Saturday, March 19, 2011

reverse tie-dye surprise

So, this is a little weird, because not only do I tend to not actually do stuff, just think about how cool it would be if I were to do it, but I also generally don't even like tie-dye.  But I was so inspired by these two posts, and so motivated by over 3 weeks of sitting around on my sick butt, that I magically sprang into action.  Full saga after the jump.

I started off with a plain black t-shirt from H&M.  As you can see, I already started shredding this one, but shredding is an activity that takes approximately a zillion years, so it ended up in a pile of craft projects that never get finished.

I decided to do try my hand at the arashi technique, but with bleach.  Here's a quote from the WTF tutorial

The cloth is wrapped on a diagonal around a pole or cylindrical object (we used old PVC and copper piping) and then tightly bound by wrapping thread or wire up and down the pole. Next, the cloth is scrunched down on the pole. 

Well, I don't have any poles.  I thought my husband might, because he has so much stuff I don't understand, but he laughed and thought it was ridiculous that I would think such a thing.  (mental note - husband does not have pvc pipes lying around). 

But the poles are just so the dye doesn't get in the middle, right?  So if I just roll it up really tight it should be fine, right?  And then they said use thread, so even though in their picture I can clearly see they're using some sort of synthetic twine, I should just be able to go ahead and use cotton sewing thread, right?  And the scrunching down is just.... unnecessary, right?  Yes, this was my thought process.  And this was the sausage I got in the next step.

 So then, in the other tutorial, they say to dilute 4 cups of bleach 4 cups with 1 cup of water.  I poured an eyeballed amount of each into a bucket.  And then they say leave it in for just a few seconds (seconds!) until you see "a rusty brown color".

It took a good 5 minutes for my rusty brown color to appear.  I will spare you those shots, because my t-shirt sausage gets even sausagier and it's just not pretty.  Then they say:

Give it a quick rinse, unbind it, and then hang it.  The rusty brown color will slowly fade into a beautiful lighter shade as it begins to set.

Maybe I didn't quite read that part.  I did not give it a quick rinse.  I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed, and then unbound it and then rinsed and rinsed over and over again.  The water was still turning bright orange!  I had to keep rinsing!  Right?  Action shots:

Well, if you keep rinsing, you... wait for it...    rinse all the bleach out.  It will not keep fading to white the way it did for the WTF ladies.

Lesson #2: All that careful wrapping with cotton sewing thread?  Totally unnecessary.  Good thing I had fun doing it, or it would have been a complete waste of time.  Only thing I accomplished was making sure the t-shirt was rolled tight.  Which was a very good thing.  But I did not get those beautiful spidery arashi designs.

However, I did get a pretty cool result.  I had rolled it from the neck down, thinking I would get an ombré result, black at the top and white at the bottom.  Well I didn't, but there is more black at the top, and I think that's pretty neat.

Tigery, right?

Hung it out to dry, and this is what I got:

I'm not sure if the color faded more to this burnt apricot, or if it's just because the fabric dried.  So many unknowns...

I kind of love it.  But maybe that's just because I made it.  What do you think?

Now I just can't stop thinking about all the thinks I could take a bleach bottle to!  This could be addictive.


  1. Gorgeous! I've wanted to try this forever, but true to style, I never went beyond buying shibori books. I think it's beautiful, and hope you'll wear it a lot!

    The effect you got is sort of muted, and I think that's because you wrapped w/ cotton thread, which will also absorb whatever the shirt absorbs. If you use polyester thread or anything synthetic, you'd probably get sharper lines. If you wanted sharper lines.

    You're making me wish I'd get off my butt.

  2. This is beautiful - even if unexpectedly so! None of my black t-shirts are safe from now on.

  3. I like this better than the more pronounced "tie-dye"... it looks like silk!

  4. Dang. I love the way it turned out.

  5. I kind of love this effect... Planning a shibori session of my own some time soon!

    1. Thanks! I've been meaning to try it again but life keeps getting in the way of being crafty. You've got to let me know how it goes when you do yours!

  6. Very good information, thank you very much by the article and the quality of your Web site. A greeting from Chile.


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