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Tie Dying disaster...what did I do wrong?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I bought this kit today and the kiddos and I did a couple of shirts red and blue for them to wear on 4th of July. The others we did rainbows.

I followed the directions: let the shirts sit for 6 hours, then washed in hot water with just a bit of detergent.

When I had unwrapped the shirts (before putting them in the washer) they looked great! The red, white and blue ones looked perfect, and all the colors were bright.

I just took everything out of the washer, and the parts of the shirt that were white are now lavendar, and the colors are really faded (or maybe washed out due to the loose dye in the wash?).

What did I do wrong? How do you get a tie dye and keep the white parts white?
post #2 of 12
I am not a tie dye expert. But I always keep them tied up still when I put them in the washer. I think that is what you did wrong. I'm sorry, that sucks! I hope you will try again, tho, because tie dyeing is lots of fun.
post #3 of 12
did you squeeze all the liquid out or let it dry for a while? I remember letting my tie dye dry over night, though i don't remember if it was unwrapped or not when i dried it. I know for a fact that i unwrapped it before putting it in the washer, and i rinsed it before putting it in too.

sorry it didn't work out this time
post #4 of 12
I started my tie dye with a similar kit. Did you do the soda ash to get all the sizing out of the shirts? I always let them sit dyed for a minimum of 24 hours then unwrap and wash. I've always had good results but it is really hard to wait the 24 hours.
post #5 of 12
Looing at the kit ingredents it seems to not contain a mordant. Did you soak the shirts in something like soda ash first?

Whoops 34me got to it first!
post #6 of 12
I agree the dye kit should have soda ash. Also we always do 24 hours reaction time minimum. They need to stay damp during the 24 hours, and not get cooled off too much. (There are some dyes that are supposed to remain above 70 degrees to work their best and react fully.) We then always untied and rinse thoroughly in the bathtub before washing. VERY thoroughly, while wringing out the material repeatedly.

If it wasn't completely finished reacting, that probably made the dye more of an issue in the washer allowing what was in the fabric to be released before finished and allowing it to get on the white areas and continue to react with the fabric. There is a special detergent that can be used to reduce this, but it seems that others have been successful with that kit so it's probably not that.

The only other possibility is that the fabric wasn't stripped clean enough before you dyed it. If it had softeners or other residues that could hinder dying as well. Brand new shirts often have sizing or other things in the fabric that should be stripped out. A hot, detergent-free wash at least, the same detergent I mentioned above is often used to prep fabric but shouldn't be a big necessity.

you might want to check out Dharma Trading Co. online. Not so much for alternative supplies but because they have good, detailed instructions too.
post #7 of 12
I always used synthrapol or a textile detergent that is formulated to keep the dye in suspension in the wash water rather than causing it to bleed into the white parts of the shirt....dharma has these.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
There was NO soda ash in the kit, so I didn't do that. Can I buy that at Michael's or AC Moore?

The directions also did not tell me to rinse everything before I put it in the washer, so I didn't do that, either. However, I was looking at the projects on their website, and they ALL say to rinse before then putting into the washer.

I have synthrapol from when I used to make playsilks. I am mad at myself for forgetting I have it.

Thanks for all the tips! We will definitely be trying this again (mostly because I'm stubborn and now I'm determined to figure this out, LOL.)
post #9 of 12
Then that's precisely what went wrong. Bummer Even if you hadn't pre-washed the shirts to get out sizing, you still would have gotten a better result.

Pool supply stores and places like home depot carry soda ash, called Ph-UP. Though it may be more than you want. A fine art supply store, not joans etc, will probably carry smaller packets of soda ash.

24 hours is a good amount of time to let the dye react in the minimum temp range, roughly 76'. However, every 18'F increase in temp. cuts the reaction time by a third.

As far as washing out your dyed garments, I toss them all together in the wash without any pre-rinsing. I wash it in hot water with my detergent. Usually synthaprol but I have used regular liquid detergent before without issues. I run the washer through the first wash cycle, let it dump and then reset it back to the wash cycle before the rinse cycle starts.

Don't get discouraged. Ooo..if you do have a fine art supply store nearby, they probably also carry quality fiber reactive dye. Probably Jacquards. Pearl Arts also carries them. They have everything!
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a front load washer...does this make any difference in washing out the dye? My husband wondered if there wasn't enough water in there to dilute the dye and wash it away.
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by emelsea View Post
I have a front load washer...does this make any difference in washing out the dye? My husband wondered if there wasn't enough water in there to dilute the dye and wash it away.
Hmmm...did some poking around and found that the tie-dyers I know who have front loaders do do a pre-rinse by hand before tossing them in the washer. One point that was made was that front loaders get out dirt with less water, so they should be able to get out the dye, too.

Maybe, rinse under HOT water in the tub while still bound. Then drop it a tub of hot soapy water and agitate it around. Let it sit for a bit. Dump the water, refill with more hot water. Unbind the item and agitate it a bit more.

I guess this would be akin to doing the first wash cycle in the machine. The hot water will cause any unreacted dye to react thus reducing any chances of backstaining.
post #12 of 12
I can't tell what kind of dye that kit is.

I would wash the shirts first to remove any sizing. Then after dying if it doesn't instruct you to use a soda ash fixative I would follow the protocol for pigment dying and air dry it completely then heat set it (either iron it, or run it in a hot dryer), then rinse, then wash. Some of the color may come out, but a good bit should remain.
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