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Tie-Dye a T-shirt
In the 1960s, young people tie-dyed materials with bright colors
and designs. Major manufacturers also began to sell tie-dyed sheets,
rugs, curtains and shirts.
Tie-dyeing is a way of tying fabric so that the dye does not get
absorbed into a particular part of the material. The pattern is the result
of tying, knotting, folding, or sewing areas of the material which do not
absorb the colors when they are dipped in pots of dye. Bright colors are
mixed with white streaks (those other areas which do not absorb colors).
Tie-dyeing is fun and easy to do on a small budget. You can make amazing
colorful patterns and designs. The colorful T-shirt pictured above is featured
in the 1960s gallery in A
Time to Question.
Here are some simple directions for tie-dyeing a T-shirt, handkerchief,
scarf or pillowcase. You will want to ask an older person to help you with
Wear old clothes!
You will need these materials to tie-dye:
- liquid dyes
- rubber gloves
- spoon for stirring
- bowl or pot for mixing the dye with water
- thread, string or rubber bands for binding the areas you want to keep
- white T-shirt or material from a fabric store to make a handkerchief or
scarf or a pillowcase
- Tie the fabric tightly where you do not want dye to color the fabric.
- Prepare the dye according to the manufacturer's directions.
- Soak the material or a section of it in the dye solution for the time
given on the package or until it is the color you want. Remember that the
color will be lighter after it dries.
- Squeeze out the excess dye.
- Rinse the fabric well until water is clear.
- Dry on folded newspaper or a plastic sheetout-of-doors!
- When dry, untie.
Tie the fabric again in different places. Another section may now be
dyed in a different color or a second color dyed over the first. Repeat rinse
and dry process.
- When the material is dry, untie and iron.
Contact the Michigan Historical Museum.