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This past weekend, I spent the sunday afternoon wrist deep in dye. I am starting a little project that I’m super excited about and wanted to experiment on a couple of techniques and ways to create colour on fabrics. So I used this tutorial (by the very brilliant honestly wtf) on the Shibori technique and also, this one for some reverse tie dye using bleach.

A couple of tips:
#1. When tying, make sure to make the rubber bands really tight. I think the thicker, more durable rubber bands would have made this a lot easier
#2. If you’re starting with light colored fabric and don’t want too much white space, don’t fold or twist your cloth too much. I had to dye a couple of pieces a second time just to get a nice amount of colour/pattern on because I wound my fabric too tight.
#3. Wear good, solid gloves. My hands were a weird shade of blue-grey after this process, i.e. they looked kind of dead for a good number of days after.
#4. I’m not sure why my reverse tie dye took so long. But I had to immerse my fabric for a good 30 minutes before the bleach starting working. I suspect this might have been because the bleach in our house got watered down… so yeah, make sure you’ve got the full strength stuff.


The steps are pretty simple, tie the fabric – you can use a variety of techniques, some will allow you to produce more intricate details, but if you want simple, just twist or scrunch your fabric up, then tie rubber bands tightly around the bundles.

Prepare your dye according to the packet instructions. If you’re using bleach for dark fabrics, combine bleach with water (about 4 cups of bleach to 1 cup of water). If your bundles are long (especially with the shibori techniques), make sure to use a pail that will allow you to fully submerge it. 

Submerge according to how dark you want your colours to be (remember that the dye will be lighter than it looks after rinsing, washing and drying). I used a navy dye for this batch. Soaking the fabrics in there for a varied amount of time will give you a nice range of colours just from one dye packet.

Once removed, allow the bundles to rest for a while (about 15-20 minutes), then rinse the excess dye off, cut the bands and hang to dry. If you cut the rubber bands and see that you’re not satisfied with the pattern or that there’s too much white space, you can repeat the tying and dying process (just remember no to overdo it, or you’ll end up with a completely colored piece of fabric!)

The end product! They have now all been rinsed, dried and ironed and are sitting in a neat pile on our room floor. I still have a little more fabric and a couple of other dye colours to experiment around with. Will show you when it gets done!

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