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3 Tips for Brighter Tie Dyes

3 Tips for Brighter Tie Dyes

Tie dying is such a fun craft to do at home! You can dye clothing, home goods, pet wear and so much more! The possibilities are endless. I have been tie dying professionally for over a year now, so I figured it was time to share some of my favorite tools! Here are a few things that have helped me create the brightest tie dyes!

1.   Natural Fiber Fabric

Make sure the item you are dying is made of a natural fiber material. I love going to places like Forever21 and finding fun outfits to dye. I have definitely made the mistake of not looking at the type of fabric first and washing out a dye back to stark white. Natural fibers are essential for tie dye!

​Natural fibers include anything that comes from a plant. Some common examples are cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, ramie + wool. These fabrics have natural fiber molecules that the dyes can bind to. 

You can check what percentages of fabric are in your item on the tag. It should be near the top! Something with 100% natural fiber will give you the richest dye. If it has less than 20% of a non-natural fiber you should be good to use it. Any more than that and you may end up with a more pastel color that may bleed or fade over time.  

2. Use Soda Ash

Soda ash is essential to the chemistry behind tie dying. Soda ash is non-toxic and eco-friendly. It is commonly used as a water softener and is the base ingredient for baking soda! Because of this it is safe and easy to use, just make sure to wear a mask as inhaling any particles (even non-toxic ones) is not recommended.  ​

Soda ash works as a mild alkali that opens the cellslose fibers in the natural fabric. This is why natural fabric is so important! The dye molecules are then able to go in and bind to the fiber molecules. The cellulose fibers close and the dye molecules are trapped inside. This is what will keep your tie dye looking fresh for years to come!

To Use:
To dye one item about the size of the shirt-
1. Add 1/4 Tbs Soda Ash to 2 Cups Warm Water to a bowl or cup
2. Stir until dissolved (water will turn cloudy)
3. Fold item and allow it to soak 5-10 minuets
**SUPER IMPORTANT: If you let the item sit longer than 10 min it may absorb too much Soda Ash and deter the dye.
4. Wring out item + you’re ready to dye!

To Dye Multiple Items-
If you are having a Tie Dye party and dying more than 2 shirts I recommend using a 5 gal bucket. 
1. Add 1/2 Cup Soda Ash per Gallon Warm Water
2. Stir until dissolved (water will turn cloudy)
3. Fold item and allow it to soak 5-10 minuets
**SUPER IMPORTANT: If you let the item sit longer than 10 min it may absorb too much Soda Ash and deter the dye.
4. Wring out items + you’re ready to dye!

BUY IT HERE from my fav company Dharma Trading Co., or HERE for Amazon!

Tulip One Step Tie Dye Kit’s come pre-loaded with Soda Ash in the dye, so this is also a great product to use! Buy it on Amazon HERE

3.  Fiber Reactive Dyes

Fiber reactive dyes are essential to tie dying. Getting good dyes is also key. I have tried several brands of dyes and the best, by far, are from Dharma Trading Co. and Tulip. These dyes will create the bright + everlasting colors! 

Fiber reactive dyes won’t fade after several washings in hot water. They are also safe for infants as well those with sensitive skin because they don’t come off. These dyes come in powder form and mix easily in water. They are also eco-friendly and non-toxic making them a safe and easy choice. Dharma Trading Co. has a huge range of brilliant colors​ all imported from India. 

I love working with these dyes for so many reasons. They are easy as well as economical to use. You can create a wide gradient depending on water ratio. I always recommend the ones from Dharma Trading Co. or the Tulip Tie Dye Kits depending on the size of project you are planning. For personal fun one or two time projects I use the Tulip dyes as they come with bottles etc. If you are investing in tie dye for the long haul, go with Dharma! 

If you tried these tips I would love to hear how they worked for you! Share a pic on Insta and tag me @desert.dyes!

xoxo,
​Lo