FAQs; Frequently asked questions about tie dye apparel, the art, the process, and the history.
- What is tie dye? Tie dye is a process of tying an dyeing fabric into patterns. The fabric is usually cotton though other fabric such as silk can be used. The fabric is folded into a pattern and bound with strings and rubber bands. The dyes are applied to different sections of the wet material, the material is rinsed, and the material dried. T-shirts are frequently used for tie dyeing.
- What kind of dyes are used? While many kinds of dyes can be used, Procion fiber reactive dyes are the best. These dyes permanently bond with the cotton.
- What is soda ash? Soda ash is used to raise the pH level when dyeing. Procion dyes bond better at higher pH levels.
- When did tie dyeing begin? No one knows exactly when tie dyeing began, but we do know this technique has been around for over 6,000 years. We know tie dye was known in the U.S. by 1909, but the technique did not become a U.S. fad until the 1960's.
- What are the types of tie dye designs? There is an endless set of designs. Some of the most popular designs are spirals, crinkles, v patterns, ovals, and peace signs. You can also combine screen printing on top of tie dye garments to create an even greater number of styles.
- How long will a tie dye shirt last? The factors affecting how a long a tie dye shirt will last include the weight of the shirt used, the dyes used, how rough you treat the shirt, and how you wash the shirt. With cold machine washing and reasonable care, a heavy weight tie dye shirt will last years. A light weight shirt that does not hold as much dye, will not last a long.
- Cotton stitching vs nylon stitching? Cotton stitching will absorb the dye while nylon stitching does not. You general see the white nylon stitching round the neckline, the sleeve lines, and shirt bottom lines. You do not see cotton stitching as the stitching absorbed the dye and blends with the shirt. Nylon stitching is generally used in cheaper shirts.