How to Make Your Own Tie-Dye Kit

Sara Rodrigues
Photo credit: Alice Morgan/House Beautiful
Photo credit: Alice Morgan/House Beautiful

From House Beautiful

Tie-dye is back for summer. With the rise of outdoor DIYs, we're seeing multi-color dyed everything—from silk sheets to matching sets. If you're the kind of maker that prefers a traditional approach, here's the fool-proof way to make dye and try the trend, naturally.

Materials

  • Old stock pot or saucepan

  • Strainer

  • Bowl

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Alum

First you'll need to source the right natural materials to make the colors you want. Some popular options like onions, which create a yellow shade, aren't in season so you can't go straight from your garden to the stockpot. When shopping for fruits and veggies to reduce into a dye, remember that the dye will boil down. Buy at least enough to fill your saucepan or stock pot to the brim, keeping in mind the amount of fabric you are dyeing.

Popular Colors

  • Pink = Beets, Red onion, Strawberries

  • Peach = Avocado skins, Avocado pits

  • Yellow = Onions, Carrots, Turmeric

  • Blue = Black beans, Blueberries, Elderberries

  • Green = Grass, Spinach, Artichokes

  • Purple = Red cabbage, Basil leaves, Huckleberries

1. Chop Materials

If you're using flowers, fruits, or vegetables, chop and pile them into a bowl. Pour in water and cover for 24 hours.

Add the chopped materials and water into a saucepan, adding extra water and a teaspoon of salt. Boil the mixture down for an hour.

2. Prep the Dye

Pour the reduced dye mix through a sieve or strainer into a bowl, pressing the materials to squeeze out any access.

Add 2 tablespoons of alum per half-gallon of liquid and mix thoroughly. Alum helps to fix the dye to the fabric and allow the pigment to hold.

3. Pick a Dyeing Method

60s style tie-dye isn't the only way to get this year's trend. Indigo-based Japanese shibori or a monochrome dip-dye, can bring color into a minimalist space without sticking out. For maximalist spaces, try coordinating a fun tie-dye pattern with two or three of your space's favorite shades.

Make sure the fabric has been washed and dried without dryer sheets before dyeing. Once your fabric is saturated, wring out as needed and hang outside to dry.

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