Saturday, June 7, 2014 / No comments

Tie Dyeing During a Hot Arizona Summer (aka Sweating Profusely)


This is a big milestone for my blog. My first official item that I can now check off of my bucket list! And thank goodness it was something I had always wanted to do: tie dye!

I remember seeing a video on Sesame Street when I was a kid (back in the good old days before Elmo had his own world and nothing was computer animated. I mean, really. It's all about the puppets, people!) of some kids in another country tie dying some shirts. I was fascinated by the kids wrapping their shirts in twine and then dipping them into different boiling pots of colors. The end scene was the kids unwrapping their shirts after they dried and seeing their faces as they showed the cameras their shirts immediately made me, as an awestruck kid, want to tie dye my own shirt and be as happy as them.

Now, years later, I finally got to tie dye some shirts of my own! And no, I wasn't as gleeful as those kids were, but maybe that's because I'm older and I've lost my youthful innocence. But despite not being a young whippersnapper (I am after all a quarter of a century years old), I had a great time tie dying yesterday with my sister Madelyn who was visiting from the East Coast. Read on for my account of our adventures and for some crappy iPhone pictures! (I'm all about quality)

I ended up buying a Tulip tie dye kit from Joann Fabrics. I had a 40% off coupon so I saved $10 on a 12 pack of tie dye colors. Score!


Next, Madelyn and I read through the directions and tried to figure out what styles we wanted aka how we would fold and tie our shirts. We decided we each wanted a shirt (while I was also going to do a tank top) and then we also wanted to make two for our parents and two for Madelyn's friend's baby. So not only did we have to figure out how to fold these shirts for ourselves, we had to do them for others too! No pressure, right?

I decided to do mine first and be the guinea pig. I tied my shirt in a side bulls-eye design and left the rest of the shirt untied. For my tank tops, I pleated it vertically and then put rubber bands around the shirt horizontally. Madelyn ended up doing a crumble design for her shirt and my mom's and we did a spiral for my dad's shirt and also a spiral and a bulls-eye for her other shirts. Folding and tying the shirts was actually more difficult than we thought! We kept asking each others, "Do you think this is right?" "It doesn't look like it did on those Youtube videos!" Oh, the joys of DIY.


Then we set our supplies outside. The Tulip kit came with the dyes in bottles (just add water), plastic gloves, rubber bands, and a plastic sheet to lay everything on. We also brought out some plastic grocery bags so after we dyed our shirts, we could put them in their own bag so the dye could set. In case I haven't mentioned it before, I live in Arizona. And it is now currently June. Which means summer started, like, a month ago. It is HOT outside. So as you can imagine, once we went outside and started working, we were sweating like crazy. The things we do for the name of fun.


We finally start dyeing our shirts! The trick I learned very quickly is to keep the bottle tip close to the shirt so the dye doesn't shoot out all over the plastic sheet and get on any part of the white of the shirt. Oops. I discovered using a paper towel to wipe up the sheet helps keep things tidy. Also, we went through a lot of gloves, just because we were trying to keep clean. Thank goodness it came with multiple pairs of them!


Here's a picture of Madelyn working on one of her kids shirts. I wanted to take more pictures, but once the dye got all over my gloves, it started getting annoying taking my gloves on and off. But I did try to take as many as I could!


Look at my tank top! I tried to do stripes of cool (blue, green, etc) colors (rather than warm colors such as red, pink, orange, etc). I didn't leave enough room by the rubber bands because the dye tended to run and spread. But I loved my color choices!


When we were all done dying, we put each shirt in it's own grocery bag and let it sit for 6 hours. The instructions said 6-8 but we didn't want to wait too long. So next we cleaned up our big mess! And let's just say our patio was a little more colorful then it was when we first started. Oops. (Also, since Madelyn and I were both wearing shorts, our legs were pretty bright hued too)

6 hours later....

After rinsing out each shirt and then washing them individually in the washing machine (largest load, on the hottest setting with a little bit of detergent), we set them out to try on our clothes drying racks overnight. This is what we found in the morning:


So pretty and bright! I thought they turned out pretty good for us being first timers! I think we had trouble pleating/folding them because there were a lot of white spots, but other than that, they're pretty groovy looking! I feel like a proud mama. I did it!! Here are my parents' shirts:




And finally.... my shirts! I'm actually really proud of how they turned out. I mean, I don't know if I'd wear them out of the house but I'd definitely wear them as PJ's!


Sadly, Madelyn had to leave early this morning to go back east, so I didn't get a chance to take pictures of her's. But trust me, her's came out super cool too!

In conclusion, tie dyeing was incredibly fun, messy, and a little time consuming. Tons of prep, then waiting, then waiting a little more, before you get the final results. But I would definitely do it again, now that I kind of know the ropes and I can only get better, right? Also, I would recommend doing it with friends. I would imagine it would get a little boring and lonely doing it by yourself. I'm so glad I got to do tie dye with my older sister though. It was a great bonding experience and a bunch of fun too. Finally! Something I can check off of my bucket list! And I'm only just getting started :)

Check back for more of my adventures!

xoxo Emily

Note: Tulip has a tie dye website that you should check out if you're going to tie dye. It's filled with tips, DIYs, and tutorials that I found really helpful: ILovetoCreate.com Happy tie dyeing!
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