Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tie dye in miniature

I'm hosting a "Summer of Love, Remembering Woodstock (1969) ATC swap and it is nearly due. Thursday I decided to tie dye some fabric for the backgrounds. My hands don't work all that well for pinch grip, so I had a bit of trouble trying to twist the 2.5" X 3.5" pieces of cloth into a swirl to create the traditional tie dye effect. To make matters worse, I had no small rubber bands and the big ones I had (courtesy of the post office) would not hold the material tight enough. I decided to use clothes pins to hold the "wrap" in place. However, that meant I couldn't microwave the fabric using the low immersion technique I used before. What to do, what to do? I slept on it.

I went to the basement with my pristine clothes pins and placed them in a tin can. I finally knew how to heat set the dye without using the microwave. I would simply "bake" them in the toaster oven. At this point, I had NO idea if this plan would work, or if I would be starting over the next day in a new and different direction.

I got out my dyes and decided to use only the liquid ones for this project. Seemed like sensible thing to do. The straws are in place of pippets which I don't have.

I began with green.

Holding my finger over one end of the straw, I was able to suck some green dye into it. By slowly releasing my finger, I was able to sort of control where the dye would go.

Next came red. To keep from contaminating any of the dyes, I used one straw per color.

The next color I applied was blue.

By this time I was getting a mess on my table and the fabric was dripping into the can and all over the protective paper on my work surface. My final color was peach, and I knew at this point I had to stop.

I set the can and clothes pins on the tray very much like how they are set in the photo. I set the toaster oven for 300 degrees F. and proceeded to clean up the studio, putting a few things away I had previously taken to the basement. I allowed the pieces to "bake" for about 15 minutes, then checked them. They were still wet and not very hot, so I allowed them another 15 minutes.

Anticipation set in when I opened the toaster oven door. Would the technique work? I nearly burned my hand getting the tray out of the oven. After the pieces had cooled a bit, I began removing the clothes pins.

I was thrilled. OK, it may not be real tie dye, but I really, really like the results I got.

They all turned out great except for one that fell from the tin and got too close to the heating element. It burned holes into the fabric. I will find a use for it, but not on this swap.

I'm totally psyched about this project because I was not at all sure I had the ability to pull it off. I'm thrilled and now I hate to cover the fabric at all. Click to enlarge the photos.

5 thoughtful remarks:

Findings Art by Donna said...

They sure look tie died E. Great the way you figured out a way to do it. :)

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

OK, the suspense in reading this post was great Elizabeth! Your results are excellent ... sure looks like wonderful tie dye to me!

Cindy McMath said...

These are groovy baby! Love them Elizabeth - saw Halle's cards too and wished I could have joined you for this one. Too much work as usual.

Cindy :)

Debrina said...

Great post! I love the final result, Elizabeth.
Oh btw, I use the Folk Art brand of crackle medium. Just one application is all it takes. Let it dry, then apply paint over top. As that dries, the crackle goes to work.

Halle said...

They turned out really cool. I'm so impressed you were able to get as good of detail as you did with such small pieces.