FAQ's

I apologize, but I am no longer doing custom orders. There are many Tie-Dye artists on IG and FB who do wonderful work and love custom orders.

Peace ~ MrTieDye

I use Fiber Reactive Procion Mx Dyes. I buy most of mine from Dharma Trading Company, these are Professional Dyes and are long lasting. They work on natural fibers such as Cotton, Rayon, Bamboo, Hemp, Linen, and Silk.

Here is a video on how to mix the dyes: https://youtu.be/3Fj289T6BVg

These are the base amounts to start with, personally, I use 5-6 tsp for 16 oz of dye.

Soda ash is what activates the Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes, another name for it is Sodium Carbonate. You can find it at one of the dye houses, or you can purchase locally from a pool supply store, or in the laundry isle under the name Washing Soda, just be sure to check the label says 100% Soda Ash.

Here is how I mix or make soda ash: https://youtu.be/vD1MSB0sAY8

I use the spin cycle of my washing machine to 'spin' out the excess soda ash so my tees are barely damp when I fold and dye them.  One thing to make sure of is that no water sprays during this cycle, if it does, then try setting it to halfway through the cycle. 

If you do not have a washer for spinning, they do make spinners and sell them on Amazon, here is one that another dyer uses … https://www.amazon.com/Panda-Portable-Dryer-22lbs-Stainless/dp/B01IRMBG7I/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&fbclid=IwAR3zBeJRsiwERv2LdajcI8RSvJVeVClz-RuNkCF4mmi1CQy19yrl2z-1AWY&psc=1&ref_=ya_aw_od_pi

When using Tulip Dyes... here are some tips that will improve your colors .... True the One Step Kits contain their own soda ash, but soaking your tees, or adding some soda ash at the end will help the colors as the amount of soda ash may be a little low in them .....

ALSO, the soda ash is mixed in with the powdered dyes, so the dyes become active as soon as you add water to the bottles.....

SO, it is best if you tie all of your tees first and have them ready for dye.... Then mix your dyes and use right awayAfter dyeing the tees, they need to stay wet while they batch, so it is good to either cover them with plastic, bag them, or place in a tub with a lid (this is what I do) ....

Also, I would batch for longer than the kit recommends .... 24 hours is a good time, but I leave mine for 48 hours ... this give the dye particles more time to bond with the cotton fibers... all un bonded dyes gets washed away ....

AND, heat helps with the process as well.... 70F is a good temp, but I like to add more heat to mine to help the color set up faster... I stack the tubs near a heat vent in the winter and set out in the sun in the summer...

If you want to make your colors a little brighter/darker... more intense, add less water to the bottles when you mix them.

When it comes time to wash them, I start by rinsing in the sink with the tees still tied, this will wash away some of the dye, AND the Soda Ash .... I do this with the tee still tied up... after a minute or so, I remove the ties and continue to rinse, then turn water up to warm/hot... this will help more of the unbounded dyes release to be washed away .... Then I toss the rinsed tee in the washer, which I already half half full of hot water with Synthrapol Soap added (some dyers use Blue Dawn Dish soap, or Folex Carpet cleaner) they pH neutral and will help keep the dye suspended in the water instead of going into the tee and back staining ....

I rinse the rest of the tees and toss in the washer. then fill and run a shirt cycle and then I do two more LONG hot soak cycles, and with the 2nd and 3rd washes, I add less of the soap as there is not as much loose dyes around....

Here is my Beginner's Playlist with lots of helpful tips and tricks to tie-dye... I show 3 times to use Soda Ash, I demo how I batch my tees, how I wash them, how to improve your colors and so on : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMEtBqB2BzuquDrHsqxbv8LdFkaIyy3wo

I asked other dyers around the World where they buy their dyes from, here is the list I have so far:

USA

CA : Dharma : https://www.dharmatrading.com/dyes/dharma-fiber-reactive-procion-dyes.html

CO : Grateful Dyes : https://www.grateful-dyes.com/

CO : CO Wholesale Dye Corp. : https://www.bulkdye.com

NC : Custom Colors Inc. : http://www.customcoloursinc.com/

MA : Pro-Chemical and Dye  :  https://prochemicalanddye.net/

MO : Dyespin : https://www.dyespin.com 

Canada

Vancouver  :  Maiwa Handprints :  https://maiwa.com/

Toronto, ON :  G & S   : https://www.gsdye.com/products.html

South America

Brazil  : www.Printheo.com

And here is a tie-dye channel in Brazil : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoxfC2MhKv8j4vuhgyT0Qbw

Phillipines

HOUSE OF DYE : https://shopee.ph/SFA_104282865

Germany  :  http://www.ateliertisch.de/

https://www.patchwork-pro.de/ or http://www.patchworkshop.de

 Denmark : Spektrum : spektrumtextil.dk  but you can only bye pr mail-order or over the phone. These are Procion MX dyes.

