Monday, February 21, 2011

Food Coloring Monochromatic Tie-Dye for T-Shirts

You can make tie dye t-shirts with food coloring for the dye, but the natural food colors might fade faster than the colors from manufactured dyes. Synthetic fibers and cotton will not usually take food coloring as a dye, but nylon is the exception. 

Tie Dye for T-Shirts
Tie Dye for T-Shirts image courtesy of Pixabay

Using Food Coloring to Dye Clothes

This is not a project for young children, because it takes a fair amount of heat to set the food-coloring in the fabric. Also, this will work best if you stick to a single color, rather than blending colors.

The Items Needed to Use Food Coloring for Tie-Dyeing a T-shirt

* 1 Nylon T-shirt
* 1 stock-pot
* 1 teaspoon food coloring
* Nylon craft string or an old satin ribbon
* Water
* Wooden spoon
* Scissors (optional)

The Steps to Follow to Food-Color Tie-Dye a T-Shirt

1.  Fill the stock-pot halfway full with water
2.  Place the stock-pot on the stove burner on low heat.
3.  Fold the t-shirt in the center, through both layers of fabric, and tie the string around the folded part.
4.  Twist and wrap the t-shirt fabric back around the first piece of string.
5.  Tie the twisted fabric securely around the first folded area.
6.  Fold or twist any other parts of the shirt as desired. Have fun with it, every one comes out different anyway.
7.  Add the food coloring to the steaming hot water.
8.  Place the shirt gently in the hot water, being careful not to burn yourself.
9.  Steam the shirt in the pot for about five minutes, holding it under with a wooden spoon, if it starts to float, to soak up the color.
10. Add 1 cup washing soda or borax and let simmer another three to five minutes.
11. Drain the colored water off of the shirt, and let it cool completely before you untie or cut the string.
12. Air dry the t-shirt, and then steam iron to remove wrinkles and to help set the color.
Wash the tie-dyed t-shirt alone in cold water using gentle detergent the first time after you finish the design. The food colors can somtimes bleed onto other items in the laundry.

By Laure Justice

Updated August 12, 2018

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