Bleed and Dye

I had this great idea for 4th of July tie-dye shirts for TKQ this year. They would be cheap, satisfy my crafty side and look festive and amazing. We were going to kill the 4th of July fashion scene with our stylish t-shirts. Now, I just had to get down to business.

I bought all my gear, spent a day scouring the internet for ideas and settled on a traditional swirl for T&Q and an ombre for myself (as seen here). I shopped for my dyes, gathered my plastic bags, hunted down rubber bands and gloved up. I swirled my shirts, mixed my RIT dye, sponged my water, wrapped my creations….I was a tie-dying machine! And let me tell you, these shirts were going to look EXACTLY like the internet inspirations that served as my inspiration.

Then something went awry. I rinsed my shirts in the prescribed cold water until the water ran clear. I had an inkling that something terrible had happened to my precious shirts when it seemed like damn near every drop of color left these shirts. The white areas seemed to be discoloring slightly, but that would come out in the washing machine, right? I tossed them in the washer and ran the load as directed. Shirts then went into the dryer as I anxiously awaited to see how my t-shirts babies were going to turn out. I ran down to the dryer when I heard the buzzer, so excited to see the final results. Turns out, our beautiful, patriotic masterpieces were a nice shade of Americana purple.

4th of july tie dye swirl red blue

The actual tie-dye process looked pretty good, but the colors bled terribly and all the white areas of my shirts were now a horrid purple-y, red-blue color. My picture-perfect family of tie-dye shirts was a mess. A complete and utter failure.

Back to the store, another set of supplies, and an actual set of tie-dye dyes this time (this one), and I was in for round 2. Luckily, this was a much more successful venture, what with the proper dyes this go round. These shirts are more along the lines of my internet-inspired vision.

4th of July America tie dye red white blue

As you can see, I’ve converted my shirt into a braided, racer-back tank top (as inspired by this tutorial). Watch for a photo of TKQ this 4th of July to see them in action!

*As a side note, I learned that RIT dyes are more of a one-color, all piece type of dye and you really should use tie-dye specific dyes when doing this type of project.


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