UK : Www.georgeweil.com 

Etsy - UK site as I am in the UK

South Africa : bulk fiber reactive pigment/dye from Chemisol in Johannesburg : https://www.chemosol.co.za/fabric-painting/

https://www.desertcart.co.za/products/54773261-jacquard-products-procion-mx-dye-set

 Uganda I buy dyes from a distributor downtown : Nina Kebi

Australia : https://www.kraftkolour.net.au/      http://www.thesunnydaisy.com.au/

Paula Burch website : there are many places listed around the World to buy dyes from :  http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/dyesources.shtml 

Discharge Dyeing is when you start with a black or other colored tee instead of a white tee. I do a pre-wash on my tees and I only use 100% cotton as I have not had much luck with discharging poly very well, but the choice is up to you.

I have tried out several methods of discharing tees and fabric. I have used Bleach, Decolourant by Jacquard, Rit Color Remover and Out White Brite. ( a note from a dyer in the UK, here are the alternatives to OUT : HG Whiter than White and Dr Beckman Colour Run Remover are UK equivalents of OWB)

I just saw a post about someone who used 'Heitmann Decolorant' from Germany .... great color removal from what I could see

I have videos for each of the Products I mentioned, BUT, of note, if you use Bleach, I recommend you dilute it and I think I do a 50/50 mix with mine, but it is stated in the video. Also with Bleach, it needs to be neutralized, or over time it can cause holes to develop, washing is not enough IMO. I do show how I neutralize the Bleach in each of the 3 Bleach videos.

The other products remove more color and do not need to be neutralized, just rinsed well or wash and then you can soak in soda ash and add color back into the tee. So Rit and OUT are my new favorites.

Here is the list, have fun exploring : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMEtBqB2BzuqUum7wx4njWkcy_HI10P-o

when working on a mandala, I tie them while the tee is damp as the folding is easier, but then I will let it dry out completely for a few days before I dye it.... with the multiple layers of damp fabric, it can 'block' the dye, which is more liquid from penetrating the deeper layers.... BUT, if those inner layers have dried out, then the liquid will seep into the dry fabric and you will have better saturation

one thing I will do when adding dye to one of the sections of the tied mandala is to press on it and you can see some dye well up, when you release, the dye soaks back in, but if you press again and not much dye wells up, that means it soaked in further, so you can add more dye and press again.... this helps to work more dye into the deeper layers

also, dyeing from just the top side can help .... add a couple years of dye to each section and then let it rest so the dye can soak in... then come back and add more layers.... and let it rest.... then you can lift it up and check the bottom side... in the smaller sections of the mandala, you will start seeing the colors coming through... this mean the dye has gone through all of the layers of fabric, so you do not need to keep adding dye here or it will get sloppy ... But, it will take longer for the larger sections as there is more compressed fabric there... so just keep adding dye and letting it rest or press on it.... but once you see color coming through to the bottom in all of the sections, then you can flip and add one lay of dye to the bottom and let it soak in... then press on it a couple times to test

Urea is not 'required' for tie-dye, but it does have some uses with Tie-Dye.

Urea is a wetting agent, so it will help keep the tees wet while batching(if the tee dries out, then the dyes will stop bonding with the cotton), this is helpful if you live in a hot dry climate. But putting the tee in a bag or a tub with a lid to batch is usually sufficient in most places to keep the tee shirt wet while it batches.

Also, Urea helps dissolve the dyes better, so you can mix more powder into the liquid, which can be handy for colors like red or black, but, once again, it is not required.

When I use it, I add 1-2 tbsp for 16 oz of dye and I just put it in the same cup as the water and the dye powder and blend all together.

And, I do add it to my thick dye mix when I am going to be 'dye painting' as it will help keep the thin layer of dye wet for a longer period of time to allow the dyes to bond.

Thick Dye Video

I hope this helps explain Urea and what it is used for.

After mixing, I pour my dyes through a fine mesh filter. If there is a bunch of 'gunk' in there, I will tap it back into the cup, add more water and blend it some more as this 'gunk' is part of the dye color recipe and the color will not be correct if this gunk is not used in the dye.

Here is some info from another dyer friend …. 

about clogged squirt bottles, and filtering pigments. I use a number of Dharma mixed dyes (raspberry, razzle dazzle, blue violet, and so on) that were heavy clot-producers. The filtering prevented the clots/clogs, but it also took out the dynamic qualities of those colors. Then I had a conversation with a tattoo artist friend of mine--completely unrelated to tie dye--and he reminded me that tattooers have to grind their pigments when they get them dry from National Tattoo Supply. lightbulb

I got a stainless mortar and pestle set and ground the current batch of raspberry and blue violet before mixing them, and voila! No clogs; full dynamic in the color! I do it one tablespoon at a time. It's time and labor intensive, but it really pays off.

I batch my tees for a minimum of 24 hours, but I prefer to leave mine for 48 hours with some heat  ... this allows more time for the dye to bond with the cotton, but also, by the time you start to rinse, most of the dyes are spent and cannot back stain ......  I start rinsing in cold water with the tee still tied, this rinses away the soda ash... then I turn water up to warm and continue to rinse as I remove the ties... once the water starts to run semi clear I will drop it into the washer which already has hot water and Synthrapol soap (some dyers use Blue Dawn Dish Soap)  added ..... after rinsing my white spots have a bit of color on them..... but the hot water wash will clean that up... but you gotta toss it in the washer right after you rinse it.

8-13-21

I was asked a question about washing and I feel like I explained it more fully, but instead of replacing what i have written above, I wanted to add on to it :

After I batch my tees for 48 hours, I start the rinsing process in the sink in cold water while the tee is still tied up. This will rinse away the soda ash, which is what activates the dyes.... so I want this gone before more dye starts moving around, that is why I leave the tee tied up and the cold water will not rinse much of the unbonded dyes.
After a minute of so, I will remove the ties and turn the water up to warm while I continue to rinse the tee.... the warmer water will start releasing more of the unbonded dyes... I turn the water up to hot and rinse some more.... once the water starts to run semi clear, I will toss it into the washer, which I have pre-filled half way with hot water and Synthrapol Soap ~ ( this is a pH neutral soap from dharma which they have since discontinued and have made their own textile soap, but I mention synthrapol in the video so I wanted to explain here.... it is a pH neutral soap and helps the keep the dye particles suspended in the water, so there is less chance of back staining.... many dyers use ohter pH neutral soaps like Blue Dawn Dish Soap or Folex Carpet Cleaner)


I continue rinsing more tees until they are all in the washer, then I fill the rest of the way with hot water and run one short cycle with lots of soap as this is when most of the unbonded dyes come out.... then I rinse quickly and then I do two more long soak cycles with less soap since there is less dye. I check the water color at the end of the last cycle and it is looks fairly clear, I move into a rinse cycle and then dry.... BUT, if the water still looks colored, then I do one more LONG HOT soak cycle. Here is a video to show my process :https://youtu.be/t0M_nstKkjM

IMO ~ One of the things that makes wash out easier is a longer batch time (I do mine for 48 hours) with heat added.... I do mine in tubs with lids so the tees stay wet while they batch (this is important) ..... This gives the dyes more time to bond, BUT, it also exhausts the dyes ..... this means there is less chance of back staining in the washer, and it makes the wash out easier 'In My Opinion' 

Here is how I batch my tie-dyes :https://youtu.be/SvhwNQbhZJA
~ the way I add heat is to stack the tubs out in the sun during the Summer andin the Winter,I stack them near a heat vent.

You also mentioned vinegar, it can be helpful, but not in the way you mentioned.... Vinegar will also neutralize the soda ash since it is acidic.... so sometimes when i am doing a tee with lots of white in it, like a red white and blue tee, I will add a step to my rinse out.... I rinse in the sink, tee still tied like normal, but then i have a wash basin (like a 3 gallon tub) filled with cold water and I add a cup of white vinegar .... so after the cold water rinse in the sink, I will dunk it into the basin and swish it around, then I go back to my rinsing process in the sink... removing the ties and turning the water up to warm. So this extra step helps to insure the soda ash is gone or neutralized before I release more of the unbonded dyes with the warm/hot water. 
I hope this make sense and is helpful for you.

I do a pre wash in hot water with a little bit of synthrapol soap (some dyers use Blue Dawn Dish Soap)  and then I soak in soda ash for 20 minutes .....  https://youtu.be/vD1MSB0sAY8   

I have my dyes around at room temp for 2-3 weeks after they are mixed before the colors start to get weak ..... the average room temp here in Oregon is 65-75F ...... I put a piece of duct tape on my bottles so I can write the date I mix them and then at the 2-3 week mark, I will add another scoop of dye and blend again... then I try to make sure I use them up before the 2-3 week mark again. but they will still work after this point, the colors just are not as bright as when they are fresher. One more thing, the dyes will last much longer if you have a spare fridge to store them in 

I buy mine Wholesale from sanmar.com.  But many dyers buy from jiffyshirts.com and I recently heard of  https://www.alldayshirts.com/ 

  when I buy dresses, I get them from dharma ...  https://www.dharmatrading.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?query=dress

  but I have heard other dyers using Peaceful People

 https://peacefulpeople.com/collections/wholesale-blanks-white-clothing  

I use three different black powders in my jar... New, Better and Raven Black all from dharma.  I poured all three dye powders into one jar, shook it up and I use that as my black dye.

 I add 2 tbsp of salt & 2 tbsp of urea to 32 oz of luke warm water,  the urea helps to mix more powder into the water and the salt is supposed to help 'push' the dye out of the water and into the fabric when doing LWI.

I use twice as much black dye powder than I do for any other color.  For 32 oz of dye, I use 4 heaping tbsp's of dye powder,  SO, a little math here >>

 one level tbsp is 3 tsp,  so with my heaping tbsp, I guess it is 5-6 tsp per scoop, so times 4, that is 20-24 tsp for 32 oz of black dye,

or 10-12 for 16 oz of black dye dye.

 When mixing the black dye, even with the urea, all of the powder still does not dissolve on the first blend, so I carefully pour it through a filter into the bottle, but I leave the bottom of the cup as there tends to be 'black gunk' there.  This powder is still needed, so I add more fresh water to the cup and blend again and then this powder will usually dissolve.  DO NOT pour it out, or your black will not have its full recipe included and the color will be off.

  One more thing,  black dyes take longer to set up, so that is why I started leaving my dyes to batch for 48 hours... it was for the black dyes to start and then I liked how all of my colors looked, so I started batching everything I dye for 48 hours with some heat.  70F is a good temp to batch at, but I stack my tub near a heater vent or out in the sun depending on the weather so they get some nice heat while batching. 

I buy my larger bottles, as well as the long stem needle, and the gutta  bottles from dharma : https://www.dharmatrading.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?query=bottles

#ad ~ Use this link and I get credit :  4 oz Bottles with Metal tips : https://amzn.to/3h46iel

How I fill the bottles : https://youtu.be/laYYAlV5Yng 

I use Kite String from Ace Hardware. I have also used Embroidery String (it was not quite as strong as the kite string) here is how I use it .... https://youtu.be/nRKtNBZB5Qo And dental floss works great, I used the flat kind that was cheapest.
ALSO >>> I just heard about Red Heart® Classic Crochet Thread, Size 10, from another Rainbow Warrior, so I will be going to find some of this soon and try it out, but they said it worked great. 

Yes, I tie almost all of my tees inside out...  sometimes there are little specks of dye that do not dissolve all the way and then they will leave tin spots of color on the tie-dye, but with the tee inside out they will be on the inside of the tee.

Also, I use washable markers and pencils to draw designs on and every now and then a mark will not wash out for some reason, so once again they will be on the inside of the tee..... and when I fold a tapestry, I will fold the front of the tapestry to the inside for the same reason.

But when you are doing a non-symmetrical design on a tee, you have to remember to flip the image or it will be backwards on the tee.

