Diy Fashions: Techniques For Tie-Dyed Tee Shirts

New techniques for tie-dyed tee shirts: instructions and ideas for making dyed shapes.

Tie-dyed shirts are cool and have been for years. They're popular because they look great with jeans, they're bright and colorful, and no two are ever exactly alike. Usually rubber bands are used to tie wads of the shirt, in random areas, all over, then dipped in dye. Wherever the rubber band touches the shirt, the die won't soak in, leaving those areas lighter in color than the rest of the shirt. The same is true of almost any object you place on the shirt. Rubber bands are used also because they can be dipped safely into the dye, but instead, shapes can be placed on the shirt and then dye sprayed onto the shirt, rather than dipping. That's for light-colored shirts, but for dark shirts, the masks can be put on the shirt and bleach sprayed onto the material to fade it, everywhere except for where the shapes are.

One way to dye shirts and enjoy the sunshine is make nature shirts. Choose an area that has pavement or sidewalks, or lay plastic out on the ground. Smooth the shirts out and have the kids search the woods for pine cones, leaves, branches, rocks and bark pieces. Brush off dirt and arrange the collection out on the shirts. The kids can lay grass blades, flowers, and assorted leaf shapes onto the shirt in any arrangement they think looks good. They can lay rocks or pieces of bark on top of the leaves and lightweight items to hold them down during the spraying. Make sure the weights are placed to where they won't interfere with the pattern.

A nice pattern is to place rocks and pieces of bark at the hem of the shirt, then lots of reeds, grasses, flowers, twigs and limbs from there to about halfway up the shirt, then have only a few that "grow" on up to the shoulders. Placing too many next to each other will take away from each individual shape, so leave some space between unique shapes, but lay twigs and limbs across groups of leaves and flowers.



Adults can use a spray bottle to squirt bleach on the shirts until they are completely covered. Be sure and spray in between leaves that are close together, like the fronds of a palm. Leave the bleach on just until the color begins to change, then wash the shirts well. The outlines of the leaves and branches can be seen in the dark areas, while the shirt fades away to a lighter shade. To do the back side, put plastic between the front and the back of the shirt, spray the front of the shirt and wait a few minutes, flip the shirt over, arrange the leaves, then spray again. Wait a couple of minutes then immediately wash the shirt.

Use all different types of shapes, not necessarily outdoor things, to mask the shirt. Gather a bunch of stuff from home, like lids, marbles, rope, cans, bottles, straws, cardboard shapes, strands of beads, shells, silverware, dishes, statues, tools, or anything else you can think of to block the bleach.

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