The best tie-dye kit
Whether you're looking to reminisce over 1960s fashion trends or for a group art project, tie-dyeing is a fun activity for aspiring artists of all ages. Over the years, tie-dye has remained a popular craft at birthday parties, schools, and summer camps. Today, with so many comprehensive kits on the market, tie-dyeing is easier than ever. From tips and tricks to our favorite tie-dye kits, you'll find everything you need to know in our shopping guide below. If you're looking for a feature-packed set, consider our top pick, the Tulip One Step Tie Dye Kit.
Considerations when choosing tie-dye kits
How to tie-dye fabric
To get the best results, you should always read and carefully follow the instructions provided with your specific tie-dye kit. However, there are a few basic steps that generally apply:
1. Ready your workspace. To avoid stains and simplify cleanup, you should first cover your work area in plastic tarps or newspapers.
2. Choose your fabric. T-shirts are a common choice, but you can tie-dye almost anything, from pillowcases to tote bags, as long as the material absorbs the dye. For the best results, make sure your fabric is clean.
3. Presoak your fabric. This step is not always required, but soaking your fabric in soda ash will help to set the dye.
4. Twist your fabric. Twisting the fabric is what creates the classic spiral pattern you see on most tie-dyed items. Some kits will come with guidelines for specific patterns, or you can make up your own. You can use rubber bands to secure the twists in place.
5. Prepare your dye. Some kits will include instructions on how to mix the dye (if needed) before use.
6. Apply your dye. Most kits will come with applicator bottles to make applying the dye to your fabric easy. The amount of dye needed will vary from kit to kit.
7. Rinse out your dye. This step will remove any excess dye and completes the process.
While accessories and tools vary from kit to kit, there are a few key components that you will need for a successful tie-dye experience. A high-quality kit should include most, if not all of the following:
Dye: Some kits include a large variety of shades, while others stick to the basic primary colors. Often times you can mix the dyes together to create new colors of your own.
Fixer solution: Some kits require you to presoak your material in a solution of soda ash. These kits often, but not always, include the mix. However, not all tie-dye kits require this step.
Applicator bottles: Applicator bottles are used to hold the dye. They often have a pointed tip that makes it easy to target specific areas of whatever you're dyeing.
Protective gloves: To avoid staining your skin in various rainbow patterns, protective gloves are a must. Most kits include at least one set of gloves.
Protective tarps: Protective tarps can be thrown over your workspace to protect it from stains. Not all kits include tarps, but you can easily make your own from newspaper or old sheets.
Rubber bands: Twisting and folding the fabric is how you achieve that classic tie-dye pattern. Rubber bands are essential for keeping those twists and folds in place throughout the dyeing process.
Instructions: In some kits, you may find instructional booklets or even DVDs. While the art of tie-dyeing is pretty straightforward, these instruction booklets often provide tips, tricks, and ideas for specific patterns.
Tie-dye kit prices
Tie-dyeing is one of the more affordable crafts to dip into, with kits ranging from around $7 to $35. For most kits, the price is determined by just how much dye and how many accessories are included.
Q. What fabrics can I tie-dye?
A. Natural fabrics like cotton, rayon, and linen are the best at absorbing tie-dye. You should avoid less-absorbent materials, such as synthetic fabrics and 50/50 blends.
Q. How long does tie-dye take to dry?
A. Depending on your kit, drying times can range from just a few hours to an entire day. It is best to leave your shirt or bag tied up during the drying process to protect the integrity of your pattern.
Tie-dye kits we recommend
Best of the best: Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit
Our take: A 12-color kit includes a few necessary tools and is perfect for parties or small art groups.
What we like: Protective tarps, gloves, and storage bottles are included. Dye colors mix well in water and can even be combined.
What we dislike: Dyes tend to run and fade without a soda ash soaking.
Best bang for your buck: Phoenix Rit Tie-Dye Kit
Our take: An affordable kit with bright and easy-to-mix dyes. An excellent choice for beginners.
What we like: Provides all of the primary colors for easy color mixing. High-quality dye at a low price point. Includes instructions, gloves, rubber bands, and storage bottles.
What we dislike: Only works on cloth material and includes only enough dye for about five shirts.
Choice 3: Jacquard Tie-Dye Class Pack
Our take: A large, comprehensive kit that's perfect for big groups.
What we like: Includes enough essential materials to dye roughly 35 shirts, with detailed instructions provided and a wide range of vibrant colors to choose from.
What we dislike: The kit is an impractical choice if you're not a large group.
Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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