Bijou Tutorial: How To DIY Tie-Dye

Bijou Tutorial: How To DIY Tie-Dye

Warm weather is here and as we squirrel away our sweaters and jackets, it’s time to liven up our wardrobes for Summer. One of my favorite ways to spice up my look is with some tie-dye. I was born in the 80s and I have an unhealthy relationship with early 90s nostalgia. Also, it looks cool. I found a very affordable and quality tie-dye kit on Amazon a couple of years ago, and have been dyeing just about anything I can get my hands on – socks, tees, shorts, the possibilities are endless! Let’s get a few ingredients together and add a little creativity so that your Summer look will dye for.

What you'll need:

  • This tie-dye kit from Amazon (It comes complete with gloves, plastic tarp, dye, and rubber bands.)
  • A plastic bag
  • White or light colored clothing to dye
  • Washer & dryer
  • A sense of whimsy

Step 1:

Once you decide what piece you’re transforming into a work of fine art (I've chosen this Season 10 RPDR Vanjie t-shirt from DragCon NYC), you’ll want to get it lightly damp. I’ve found that the drier the piece is, the more saturated the color will be. If you want a more pastel look, get your fabric wetter. I do this in the sink and then ring it out. You can also pre-wash your garment and start this process right out of the washing machine. I’ve done it both ways and both work well! Put the tarp down on a large surface and place your piece on top.

Step 2:

This is where you can start putting your spin on things! Literally. Spin your fabric into a swirl. Start twisting the fabric wherever you want. For example, I typically start at either the lower left or right of a t-shirt because I find that to be the most flattering. Once it’s all twisted up, you’ll want to secure your piece with a few rubber bands. There are infinite ways to twist or scrunch up your piece to create different patterns, I’m focusing on the most basic one here, but check out this site for some alternative designs!

Step 3:

Choose some dye and mix with water according to the kit instructions. I’ve found it works best to choose colors that are analogous or next to each other on the color wheel. If you use complementary colors they can bleed into each other and neutralize and you’ll get a muddy finish. That being said, if you’re feeling confident about a color story with complementary colors, you go for it, but try to keep them separate on your piece. Put on some gloves and apply color as desired. Make sure you saturate the piece and get the dye into the folds. The more you apply, the less white space is left at the end.

Step 4:

Place your dyed and tied piece into a plastic bag and let sit for 12-24 hours. The longer it sits, the more saturated the color will be.

Step 5:

Carefully cut any rubber bands making sure not to snip your fabric. Rinse by hand in cold water before machine washing. Wash in your washing machine with hot water. Tumble or hang dry according to garment instructions. Wash and dry separately for the first few washes to avoid any color bleeding onto other clothing.

Step 6:

Wear you tie-dye with pride!

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