Here at Children of the Tribe, it’s no secret that we are big fans of tie-dye. Every collection features at least one of our signature tie-dye prints. Two of our designers, Maria and Pete are known as the tie-dye masters, so they jumped at the chance to host a tie-dye session for kids.
We descended on their farm in the Byron hinterland with a bunch of excited little ones. Two sheep, some chickens and Gurfy the dog were all there, along with Alex Roberts @alexroberts_photo behind the lens to capture the fun.
Being on the farm was like tie-dye utopia and the kids were completely immersed in the process. They loved getting a little messy and when the finished pieces were hanging out to dry along the farm fence, there were beaming smiles all round.
If you want to do something rad with your own tribe this summer holidays, we’ve put together this
STEP-BY-STEP DIY GUIDE
Go on, make some tie dye magic!
First up, decide what to tie-dye...
Natural fibres like cotton work best. For our session, we used a bunch of our own clothing from Children of the Tribe – muscle tees, singlets and jumpsuits but you can tie dye anything from tote bags to socks; anything your little one wants to create.
What else will you need?
- Fabric dye – try your local pharmacy or somewhere like Spotlight
- Hot water – if you want really vibrant colours you may need very hot water. Check the instructions on your dye
- Rubber bands or twine
- Buckets – metal buckets work really well as the dye can stain other materials
- Rubber gloves
Thoroughly wet the fabric you want to dye then wring it out so it's not dripping wet.
If you're going for a random tie dye pattern, simply scrunch up the fabric with your hands into a little ball. Make sure it's tight and then wrap 2-3 rubbers bands (or twine) around the fabric so it keeps it in a tight ball. There are endless tie dyeing techniques you can learn with a bit of practice; YouTube is a good place to start if you want to test your skills.
Next you're going to add hot water* to your container. Only add enough so that your fabric is completely covered; if you use too much water it can dilute your dye. Note: Some dyes require boiling water for permanent fixture, so be sure to read the instructions that come with your dye. (*Mummas please supervise kids whilst around hot water)
Now quickly before the water cools down, put on your gloves and add your dye (just one colour) and salt. Refer to your dye's instructions for required amount of salt. Give it a stir so it's all mixed without any salt on the bottom.
Use a pair of tongs to place your ball of damp fabric into the dye and and leave it for 5-30 minutes, depending on how light or vibrant you want the end result to be. The longer you leave it and the hotter the water is, the more vibrant it will turn out. It helps to stir the dye every five minutes or so.
When you're happy with the colour your fabric has become, leave it in for a few more minutes, because some of the colour will wash out (and it will become slightly lighter when dry).
Take your fabric out and rinse in cold water. Make sure you squeeze most of the dye out, then you can start to take off the rubber bands and unwrap your tie dye creation. Continue rinsing until you can’t see any more colour washing out.
If this is your first time, this is a good time to look at your fabric and learn for future dyeing. If your fabric is mainly undyed with only a few patches of dye, you may need to wrap the rubber bands a bit looser so the dye can penetrate into the fabric more. If your fabric is dyed the whole way through, you may need to do the opposite or choose a different fabric.
If you want a multi-coloured piece repeat steps 1-8 for each colour. Remember back to art class (mixing coloured paints to make new colours), and choose your colours wisely as some colours mix together better than others. Primary colours (red, yellow and blue) are a good place to start. Avoid mixing purple, green and orange together as it can turn a dark brown colour.
Hang your fabric out to dry. Remember to wash your fabric separately for the first few washes.