Everyone who tie-dyes has to do a spiral, sooner or later.
It's the modern cliché of tie-dyeing. You can make it your own by
applying the spiral to a garment you've already folded in two,
varying just where you place the center of the spiral, pleating the
center of the spiral horizontally or vertically a few times before
you begin the twist, or just
by making a very careful choice of colors.
How to Tie It
It's simple enough to do. You just pinch the cloth where you want
of your spiral to be (try a spring-type clothes pin), then twist, then continue to twist; when the
cloth 'mountains' get more than an inch or two taller than the
'valleys', use your other (third?) hand to split each tall pleat
into two. Once you have the entire garment compacted into a flat
disk, no more than two inches thick, you put rubber bands or ties
around the disk, in several directions, to maintain its shape.
The Challenge - Use Enough Dye!
The hard part, for a beginner, is getting enough dye into the tied garment. It's
common for an individual's first shirt to be mostly white with
just a few colored streaks, although before the shirt was untied,
it appeared to be solidly impregnated with dye. You really have
to squirt that dye right in between the folds of the cloth. If
it's not dripping out at the bottom, you're not using enough dye
(unless the mostly white look is your goal).
Applying the Dye
With the fabric twisted into a spiral, you make nice, even quadrants
of each color, like cutting a pie into six or eight pieces and coloring
each pice a different color. These turn into the twisted spiral when
the fabric is untwisted! The prettiest results come when adjacent
colors are in rainbow order - definitely study the color suggestions
near the bottom of How to
Tie Dye. The most eye-popping results are obtained by using thickener in your dye, so that you don't get muddy mixtures, and applying opposite colors (on two sides of the tied fabric disk, in the same section of the shirt. A stained-glass effect is obtained by applying black dye to one side and brightly colored dye to the other.
You probably won't really need pictures to do the above, because
it is all trial and error, anyway. You can't know what works
best for you until you try it. However, if you want to
see pictures of how to do the ties, check out PROchem's illustrations
of tie dye folds,
and Rit's old Virtual
spiral (though you'll find the dyeing process much
easier if you use fiber reactive dyes such as Procion MX,
instead of Rit, which requires that you hold the disk of
fabric partially submerged in nearly-boiling water for a long
time). Finally, the best on-line step-by-step illustrations of how to tie-dye a spiral may be found in the Tie-Dye Wiki's tutorial on how to tie-dye a spiral.