Introduction to Tie & Dye - 1985


Tie & Dye is a tremendously exciting craft. Bright bold colours can be transformed to produce infinite patterns that stimulate the imagination. The craft also makes one aware of how colours interact and how varying shades can be produced by mixing colours.

Tie & Dye designs are achieved by the resist dyeing process. The fabric is bound, tied and then dyed. Only the exposed parts of the fabric ‘take’ the dye. When Tie and Dye if first attempted the element of surprise is a great part of the fun. Later, as more experience is gained, the results can be more closely controlled.

Cold Dyes give vivid permanent colours which are fast to washing and light. They are ideal for natural fibres and viscose Rayon. Reduced shades are also obtained in polyester/ cotton mixtures. Pure synthetics or fabrics with a special finish cannot be dyed with cold dye. Good results are easily obtained using plain cotton material. If the material to be used is new it may have a finish or dressing on it which should be removed by boiling in soapy water. It is important to follow the instructions for the correct dye/fabric weight ratio. Dylon’s easy to use Cold Water Dyes are ideal for Tie and Dye. 25 brilliant permanent colours which will not fade.

We now give you step by step instructions on how to create a simple, one colour design on a plain T-shirt. You’ll find it such fun that you’ll soon want to create Tie and Dye designs of your very own

For this simple tie dye you will need:

  1. A clean white cotton t-shirt
  2. String or elastic bands
  3. Dylon Cold Dyes
  4. Fix and Salt
  5. Plastic Bucket or Bowl

Take a clean white t-shirt and tie it by picking up a point form the centre and using string to tightly bind it at various points

Mix the dye solution by poring the dye into a measuring jug and dissolving in ½ litre (1 pint) of warm water. Also dissolve 120g (4 heaped tablespoons) of salt together with a sachet of Dylon Cold Dye Fix for each tin of dye used.

Pour the contents of the jug into a bucket or similar vessel. Make sure that there is enough cold water in the vessel to cover the t-shirt and to ensure free movement. Stir the solution to make sure it is properly mixed

Wet the tied T-shirt before putting it into the dye bath. Stir continuously for 10 minutes taking care to keep the T-shirt submerged. Then stir occasionally for the next 50 minutes. When the hour has elapsed remove the shirt rinse wash and dry in the usual way.

The finished result – an individual design that was simple to make and took no time at all.

Other examples of simple tie dye techniques are

Stripes -  Fold the fabric into a narrow strip of accordian pleats and bind at regular intervals.

Marbling – Crumpling up the fabric and binding it into a tight ball. Dye, then  untie crumple and bind again before dyeing with a second colour.  


  1. The dye- bath solution will keep for several hours as long as the salt and the Cold Dye Fix have not been added
  2. All Dylon Cold Dye colours are intermixable

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