The warm weather is finally upon us, which means we can start breaking out all the old outdoor activities!
One of my personal favorites is tie-dyeing! Sure, you can tie dye any time of the year, but I have fond memories of dyeing shirts at my best friend’s house as a kid, and her mom yelling at us to take it outside and leaving them to dry by hanging them over a tree branch. Ah, the 90s…
So I wanted to bring back that nostalgia–while also adding a little bit of artistry–with this week’s project!
I’ve done wax batiking before, but I wanted to go for a more accessible approach this time. And what’s more accessible than Elmer’s Glue?
Everyone and their brother’s got a bottle of Elmer’s Glue sitting somewhere in their house, and that’s literally all you need to create relief designs on dyed shirts!
Whatever you cover in glue stays white (or the color of your fabric) while the dye stains around it, and then the glue just dissolves when you rinse it out!
I prepped by taping sheets of wax paper to this piece of cardboard, and then slipped my shirt over it and secured it with clips.
Obvious tie dye reminder: 100% cotton shirts are the most absorbent and retain dye the best!
And then I just went straight into it!
I drew out this little glue flower and didn’t take into consideration the way the glue would spread if it’s in big globs…
So I just filled in the petals and did an outline around it! No mistakes, just happy accidents.
And I let my pattern grow from there.
If drawing free hand makes you nervous or you’d rather use something like a stencil, you can draw out your design with a fabric pencil and it’ll rinse off when you wash the shirt!
But I didn’t have any plans while making these designs, so I just let the glue go where my hand was taking it.
I doodle a lot of swirls, anyway. This was pretty second-nature.
Phew! 45 minutes and 2 hand cramps later, I was done! Well, with this part.
To make sure the glue was totally dry, I let it set overnight.
When I came back, I had this!
What appeared to be a wrinkly shirt actually had a crazy-intricate design spanning it.
Next, I folded it up and used the rubberbands that came in the Jacquard Groovy Tie Dye Kit to tie it up like a regular tie-dye shirt.
The glue crunched a little bit, but none of the pieces flaked off.
Then I put on the gloves and mixed 2 of the 3 dyes per the instructions that came in the kit.
I stuck with cyan and magenta because I knew darker colors would work best with showing my design.
After dampening the shirt (to let the dye seep into the fabric more easily), it was time to take it outside!
I went straight for the section that had the design on it and just doused the whole section in blue.
Then I decided purple would look better, so I threw some red in there, too.
Obvious tie dye reminder: be sure to get dye into all the nooks and crannies! It also helps to squeeze the section you’re working on to get the dye worked all the way around.
Once I was finished, I gently placed it into a handy-dandy Cheap Joe’s bag and set it on the windowsill by my desk.
When I came back the next morning…
I had this! Mildly disappointed by the way the dye I was washing out attached itself to the remaining white parts AND that some of the glue reactivated while the dye set and it created weird additions to my designs, but I still think it’s very beautiful!
Here are some close-ups:
All in all, I’m calling this a successful batik!
Can’t wait to wear it!