Before Anna left for camp, she wanted to dye some solid shirts for “color wars” and she wanted to do some tie dying. What to dye? A plain laundry bag, from San Rafael, CA’s Dharma Trading Company — a great resource for all things fabric, dye and yarn that also does mail order — was just the thing. The all-natural bag was inexpensive and fun to dye and, as a bonus, we knew it wouldn’t get confused with others in the camp cabin.
After getting our supplies together — buckets of water for each dye color, rubber gloves, rubber bands, trash bags to line our deck, dye packets and sticks to stir the dye — we began by folding the laundry bag accordion-style.
To do that: Make a narrow fold from the bottom of your item up. Turn the item completely over so the fold is now at the top, facing down. Make another narrow fold the other way. Continue until your item is completely folded.
Once we did that, we tied rubber bands in the places where we didn’t want the dye to come through.
We began to create our dyes. We used the pure colors from Jacquard, called iDye. They’re wonderfully bright and extremely easy to use. We’ve dyed solid items in the washing machine, with great results. It was nice to find that it works equally well in buckets for tie-dying. You just drop the dye packet in the water (the hotter the better), add salt, and stir well.
Anna started dipping the various segments of the laundry bag into the different dyes. She tried to hold each there a long time to get the richest possible colors.
We were really pleased with the way the colors were coming out.
This is the finished laundry bag. Anna really liked it. If you find that you want more color and less white space, experiment with the accordion folds on a small piece of fabric. Making the folds narrower and looser will allow more dye to get in.
There are a lot more projects on the Jacquard site, so you can start having fun dyeing. Bandannas are great to dye, as their small surface allows you to experiment. As long as we had our buckets of color, we dyed some shirts and even underwear. We left the fabric in the dye a full day and got great, saturated colors. (Anna reported back from camp that her color war color was yellow, so she was all set.)
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman