tie-dye

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Shibori summer kimono. Taisho to very early Showa (1912-1930), Japan.  The Kimono Gallery. A sheer ro hitoe kimono with all motifs constructed utilizing the shibori (tie-dye) technique. Our assessment is that the variations in color in the shibori - for example some yellowish areas - are intentional and are attributes to the total aesthetic. The shibori work on this kimono is exceptionally intricate, and must have been accomplished by a gifted craftsman.

Make Your Own Rainbow Pride Shirt in 10 Easy Steps

It’s pride season! That means parades, picnics, community, celebration, and DIY crafts for all your pride gear needs (that’s what we all do… right?). Making a tie-dye rainbow flag shirt can be a fun Saturday craft to get you ready for your June festivities.

Materials Needed

  • Rit Liquid Dye. You’ll only need the three primary colors (rather than the entire rainbow), and you can get these for about four dollars a bottle at any craft store (and some grocery stores).

  • We used Cherry Red, Lemon Yellow, and Royal Blue. The cherry red turns out a bit magenta, but it works well for creating a fun, bright shirt. The yellow is really bright and perfect for this, but the blue is a bit dark. Feel free to experiment with other shades of the primaries!
  • A bucket for each color, a metal or plastic rod to stir with, a sheet to cover the floor, nylon thread, a rag to wipe your hands (or gloves), and scissors

  • Your shirt!

    Of course, we used a plain white shirt for this, but anything that is longer than it is wide will work. Rainbow tank tops, rainbow shorts, rainbow sheets… the possibilities are endless!

Dying Your Shirt

Preparing your shirt

  1. Lay your shirt flat on the ground (as shown above).
  2. Fold the sleeves of your shirt in so that your shirt is a straight rectangle.
  3. Loosely roll your shirt so that it is long and skinny.

    It is important that you fold your shirt loosely; if you fold it tightly, the dye will not reach the center of the shirt.
  4. Use long pieces of nylon thread to section off the shirt into area for the three primary colors.

    The top section will be for red, the middle section for yellow, and the last section for blue. Because we will get the secondary colors by mixing the other dyes, it is important that yellow gets the biggest section; it should be enough for three bands of colors (orange, yellow, and green). The section for blue should be large enough for two bands of colors (blue and purple).
  5. Tightly tie the nylon thread where you had sectioned the colors off and cut the excess thread off.

    (Blurry photo, and my toes! Sorry about that)

    The tighter you tie the thread, the less likely it is that the colors will mix unevenly or mix where you don’t want the to mix. Ideally, the places where there is not nylon will be very loose and flow-y, but it will be cinched tight where you have tied it. As you can see in the second photo, I looped my thread around multiple times and double knotted it to ensure that it was securely tied.

Dying your Shirt

  1. Prepare the dye as instructed on the bottle. Make sure that the yellow and red are very concentrated.
  2. Carefully dip the middle section into the yellow dye.

    As shown in the picture, dip right up to the thread, but no higher. This ensures the cleanest cut line possible for tie-dye. Also, make sure that you dip the shirt multiple time so that you have a strong, bold color.
  3. Wring the shirt out and lay it out on the sheet. Cut off the nylon thread that separates the yellow and red sections (the top one)


    Unroll this part of the shirt.


    By unrolling it and rerolling it, you ensure that the color is evenly spread.
  4. Reroll the top part of the shirt and tie it again, but about an inch and a half to two inches into the yellow, depending on how much orange you want in your shirt.

  5. Dip the entire top section into the red dye. Just like before, go just up to the thread, but no further.

    However, one or two dips will give you the orange you need; any more, and you will just have blood orange. ( ;) ) It is still important to make sure that you let the red section soak thoroughly.
    Tip: Be wary of letting your shirt rest on the side of the bucket; the dye of whatever color is in the bucket will splash on the side and potentially get that color in a section you did not want it.

  6. Wring your shirt out and lay it on the sheet. You do not have to cut the top nylon thread (in fact, leaving it on there will prevent unwanted bleeding between yellow and orange).

    Repeat the steps in number four to create your section for green and blue.

  7. Repeat the steps in number five for dipping the shirt into the blue bucket. The end result will look something like this:

    Starting to look like a rainbow! :)
  8. Just like in the picture above, section off the area you want purple in by tying it off from the rest of the blue.

  9. Carefully dip this final section into the red dye until you have the shade of purple you want.
  10. Unroll your completed shirt and let it dry outside!

    You’re ready to enjoy Pride in rainbow style!