I leave my tie-dye tees to batch for a minimum of 24 hours, but I prefer to leave mine for 48 hours. This give the dyes more time to bond with the cotton fibers, which mean less dye is going to be washed away and the tees will be brighter in color. 70F is a nice temp to batch tees, I also like to add some heat during this time. So I batch my tees in tubs/bins with a lid. I stack them next to a heater vent in the winter and put them on the shed roof in the sun in the summer time. The heat helps speed the batch time, but I still leave mine for 48 hours. Here are the bins I batch in: https://youtu.be/SvhwNQbhZJA

When I did School Tie-Dye Events, I got a list of names along with tee shirt sizes with what class/group they are in .... the school provided a schedule for each group, giving me a hour per group with 15 minutes in between for clean up and re fill of dyes ..... so I bought eh white cotton tees, sorted by size into groups (as provided by the school) then I wrote names on the tags of the tees and then I soaked each group of tees in soda ash and stored in a bin with a lid... I would stack 2-3 groups of tees in each bin in the order they were going to do their tie-dye .... you can do this a few days in advance of the eventThen, the night before the event, I mix up the dyes... I mixed them in gallon size jugs, for ease of school events ... I made just the primary colors or Turquoise, Lemon Yellow, and Fuchsia and poured into 8 oz bottles on the day of the event, I would cover the table with plastic and set up a tying station and a dyeing station .... I do a demo on how to tie and dye various design for each group, then I called out 5-6 names (the tops tees in the group... get them some gloves and help get them started on their tee.... once some of them move to the dye table, call more names from the group... once the group is done, clean up, re fill bottles and then get ready for the next group ....oh and part of the dyeing demo is showing them how to mixc the primary colors into secondary colors ( I demo this in my first spiral video which is in the list above)

First thing would be to wear gloves and avoid the stains.  But if you do get dye on your hands, I had a customer tell me

Lava soap and a pumice stone works great to remove dye 

Yes you can, but instead of soaking in soda ash, you will soak the silk in white vinegar, I soak for 10 minutes and squeeze it to make sure it gets all the way wet, then I wring out the excess (and save this in a separate bottle to use again later) And then I will either hang it to dry a little bit, I still like it to be barely damp when I fold it, or I will toss it in the washer on spin cycle, set it to about halfway through the cycle, and check to make sure it does not spray water as this will dilute your vinegar.

Then I fold it in whatever manner I like and dye it, the dye runs and spread fast so add it slowly.  Silk need to be steam set instead of time set.  You should use a dedicated, microwave for this, although I have used our kitchen one.  BUT, I placed the dyed silk into a gallon size zip lock bag and sealed it... then I set the microwave for 2-3 minutes depending on the size of the silk piece, and turn it on... BUT, you need to stay right there and watch it (I pull up a chair) and as soon as the bag fill completely with steam, you need to open the door .... then I wait while the bag goes back down (this may take 10-20 seconds) ... then turn the microwave back on and stop it again when the bag fills with steam. It will take opening the door 4-6 times to finish the 2-3 minutes of time... you do not want the bag to pop in the microwave as that would release the 'chemical steam' (the reason you should use a separate microwave) into your microwave.

Once it is done, I let it sit there for a few minutes to let the steam go down, then I carefully, with pot holders, remove the bag and set in the sink.... I leave it there for 20-60 minutes to cool down, then I start the rinsing process in cold water and then warm water until the water starts to run clear … similar to how I rinse tee shirts, or this dress in this video …  https://youtu.be/t0M_nstKkjM  and then I soak it in a tub of very hot water with bit of Synthrapol soap (some dyers use Blue Dawn Dish soap)  I check and change the water as it gets dark or cools down, until I have left it soak and no more dye comes out, meaning the water has cooled and it is still clear ….. Then I rinse it, spin out the excess in the washer and hang to dry or lay out flat.  

ANOTHER way to steam set is to use a vegetable steamer, (this one must be dedicated for dyeing only, I found mine for $5.00 at goodwill)  I used it in this video for a tee shirt experiment .... https://youtu.be/1d8xAeQ-ZSk .... I plan to test it out more with silk and make a video, but my plan would be to steam it for 30 - 60 minutes, and then let it cool as above before rinsing. 

Other places to find answers to your Tie-Dye Questions

I have answered many questions on my videos on YouTube : MrTieDye

Check out the comments section below the videos to see if your question has been answered.

Also, there are many other Tie-Dye Channels so check out some tutorials from some other dyers, here is a list of other Tie-Dye Channels

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Tie-Dye!! 

Have fun and I wish you success!!     

Peace Love Light & Laughter ~ Carl ~ MrTieDye