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Tie Dye Tips

Have you ever bought those tie dye kits at craft stores? Have you ever used the little squeezy bottles? Have you ever noticed they say "permanent on natural fabrics"? What if you want to tie dye man-made (synthetic) fabrics? Well have no fear! We've got you covered.

When the latest challenge was announced and I saw it was white scorpion, I immediately started looking into alternative dyeing methods. The method I used works quite well and I'm excited to share it with you. I made 3 fanny packs and 3 items of clothing, using different colors and different fabric bases.

You'll need a large pot (I suggest stainless steel), a thermometer, rubber bands, dish soap, tongs or a slotted spoon, and your dye. I got my dye from three different places: Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and Amazon. I used Rit DyeMore Synthetic. Look for the "synthetic", that is important. I used Smoky Blue for the clothes and Super Pink, Royal Purple, and Tropical Teal for the fanny packs.

You'll want to start with pre-washed fabric. You can sew your items first, or dye your fabric and then sew. If you are planning to sew a large item, I suggest sewing first. I dyed the fanny pack fabric before sewing since they were small items and I used iron-on stabilizer.

Get your dye bath going. To really make your colors stick and be vibrant you need to use heat. Rit suggests 3 gallons of water for every pound of fabric. My large pot holds 2 gallons of water and I put in more than a pound of fabric and it was fine. You'll add 1 teaspoon of dish soap and about half a bottle of dye to you large pot of water. Heat your mix to about 200 degrees F.

While your mix is heating up, tie your fabric. I used the swirl and the scrunch (my personal favorite). There are tons of instructions online for how to fold.

Once your mix reaches 200 degrees, wet your fabric, and then place in dye bath. Maintaining temperature, let sit for at least 30 minutes. I tested leaving different pieces in the bath longer but it didn't make much of a difference in color. After the 30 minutes, remove from dye bath and rinse until water runs clear. Wash items in your washing machine as you would normally.

Fanny Packs: White Scorpion (pink), White Pointelle (purple), White Swim (teal), Petite Stitchery Co.'s Frost Fanny Pack

If you want a lot of color saturation, go with the white swim. As you can see, it absorbed the most dye, being mostly nylon. The white pointelle didn't keep the distinction of the ties very well but still gives a tie-dyed look. My personal favorite is the white scorpion. It kept vibrant colors without over-saturating. If you want a lot of white, tie it tight. If you want more color, tie loosely. I tied the tank quite tight and wasn't super happy with the amount of white, so dyed it a second time, this time tying more loosely. It turned out pretty amazingly.

This process is actually quite simple and easy. I encourage you to give it a try, but beware, you might find yourself wanting to tie dye everything.

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