My husband was recycling some old dingy white undershirts into rags for the garage and I snagged one with the intent of turning the bottom half of it into a fringed infinity scarf. When I saw the faded white color of the fabric, my first thought was to dye it – then I had the fun idea to tie dye it! I haven’t tie dyed something since I was in the art fraternity in college and I always love a fun, creative project.
The Acrylic Technique
I really didn’t want to buy a dying kit so I came across a new technique on Ricochet & Away using acrylic paints. Having an abundance of paint colors in my collection, I thought I’d give this a try because it wasn’t costing me a penny if I happen to mess it up. One great thing about acrylic paint is it’s very inexpensive and the color options are abundant.
For this technique to work properly, acrylic paint only must be used. It is based on the fact that acrylic paint is water soluble and can be diluted into a dye-like substance when mixed with water. Once it is dry, however, it becomes non-soluble and almost plastic-like so it won’t streak or run when it becomes wet again. This allows the dyed fabric to be ran through a washing machine once it is completely dry without any fear of ruining your other clothes or having the dye coming off the fabric. Kind of neat, huh? The dyeing possibility are endless!
The Dyeing Process
My supplies: acrylic paint colors of my choice, plastic cups, rubber bands, water and an old white t-shirt. I laid a plastic garbage bag down under the project to avoid painting my counter tops and made sure to have a roll of paper towels handy for any spills.
I decided on using the spiral technique for the actually dyeing process. There was a helpful website I found that shows and describes the different folding technique for tie dying. For the spiral fold, you basically start in the middle of your fabric and start twisting it into a spiral form, making sure the fabric stays flat and even like a pancake.
Once my fabric was ready, I prepared the dye. I poured a bit of acrylic paint into a plastic cup, filled maybe 1/3 full with water and mixed with a plastic spoon. That was it for the dye! Easy enough. From what I read, there is no perfect water-paint ratio and I wanted my tie dyeing to be more vibrant than faded, so I may have erred on the side of too much paint.
Then came the actually dyeing. I held the fabric bundle over a plastic bowl and literally drizzled the water paint over the fabric slowly, creating the overall look I wanted. It was recommended to also use a spray bottle and spray your fabric, but not having any handy (or wanting to go out and buy supplies), I found that drizzling the water slowly provided a nice effect. My personal preference was to cover all the fabric with dye because of the original color of the shirt was dull, so I made sure no white space remained when I was done.
I let the wet fabric sit for a couple of hours in the evening, but because I was anxious to wear the infinity scarf the next morning, I blow dried the shirt for 15 minutes. I noticed as the shirt was drying, the colors were starting to become more vibrant and I got really excited!
Viola! A new tie dyed infinity scarf with fringe from acrylic paints. And it literally did not cost me a penny!