Dye Types for Tie Dying

Since the popular hippie styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s, tie dying has become an American tradition. Home crafters, students and professional clothing designers have all produced a wide range of tie-dye fashions for men, women and kids. Even household decor like pillows, blankets and curtains can get a vibrant splash of color with a tie-dye design.

While tie dying is easy enough for young children and beginning crafters, projects will come out better with the right supplies. That means starting with the right fabrics and choosing the best dye types for tie dying.

There are several dye types for tie dying, but some are better for home use than others. Two of the most popular dye types for tie dying are fiber-reactive dyes and all-purpose dyes. Other dyes, such as naphthol dyes, contain toxic chemicals and are not safe for home use.

Fiber-Reactive Dyes

Experienced home crafters know that fiber-reactive dyes are the best choice for tie-dying projects. Many well-known fiber-reactive dyes may be listed as being a Procion MX formula. These cold-water dyes come in powder form and are added to water before dying.

Fiber-reactive dyes work well on any cellulose fabric, including cotton, hemp, flax, rayon and even silk. The colors from fiber reactive dyes will not stick to synthetic materials like polyester or nylon.

All-Purpose Dyes

All-purpose dyes, like Rit, can be used for many projects including tie dying. Unlike cold-water fiber-reactive dyes, all-purpose dyes are used in very hot (at least 140 degree) water. Many crafters find that all-purpose dyes are not as vibrant as fiber-reactive dyes, and fabrics should be dyed darker than desired to leave room for fading.

Choosing the right fabric will help you get the best results. All-purpose dyes work well on washable fabrics like cotton, linen, wool, silk, ramie, rayon, nylon and acetate. They will not work on polyester or acrylic fabrics.

When choosing dye types for tie dying, make sure the dye is non-toxic and safe for home use. Follow the directions carefully and you will have beautifully colorful projects in no time.

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Tie dye is a great way to make old things new again and once you learn the basic tie dye techniques and instructions, you can start updating unloved t-shirts, jersey knits, even bed linens. For best results, always use 100% natural fibers and perfect your technique or experiment with new ones on fabric remnants that you can afford to ruin.

Tie dye is a great way to put your own personal touch on things like shoes, bedding, shirts and other fabric items. Tie dye designs allow you to make your own unique crafts.

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