With Summer in full blast, it’s time to bring on the tie-dye- but this time with a twist.
Summertime. The lemonade, the sunny days, and the perfect weather to spend time outside doing those fun activities, like tie-dying.
With the rise of outdoor DIYs, we’re seeing multi-color dyed everything—from silk sheets to matching sets. If you’re the kind of maker that prefers a traditional approach, here’s the fool-proof way to make dye and try the trend, naturally.
Let’s start with what you’ll need:
There are some basic materials you’ll need if you’re going to do this properly. Not to worry, they are all easy to acquire, and can be found either in your home or purchased online.
An old stockpot or saucepot
See? Told you that would be easy to find. Next, you’re going to want to make sure that you source the right natural materials to achieve the colors you want.
You might want to create a yellow shade which is a popular option for a summer colour, using onions. But onions aren’t in season, so you probably can’t pop into your garden and grab enough to fill a soup pot. You could always go and buy the fruits or veggies you need, just remember to buy plenty. The dye will reduce and boil down. So, you’ll want to buy at least enough to fill your saucepan or stock pot to the brim, keeping in mind the amount of fabric you are dyeing.
Step 1: Chop and Set
If you’re using flowers, fruits, or vegetables, chop and pile them into a bowl. Pour in water and cover for 24 hours. After the 24 hours are up, add the chopped materials and water into a saucepan, adding extra water and a teaspoon of salt. Boil the mixture down for an hour.
Step 2: Prepare the Dye
Pour the reduced dye mix through a sieve or strainer into a bowl, pressing the materials to squeeze out any access. Add 2 tablespoons of alum per half-gallon of liquid and mix thoroughly. Alum helps to fix the dye to the fabric and allow the pigment to hold.
Step 3: Choose your Dyeing Method
Once you have your fabric chosen, whether it’s a casual t-shirt, or a bedroom wall piece, you’ll want to choose how you’re going to use the dye. Sure, tie-dye is fun and can be an excellent way to experiment with creative twists and ties, there are other ways to use this dye.
Indigo-based Japanese shibori is one of my personal favourites, and it creates some dramatic lines that drastically vary from the standard hippie tie-dye aspect we’re all familiar with. There’s also the monochrome dip-dye which has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and it is the easiest method available.
Make sure the fabric has been washed and dried without dryer sheets before dyeing. Once your fabric is saturated, wring out as needed and hang outside to dry.
If you’d like to know what natural stuff you can use to create those colours you want, there are some helpful sites online that can guide you, but we can drop a short list to get you started.
Some popular colours for all-natural tie-dye are:
Pink – you can use beets, red onion, strawberries, dark coloured roses
Peach- avocado skins, avocado pits
Yellow- onions, carrots, turmeric
Blue- black beans, blueberries, elderberries
Green- grass, spinach, artichokes, kale
Purple- red cabbage, basil leaves, huckleberries
Feel free to experiment with what you have and see what fun colour combinations you can come up with!