So, you've decided you finally want to jump on the at-home tie-dying trend of quarantine. Better late than never, we say, and this is one childhood craft that will never get old. Unfortunately, many dyes you can buy at the store (or order online because, you know, quarantine) are filled with chemicals and yucky stuff you don't particularly want to put on your body.
That's where we come in! There are easy ways to dye fabric at home the natural way, with things you probably already have lying around. So get those white T-shirts -- or socks, or sweatpants -- ready and let's get crafty.
First, do a little prep work.
This isn't too difficult, but you will want to make sure you have large bowls on hand as well as rubber bands and (obviously) whatever you want to tie-dye. Clothing made out of 100 percent cotton tends to work best. While you're at it, make sure whatever you're currently wearing is something you won't mind getting a little "dye" on. Because no one ever said craft time isn't messy.
Thankfully, since you'll be working with all edible materials, it's totally fine to use the same bowls you cook with.
Then, choose your colors.
If you've ever accidentally stained a piece of clothing, you know it isn't hard to "dye" something if you want to -- and sometimes when you don't want to. The list below is what tends to work best for permanently dying clothes, but almost anything will work if you put your mind to it!
Yellow: turmeric, mint, thyme or celery leaves
Pink: strawberries, cherries, cranberries or tomatoes
Blues or purples: blueberries, blackberries, black currants, mulberries or plum skins
Brown to orange: tea, coffee grounds, carrots or yellow onion skins
Time to get started!
Using turmeric is one of the most foolproof ways to tie-dye something at home, so we'll use that as the first example. If you don't have turmeric but want yellow, curry powder or even yellow mustard can also work.
In this instance, use 1 Tbsp of turmeric powder for every 4 cups of water. Stir it in boiling water for about 5 minutes until all of the powder dissolves (or put it in the microwave!). Then, once you've put your rubber bands around your shirt as you want, lower the fabric into the bowl.
Now, here is the biggest difference between tie-dying with food versus with actual dye: You're going to want to let your shirt sit in the dye for about an hour. After that time, take it out and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Throw it in the dyer and there you have it!
Other helpful measurements:
If you're using berries to tie-dye, 1 cup of berries for every 3 cups of water is a good ratio. Here, you will boil the water the same as above, but strain the pieces of berry out of the water before you put your clothes in. Then, leave your item of clothing sitting in the dye for anywhere from 4 to 24 hours.
Using veggies or herbs? These work best with a ratio of 1 cup chopped veggies for every 2 cups of water. Color is a bit harder to coax out of these foods than others, so you will let this water simmer for an hour before letting it cool and straining out your food particles. Then, return the dyed water back to a boil, simmer for another hour and finally add your fabric. This one will want to sit for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours.
Finally, when using coffee or tea, use a 1/2 cup of coffee or 1 tea bag for every 1 cup of water. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes before adding your fabric, and then let sit for 12 to 24 hours.