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How to Tie-Dye anything in 10 steps

We are in the 60s, between the desire for freedom and psychedelic drugs, the Hippie culture spreads a particular method of dyeing the garments, colorful, spontaneous, which described the mood and philosophy of that youth movement born in the United States and then spread in Worldwide. This is the Tie-Dye, literally “knot painting”, which allows you to create colorful garments by exploiting the spontaneity of the pigments on the canvas. From a culture of rebellion and freedom, the Tie-Dye quickly turned into a possibility for the big brands, which since last summer have used it for their collections. The Tie-Dye, after being reproposed first by Kanye West, has not only adapted to brand streets such as Wacko Maria, Gosha, Stüssy, BAPE, or for the collaboration between Adidas and Pharrell Williams. Burberry, Comme des Garçcons, Stella Mc Cartney, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Prada also applied the style diffused during the “Summer of Love” to jackets and dresses. The novelty is not only that of having shifted the influence from a youthful and street culture to a more codified one like that of the big brands, but also new experimentation on different fabrics, such as for example leather or denim.

The Tie-Dye as mentioned is an evolution of the reserve dyeing technique, perhaps already known at the time of the ancient Egyptians but developed more consistently in China, Japan and India starting from 600 AD. The effect is achieved by tightly binding a skein, immersed in color, so that the pigment reaches the fabric, leaving some areas of the original color of the fabric, with a controlled but spontaneous effect. In some cases the fabric is covered with resins or wax, which isolates preventing the color from acting. The Ikat, Chinè, Plangi or Shibori methods create very refined and more controlled effects than the Tie-Dye diffused since the 60s and taken up, before today, also by the English punk culture of the 80s. Compared to the most sophisticated techniques, the Tie-Dye uses primary and bright colors, creating large designs with a strong visual impact.

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Homemade tie-dye

The technique was born as popular, the first colors and corrosive agents were for domestic use, such as bleach, which creates effects very similar to those of dyes. Precisely for this reason we want to explain how to make your Tie-Dye shirt in simple steps.
There are numerous dyeing techniques, you can make real designs, or produce a “choked” effect, in which you can use multiple colors creating a truly fascinating symmetrical effect. The simplest effect, the most used and above all the most impact, however, is the rainbow spiral.

1- Take a shirt, possibly white. With another garment the operation is possible but more complicated.

2- Prepare the colors suitable for the fabrics. They are easy to find in craft shops, both in liquid and powder form.

3- Lay the shirt on a work surface. Choose the point from which you want to start the spiral and start rolling all around that point.

4- Tie the skein with ropes or elastic bands to obtain a tight and compact shape.

5- Divide the surface into segments, they will be the number of colors of your spiral. The classic one has 6.

6- Proceed with the dyeing, on both sides.

7- Leave to dry for a maximum of 2 days.

8- Remove the elastic bands and unroll the shirt.

9- Rinse by checking that the dye is not lost and put the shirt in the washing machine for one last wash.

10- The shirt finally ready to be worn.

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