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How to Make Dye for Tie Dye

Tie-dying is one of the oldest and best ways to bring a splash of color to boring clothes. Even though it is mostly known as ‘hippie wear’ due to its massive popularity in the 70s, it is still trendy and fun.

Moreover, it is very easy to make DIY dyes for tie-dying your clothes. You can even make dyes using ingredients that are a staple in your kitchen to add color to your boring white clothes.

There are many ways to make dye for your tie-dye projects. And below, we’re going to learn how to make dye for tie-dye. Let’s get started!

How to Make Dye for Tie Dye : 5 Different ways

1. Using Food Color

To tie-dye using food color you will need:

  • Apron
  • Food color of your choice
  • A plastic bottle

This is one of the easiest ways to make dyes for tie-dye projects. Fill up a small plastic bottle with water with a little space at the top. Pour 8-10 drops of food color for vibrant and bright in your tie-dye or 4-5 drops for a more pastel shade.

Then vigorously shake the bottle until the food color has thoroughly mixed with the water. Now you can use the dye to color any cloth you want.

2. With the Help of Fabric Paint

For making dye with fabric paint, you will need:

  • Fabric paint
  • Spray bottle
  • A cup of water

Pour a cup of water in a spray bottle and make sure you have some space left at the top. Then add three tablespoons of fabric paint in order to make the dye very vibrant.

If you want it to be less colorful, add one and a half to two tablespoons for a lighter shade of tie-dye. Now shake the bottle with all of your might for about a minute until you see that the color has mixed with the water. And it is ready for your tie-dye project.

3. With Natural Fruits and Vegetables

This is the best way as it consists of all-natural ingredients you have lying around in your kitchen or garden. There are no harmful chemicals or toxic materials, so you can have your kids help you out as well.

Here are the things you will need:

  • Cotton cloth (for dying)
  • Vegetables (turmeric, onion, beets, red cabbage, spinach, etc.) or fruits (berries)
  • Blender
  • Salt
  • Pots and pans
  • Gloves
  • Stove
  • Condiment bottles and funnel (for storing different colored dyes)
  • Strainer

Before starting to prepare the vegetables, wear gloves to protect your hands. With a knife, chop vegetables or berries in small chunks. There is no need to cut it very finely.

Now in a blender, put two cups of chopped berries and pour two cups of near-boiling water and blend. If you do not want to use a blender, you can simply boil the berries in a pot.

Once you have blended it to fine slurry, strain the slurry with a strainer. You can also use cheesecloth to remove even more of the substance from the liquid. Add a tablespoon of salt in the liquid.

If you are using spice like turmeric, then for every two cups of boiling water, you need to use 1-2 tablespoons of spice powder depending on the intensity of the color you desire.

As for vegetables or plants, for every two cups of boiling water, put one or two cups of vegetables to get your desired color. You can blend it or boil it in a pot. Remember, the longer you boil or simmer the berries, vegetables, or plants in water, the stronger and more intense will be the color.

Using a funnel, pour the liquids in condiment bottles or jars for your tie-dye projects.

4. Black and Brown Dye

What if you want to dye clothes with darker colors such as black or brown? You can use a plethora of natural ingredients to make dyes of dark colors. For instance, for light brown, take some ground coffee and boil it. Then soak the cloth in it to achieve a lighter shade of brown.

Or for a deeper shade of brown, use darkly roasted beans. You can also massage damp coffee grounds or a paste of unroasted coffee on the cloth for dying purposes.

And you can also use a beet to attain deep brown colors. Simply boil chopped beets in water and strain it. Then add ferrous sulfate (iron sulfate) to the water. For black dye, you can boil carob pods or roots of iris in water.

If neither is available, you can simply fill a plastic jar or bowl with some rusty nails or hinges and distilled white vinegar. Before you dye, simply remove the rusty nails or hinges with a strainer. In order to achieve a more permanent effect, you need to use alum as a fixative or mordant.

5. Dye with Chemical Water    

If you do not want to forage for barks or spend hours chopping vegetables or fruits for dying purposes, you can use chemical water along with dye to make dye for tie-dying clothes. This will give you lasting colors, and you do not need to prepare the cloth, especially for dying as you would with plant or fruit dye.

For making dye using chemical water and dye, you will need:

  • Goggles
  • Thick gloves
  • Mask
  • Urea
  • Ludigol
  • Water softener
  • Dye
  • Plastic bucket
  • Bottles or jars
  • Funnel
  • Measuring cup
  • Water

Before you start preparing chemicals, wear protective gloves, mask, as you are going to work with chemicals. Fill up a plastic bucket with a quart of lukewarm water. With it, add 2 teaspoons of Ludigol and 1 teaspoon of a water softener as well as ¾ cup of Urea.

Next, with a funnel, pour the chemical water from the bucket to bottles or jars. Add your chosen color of dye to the water to attain dye for your tie-dye projects.

Final Words

Now that you know how easy it is to make dyes, do not buy any from the shops. Rather use your garden or kitchen to whip up some amazing tie-dyed clothes.

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