Crafts don't have to be complicated. With the holiday season ahead, an easy, enjoyable craft can cover many gifting bases. What could be more fun than experimenting with a simple tie-dye?
A few do-it-yourself sources have taken tie-dye up a notch, away from the explosions of primary colors seen on camp T-shirts into a more elegant realm that's perfect for gift giving.
One such project — tie-dyeing tights — appears in “The Bust DIY Guide to Life” (STC Craft, 2011), edited by Laurie Henzel and Debbie Stoller. And the idea transcends tights. Besides making gifts, it works for “anything that you have that either you didn't like the original color or you think needs sprucing up,” said Callie Watts of Bust magazine, which aims its pop-culture content at young women.
In the book, a pair of white tights is folded accordion-style from toe to top and secured with rubber bands. It's boiled in a pot of black fabric dye, such as Rit, for about 15 minutes, stirred constantly, then removed and rinsed. The bands are removed and the tights laid flat to dry. Another option adds a second color.
A DIYer can get a lot of variety out of this project without much work, Watts said. From socks to shirts, she recommends experimenting with folding or bunching the fabric before it hits the dye bath. Another option: Dip an item partially into the dye bath, allowing the color to bleed upward into the fabric.
“It'll fade dark to light,” Watts said.
Any fabric that can soak up dye color will do, but Watts said knits will “come out as a blurry splotch. You're not going to have the same distinctiveness.”
Don't limit yourself to white fabric and clothing either. Blake Ramsey, holiday craft editor at Martha Stewart Living, said a blue chambray scarf she dyed in blue turned out beautifully.
Besides the indigo dye traditionally used in shibori, Ramsey said to try using a burgundy or oxblood shade, which are trendy colors this fall, she says.
AT A GLANCE
• 3 plastic bins (the size of shoe boxes)
• Liquid dye, such as Rit
• Dye fixative
1. Accordion-fold scarf. Press with the iron, secure with clothespins. (If scarf is wider than bins, fold in half widthwise after folding.)
2. Mix dye in a bin according to manufacturer's instructions. Dip scarf's folded edge in dye (the resulting stripe will be twice as wide as the dip).
3. Dip scarf's folded edge in another bin filled with cold water to rinse.
4. Mix fixative in another bin according to manufacturer's instructions. Dip folded edge in fixative to set.
5. Clip accordion-folded scarf to a clothesline or pants hanger. Place newspaper or a drop cloth underneath scarf to protect surfaces. Let hang to dry, about one day.