method I've done before, and I always like how this method turns out. I used Rit dye in the color Pearl Grey on an old pair of sweatpants from Rue21.
I started off by randomly scrunching up the sweatpants in sections and tying them with rubber bands. I made five sections: the two legs, the two sides of the upper half, and the center.
I mixed two tablespoons of dye with two cups of hot water and a tablespoon of salt inside of a squirt bottle. Then I squirted the mixture all over the pants intentionally leaving a few sections white.
I took the rubber bands off after 30 minutes to rinse the sweatpants in cold water, like the directions on the Rit website said to do. Initially, I loved how the pattern came out and was super excited.
However, after rinsing in cold water, most of the dye washed out of the pants, and they didn't look nearly as good anymore. I decided to repeat the process but let the dye sit for two hours instead of 30 minutes. It still didn't change the outcome. I think the problem may have been the fabric of the sweatpants. I decided to wash the sweatpants completely and start from scratch. I repeated the first few steps, rung out excess moisture, did a rinse in the sink, and put the sweatpants in the dryer. After they were dry, I left them alone for a week to see if I could "stain" the fabric.
After a week, I rinsed them in cold water, and the dye stayed completely.
Classic Swirl Method
For a sweatshirt, I decided to use the exact same color as I did for the sweatpants. For this method, I chose a point near the center of the shirt and twisted it in one direction until the entire sweatshirt was a swirl. Then, I tied 3 rubber bands around the shirt to make six sections.
I used the exact same dye mixture as the sweatpants and covered the entire shirt with the same Pearl Grey color. Initially after taking out the rubber bands, the pattern looked great. However, just like the sweatpants, the dye completely washed out. Again, it was most likely a fabric issue. I decided to try a second time with the same method as the sweatpants on attempt #2.
After letting the dye sit, it started to create some random orange spots. I'm not sure why it happened, but the shirt still looked good, so I didn't mind. After a week passed, and I rinsed the sweatshirt in cold water. The dye washed out again, and I decided to accept that the fabric was not going to do well with this dye. It was really disappointing because I thought the pattern was super cute.
Of all the methods of tie dye I was trying, I was most excited for the ice cube method. I've seen other peoples' results, and they always look AMAZING. For this one, I made sure I had a 100% cotton t-shirt. First, I mixed the dye. I used the Tan Rit dye. I used the same directions as the grey dye but only used one tablespoon of dye like the directions said.
After this, I set a metal rack in a bucket, so the water could fall through it. I crumpled up my t-shirt but didn't use any rubber bands, and I set it on top of the rack.
Then, I put ice cubes all over the shirt.
Last, I squirted the dye on the shirt and ice cubes and left it outside to let the ice cubes melt.
I was a little worried about how the back of the shirt would look since I wasn't applying dye directly to it. The dye did end up leaking onto the back, so it ended up looking fine. The color on the shirt was much lighter than I expected. However, I loved the pattern; it reminded me a lot of marble. I just wish the color was a little bit darker and more visible. I would have loved to try this method on a sweatshirt with more saturated dye.
It was definitely interesting to see how the dye looked on different fabrics and how much dye each article of clothing held onto after being washed. In my opinion, the sweatpants turned out the best. They were only 35% cotton which is why I had to let the dye sit for so long in order for it to stay, but it was totally worth it. I will probably try a cotton sweatshirt in the future and make the tan dye a little bit more saturated, so the color is more visible. Overall, I think it was a great learning experience. Now I know to pay attention to the fabrics and type of dye I'm using for the best results.