Girl In Tie Dye T-shirt Credits: Via Les Yeux Sans Visage -Lincoln Taft

There’s something special about upcycled clothes, especially when you do it yourself. I know the artist in you is always secretly thinking fun and fresh ideas to breathe new life into your clothes. From beading, screen-printing to cut-outs and patchwork, there are many ways to satisfy your crafty cravings and recreate with your t-shirts.Trust us, there’s no looking back once you start tie-dyeing at home. It’s just so simple, fast and satisfying! Gone are the days when tie-dye only sent flashes of the 90s and the Woodstock Festival in your head. It’s the hot new trend we’re drooling over this summer. 

Oh! And by the way! Did you know by upcycling your clothes, you could help save 12 kilograms of CO2 per month? Channelling your inner artist through natural tie-dye is just an added benefit to help put you in Mother Nature’s good books!

Here are our natural tie-dye picks for the season. Learn how to tie-dye your clothes at home.

Step 1 - How To Prepare Natural Tie-Dye

Of course, we don’t use the textile dyes available in the market, simply because the nasty chemicals in them end up in the waterways and defeat the whole purpose of upcycling. There are many fruits, nuts, and flowers you can use right out of your backyard to create beautiful plant-based dyes at home and let this experience be rewarding in all aspects. Here are a few of my absolute favorites with the colors you can expect from them:

  • Avocados: baby pink hue
  • Beets: deep red
  • Red Cabbage: blue & purple (adding alkaline baking soda turns the dye a blue color)
  • Coffee: brown
  • Tumeric: bright spring yellow
  • Chamomile Leaves: Green
  • Black Beans- Black
  • Carrots & onions: Orange
  1. Chop up raw ingredients. 
  2. Using a 1:1 ratio of boiling water to the fruit or vegetable and place the mixture in a blending jar. If you are using spices, like turmeric add 2 TSP of the spice to 2 cups of hot water. 
  3. Blend the mixture to get a slurry consistency and strain the mixture using a cheesecloth lined strainer. 
  4. Mix a tablespoon of salt to the dye and store in squeeze bottles
Making natural dye for tie and dye
Credits: Photos by Sara Albers. 

Step 2 - How  To Prepare The T-shirt & Fixative 

The clothes that we use don’t necessarily have the capability to hold the natural dyes. We need to prepare the fabric by the process of mordanting. Don’t worry, unlike how it sounds, it’s nothing complicated and is just meant to enhance absorbency.

  1.  To begin with the process, you need to wash your fabric properly and let it dry completely.
  2. If you're using berries or fruits to dye your fabric, your mordant would be 1/2 cup salt mixed with 8 cups of water.  If you're using plants to dye your fabric, you’d need to use one-part vinegar with four parts water.
  3. In both cases, put your fabric in the mixture and boil for one hour.
  4. When the process is done, rinse it out under cold water.

We’re getting closer!

Step 3 - How To Tie- dye Your T-shirt

  1. First things first, put on those gloves! 
  2. Then take a bunch of thin rubber bands, squeeze a pinch of the fabric and tie it around. You can use cotton thread as well, just make sure it’s tied tightly. I like random patterns, but you can do it strategically as you like. 
  3. After making the patterns, squirt dyes directly onto the fabric from the squeeze bottle. You can use one colour or go completely nuts with it!
  4. When you’re done playing with the dyes, place the fabric in a plastic bag and seal it. Place it on a plate and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let the bag cool overnight.
  5. Ready for some magic? Trust me, the night of anticipation is going to be difficult, but an amazing morning will follow! Undo the plastic bag, place the fabric in cold water and then remove the rubber bands. Flat dry your brand new upcycled garment and voila! Now comes the most important step in the process. Pair your garment with your favourite pair of shoes and a minimal pendant (just some bias there) and get ready for the storm of compliments coming your way.

We know you’d love the new addition to your closet and trust us it’s addictive. However, for this newly dyed garment, you need to be a little extra careful with the aftercare. It needs to be laundered in cold water and separately. 

We, at The Good Tee, strongly believe in slow and responsible fashion. Are you super proud of your masterpieces? Ever thought of having your own brand? The good tee has back neck labels that can rip out so you can replace it with your own amazing name. We would love to have you on board with us! Fill out our wholesale app here.

Got other cool natural tie-dye ideas? Share them with us.

Contributing Author: Bhavya Jha

Author at The Good Tee Bhavya Jha





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