Tie dye

by M. J. Simpson

Note: Plan on dressing in old clothes for this lab. These dyes are powerful and may permanently stain your clothes if you tiedyesplash or drip them on yourself.

Tie dye is a classic color chemistry lab. There are many different “recipes” for tie dye, but we will be following the procedure provided by Colorado Wholesale Dye Corp to ensure the most vibrant colors possible.

The wash and dyes will be prepared for you, so these are the instructions you need to know:

Before coming to lab: Prewash your 100% cotton, white garment before coming to lab.

In lab:

  1. Use a permanent marker to write your name on the tag of your garment.
  2. Soak your garment in the Sodium Carbonate wash for at least 10 minutes. This solution is very basic, so use gloves when in contact with the wash. Wring out the garment to dry it as much as you can.
  3. Fold and tie with waxed sinew your garment however you like.  Here are some designs you might like to try. This video shows you some techniques:


  4. Working on a surface covered in newspaper, apply the dye. Be sure to saturate the fabric with dye, but don’t put so much on that the dye pools underneath the fabric. Again, wear gloves when working with dye or it will dye your skin!
  5. Wrap your garment in newspaper and put it in a sealed plastic bag. Write your name and section on the bag, then give it to the instructor.

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