October 09, 2017

Fresh week, Fresh start!  I did this project late in the summer, with the help of my son.  As I finally got around to posting these on the site, I thought I would share the making of.

I keep a stash of blank CALI crop  just for special dying projects I think up.  The bamboo blend jersey makes it a perfect canvas for dyeing and printing.  I recently stumbled upon the last stash of these blank ones and wanted to do a last special tie dye project with them.  Of course, as soon as I brought out the dyes, my son wanted to be involved with this process, and since there is nothing like crafting with you kid, I let him help out. This is the only kind of child labor I can stand behind! ;)

The process is fairly simple, hence why my son was able to help out so easily.  Even though this is my job and way of earning a living, there is no reason to exclude him from activities that are enjoyable and easy for him to do. 

How it's made:

Tie up the shirt in the pattern you want the dyes to come out. It may look like I did this haphazardly, but I actually followed the classic tie dye method for some of the shirts, and for others, kind of made up my own.  To be honest, this is usually how I come up with recipes, crafting ideas, etc.  I look up the basic method on the internet, or old magazine and catalogues, and then I kind of add my own spin by using what I have.  For the most part, it works pretty well, I mean I have had my share of fails, but hey, even Martha Stewart fails sometimes!

Squirt dye on top and bottom of shirt so outside is fully coated in the dye, this is the part my son liked best, because it is the messiest of course!  Then put shirts in plastic bag and let sit overnight...be patient.

The next day, rinse out all the dye until water runs clear. I used our reclaimed rain water barrel, but there hasn't been much rain this year, so it has been mostly filled up by a local spring that is put at the disposal of the community for watering gardens and providing drinking water to livestock.

the rinsing takes a bit of time, as you want the water to be as clear as possible. For me it was about 2/3 buckets of water.

I did save the darkest dye water (first batch of rinsing water) of some of the shirts to use for a different project.  I had some natural wool I had been "dying" to dye for a while. Since I'm all about 2-in-1 projects and reusing left overs, this was the perfect opportunity.  I added some vinegar to the dark dye water and made a batch of dye to use for wool. The details are for another post, another time, another place.


Once you have the tees all rinsed, comes the most exciting part, discovering what your tees will look like! It's like opening a present on Christmas day, well almost, but seriously, it's super fun.

Once they are all rinsed and untied, hang up to dry, preferably in open air, but of course inside will do just fine if that is what you are working with!

Once dry, I washed them once more with dye fixative (Dharma seriously has THE best resources for all your dying needs.)  Here are a couple of my favorite ones that came out, check them all our here and pick your favorite to take home.


The process may take a bit of time, and effort, but really it's pretty fun, especially when you get to spend time outdoors with the ones you love.



N.B. Unless mentioned I do not get any monetary or other compensation for links provided in this blog.  I simply like to share things that I value personally. 


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