Cadette Troop 728
If you wish to have wash and
light fade resistant dyed items, you need to use a fiber-reactive
dye like Procion MX, NOT Rit dye from the grocery store. It is
also best if your bandanas, shirts or whatever you're dyeing are
100% cotton, because this dye only bonds with natural cellulose
Last year we dyed pillowcases,
but we couldn't afford to purchase 100% cotton pillowcases, so we
bought 100% bleached muslin and stitched up our own. If you use a
blend fabric, only the cotton part dyes, and your results will be
substantially paler than you hoped for.
- Dye Concentrate: Mix a
couple of tablespoons of Procion MX dye powder into a cup
of warm water (not hot). Stir in some urea. (Urea is
optional, but it helps make the dye "wetter"
and it will flow better through the fabric).
- Urea: You can get urea in
the garden supply (it's sold as fertilizer or as ice
melter). Just don't tell them what you're going to use it
for, because some places will balk at selling it for
anything besides what it's labeled for. Be sure to use
only pure urea, not one with other chemicals in it. I
bought mine at the local farmer's coop.
Note: You can purchased the
dyes, soda ash and urea, and receive very good instructions for
immersion dyeing and tie-dyeing from Dharma. They're on the web: http://www.dharmatrading.com/ If you're ordering from them, you might
wish to buy a detergent called Synthrapol. This is specially
formulated for scouring the fabric in the beginning, and for
removing the excess loose dye at the end of your project. It's
worth having. You use it instead of Tide.
- Scour your fabric by
washing it a couple of times in hot water and detergent
in your washing machine. This helps remove the sizing and
other fabric finishes that the manufacturers put on the
fabric, but which repel the dye.
- Make a solution of soda
ash and very warm water. Soda ash is obtained from a
swimming pool supplier. You'll need about a half cup of
soda ash per gallon of water.
- Soak the fabric in the
soda ash water solution. We put them in a five gallon
pail, and pull them out when the girls are ready to dye.
- Wring out the fabric, and
give to the girls for rubber bands, scrunching into balls
(held by wrapping nylon net around them) or for pleating
or other fabric manipulations. Have them write their
names on an edge or corner with a permanent black marker
such as a Sharpie or a Pigma pen.
- Lay the manipulated fabric
onto a plastic covered table, and give the girls
concentrated dye solutions in squirt bottles (such as
ketchup and mustard bottles). Tell them to squirt
carefully on top of the fabric, and to put some squirts
of dye down into the various folds.
- Allow the dyed fabric to
sit for at least 1 1/2 hours in a warm place. It would be
better if it could sit over night, but if you do, cover
with another layer of plastic to keep it moist. Dye needs
moisture, warmth, soda ash and time to fully fix to the
fabric molecules. But, once they're fixed, they're
permanent...no bleeding and not much fading.
- Uncover, loosen the
bindings, and let the girls ooh! and aah! Then rinse
repeatedly in buckets of water or in a big sink, or by
running a hose or hydrant over them. The dye and soda ash
will not harm the grass or sewage or septic systems.
- Tell the girls to wash
their dyed items in very hot water with a strong
detergent (such as powdered Tide) in the washing machine
when they get home. This will remove any residual dye
that did not bond with the fabric. After this, the item
will not bleed. If you're doing a day camp, send them all
home with a leader, and return them to the girls the next
Linda St. George, Girl
Scouts of Genesee Valley, Brockport, New York: We just
tie dyed t-shirts at camp and had a wonderful time! One of my
troop volunteers brought the materials and showed us how to dye
with the least messiest method I have ever seen!
Save old shampoo bottles,
plastic ketchup bottles, salad dressing bottles, anything made of
plastic with a small opening.
Fill the bottles (one for each
color) with water, nearly to the top.
Put a squirt (I estimate about
1-2 tablespoons) of REGULAR CRAFT PAINT in the bottle. Shake
That's it! Now, after you have
wrapped your garment in rubber bands, just squirt the paint onto
the shirts. A little gives you some color with a lot of white. A
lot gives you more color. Each girl's shirt came out unique and
interesting! There wasn't a bad one in the crowd!
For a sunburst, lay the bandana
out flat. Starting in the middle, twist the fabric clockwise.
This should make a flat spiral. When all of the fabric has been
twisted, secure in place with rubber bands. A nice effect is to
put four different colored paints in each of the four
"corners" of the twist.