Saturday, February 7, 2009


Tie-dye is a process of resist dyeing textiles or clothing which is made from knit or woven fabric, usually cotton; typically using bright colors. It is a modern version of traditional dyeing methods used in many cultures throughout the world.[1] "Tie-dye" can also describe the resulting pattern or an item which features this pattern. Tie-dyeing became fashionable in the West in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of hippie style. It was popularized in the United States by musicians such as John Sebastian and Janis Joplin.[2]

Tie-dyeing process
Tie-dying is accomplished by folding the material into a pattern, and binding it with string or rubber bands. Dye is then applied to only part of the material. The ties prevent the entire material from being dyed. Designs are formed by applying different colors of dyes to different sections of the fabric. Once complete, the material is rinsed, and the dye is set.

Although many different kinds of dyes may be used, most tie-dyers now dye with Procion MX fiber reactive dyes.[3] This class of dyes works at warm room temperatures; the molecules permanently bind with cellulose based fibers (cotton, rayon, hemp, linen), as well as silk, when the pH is raised. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is generally used to raise the pH and is either added directly to the dye, or in a solution of water in which garments are soaked before dyeing. They do not fade with washing, but sunlight will cause the colors to fade over time.

Traditional tie-dye
The earliest surviving examples of pre-Columbian tie-dye in Peru date from A.D. 500-800. Their designs include small circles and lines, with bright colors including red, yellow, blue, and green.[4]

Shibori includes a form of tie-dye that originated in Japan. It has been practiced there since at least the eighth century. Shibori includes a number of labour-intensive resist techniques including stitching elaborate patterns and tightly gathering the stitching before dyeing, forming intricate designs for kimonos. Another shibori method is to wrap the fabric around a core of rope, wood or other material, and bind it tightly with string or thread. The areas of the fabric that are against the core or under the binding would remain undyed.

Tie-dye techniques have also been used for centuries [ref needed] in the Hausa region of West Africa, with renowned indigo dye pits located in and around Kano, Nigeria. The tie-dyed clothing is then richly embroidered in traditional patterns. It has been argued that the Hausa techniques were the inspiration for the hippie fashion[citation needed].

Plangi and tritik are Malay-Indonesian words for methods related to tie-dye, and bandhna is a term from India. Ikat is a method of tie-dying the warp or weft before the cloth is woven.
Tie-dyeing was known in the US by 1909.[5] Later in the 20th Century, tie-dye became associated with the Hippie movement.

Mudmee Tie-dye
Mudmee tie-dye developed from mudmee silk, which is mainly created in Thailand and neighboring part of Laos. This type of tie-dye displays unique shapes and patterns. Mostly found in the big markets of Bangkok, Thailand, the artists, creating their garments, keep their specific artistry confidential.
This type of tie-dye is characterized by its softer forms and bigger variety of shapes and patterns. Colors used are often subdued and many items are found that are restricted to only one or two colors. The use of black as a base color results in unusual tones.

Creating Mudmee tie-dye requires more skills and resources than the typical t-shirt of the hippie era. There are only few such skilled artist present around the world and a danger exists that this art form may become extinct. There is currently a project underway to participate in an apprenticeship at one of the bigger studios in Thailand and then, with the help of the owner of the studio, create a book to preserve the art of mudmee tie-dye making[6].

Folds and patterns
Below is a list of common modern tie-dying folds and patterns.

Spiral patterns involve pleats of fabric arranged in swirls around a central point, gathered into a round bundle. Different wedges of the circular bundle are usually dyed different colors. [7]

The 'V' shape is achieved by folding a shirt in half vertically, then a line is drawn diagonally from the shoulder area down to the center fold of the shirt. The fabric is then accordion folded along the line and bound into one or more areas to which the dye is applied.This will show in the shape of a 'V'

This category can hold several different patterns, the majority of which have nothing to do with each other; they can be combinations or they can be as chaotic as bundling the item to be dyed.

Random circles
This effect is made by tying knots with string or elastic bands in different places. The more fabric that is tied, the larger the circles. The less fabric that is tied the smaller the circles.

Easy Tie Dye

Watch your child's (or student's) face light up when you remove that first rubber band from your tie dyed t-shirt. It is truly amazing the designs that one can create with so few tools. Try these super easy tie dyes for kids and see what ours were raving about! For the purposes of simplicity, we chose to use one color per garment, rather than multiple colors that are so often seen. You can also use colored garments and use a contrasting dye color to achieve the same results.
What You Need:
various colors of fabric dye (available in the housewares department)
rubber bands
rubber gloves
tap water
garments such as t-shirts, cotton shorts, old jeans, etc.
What You Do:
Begin by rubberbanding your garment according to the design you wish to achieve. See the pictures below followed by the method in which to reach that result.

Prepare dye according to package directions. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands! Dye can be just as damaging as bleach to your unprotected skin. Please take the proper safety precautions recommended.

Once your garment is ready, place in the dye for at least 15-20 minutes. The longer the garment remains in the dye, the darker and deeper the color will become. Remove from the dye and rinse according to package directions, usually in cold running water. Ring out garment until water runs clear.
Carefully remove rubber bands and marbles to reveal your new design! No design will be the same as another and different effects can be reached by combining the different methods mentioned above. See below for our results and be sure to have a good time!

I used Rit dye, but I used the powdered kind. You mix the powder with cold tap water. The shirts only stayed in for 15 minutes at the longest. The pictures were taken when the shirts were still wet, so that may show them a bit richer in color. But they still came out nice, even after drying in the clothes dryer.


Anonymous said...

I want to know how to do Mudmee, not what it is! is there any usefull site in this small world?!

cherrypie said...

I agree. It's really hard to find one!

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