Tie Dye Information


A. To bring by Day One (if not brought by this date you will not be able to tie dye a shirt).
1. 100% cotton t-shirt (make sure that you have pre-washed it to get rid of the sizing and other chemicals
2. $1.00 to cover the cost of the dyes that we purchased.
3. Plastic bag – Ziploc or grocery (Ziploc preferred) – to hold your wet t-shirt in.

B. To do on Day One
1. Make sure you name is on your bag and your t-shirt.
2. Read about the various techniques for preparing your t-shirt. Different methods like folding or twisting make for different patterns after the dye has been applied. Fold and tie your t-shirt.
3. Take to teacher to soak in the fixer solution. Make sure the entire shirt gets wet. CAUTION: The fixer is mildly irritating to the skin and the water is HOT!
4. Wring out your shirt, but don’t rinse it. Keep it wet and place it in your plastic bag while it is still wet and seal your bag. Place it in the designated area for your class.

C. To do on Day Two
1. Apply the dye to your shirt according to your teacher’s instructions.
2. Place the dyed shirt back in your plastic bag and seal it. Do not untie your shirt.
3. Take your shirt home and wash it according to the instructions that follow.

D. To do when you get home
Once you are home, keep the t-shirt wet for at least four hours although 24 hours is preferable. Then follow the washing method listed below:

Rinse your still tied-up t-shirt in cold running water. Rinse until the water runs clear. Untie the t-shirt and continue to rinse in cold water until it runs clear again. Raise the temperature of the water to warm and rinse until the water runs clear. Wash your t-shirt in the washing machine by itself with laundry detergent. Repeat washing until no more loose dye comes out of the shirt. Dry your t-shirt.



White light is a mixture of all colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROY G BIV). Molecules absorb some of these wavelengths and reflect others to determine the color they appear. Molecules that combine well with materials and stay fast are useful dyes.
People have used natural dyes throughout history but they were expensive and usually worked poorly. An example of a quality, natural dye is the leaves of the indigo plant. In 1856, a British chemist named Sir William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered chemical dyes in the black tar he prepared attempting to synthesize quinine. His discovery revolutionized the textile industry.
In the simplest dyes, the colored molecules are positive cations. The colored cations are added to materials containing negative anions that help to make the dye hold fast.


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