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You are here: Home > All About Hand Dyeing > Gallery > Example 4

Tie dyeing: rainbow elongated swirl t-shirt

dyed June 1998

Will in elongated-spiral rainbow shirt will, wearing a rainbow tiedyed shirt, in a
canoe with his grandpa This is a size 10-12 Hane's Beefy Tee, dyed, as was usual for me at that time, with Procion MX fiber reactive dyes. As always, click on the small image to see the full-sized snap shot.

How I did it

Will and
maggie the dog

This is a pretty standard design. I took the shirt and laid it flat on a smooth surface, smoothing out all wrinkles in the fabric and making sure that the front and back aligned as perfectly as possible. Then I made several pleats, accordian folds, horizontally across the middle of the shirt. This is what makes the spiral elongated. Then I took a clothes pin and clipped it to the very center of the folded section. I turned the clothespin, slowly and carefully, and as I turned, the fabric began to bunch up. I carefully added new folds whenever the fabric stuck up higher than the inch or so of the original folds. As the twisted part of the fabric extended farther toward the edges, I added more and more folds, finally twisting the sleeves gently around the rest of the shirt. What I had now was a flat disk, about one inch in thickness and perhaps six to eight inches in diameter. I applied three or four rubber bands around the disk, dividing it into six or eight triangles.

Next, while the shorts and other garments pre-soaked in sodium carbonate solution, I mixed the dyes: one bottle (4 to 16 ounces each) of scarlet (I bought it pre-mixed this time, instead of mixing it myself from fuchsia plus a tiny bit of lemon yellow), fuchsia, purple, blue, turquoise, green, and yellow. I more or less applied one color per quadrant, as divided by the rubber bands. I took particular pains not to leave too much fabric undyed: I stuck the tip of the squirt bottle's nozzle way down into the folds, and I squeezed the fabric disk after applying the colors. I did not try to extend each color all the way to the center of the disk, because doing so results in a muddy color near the center of the swirl.

The next day, or perhaps six hours later that evening, I washed the dye out as usual, first in cold water with Synthrapol detergent added, then again in warm, then hot water.

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Page created August 23, 1998.
Last updated: July 18, 2006 downloaded at: Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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