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Home > Community > Members Showcase > Mickey Head Tie-Dye T-Shirt

Mickey Head Tie-Dye T-Shirt

by Ilene Fabisch

For this project you will need:

Dye colors of your choice in squirt bottles: I found the recommended dye is Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes. These dyes don't need hot water and are colorfast. Mix the dye as follows: 2 tsp dye (4 for turqoise) 8 oz water. Some people suggest adding Urea (moisture agent enhances colors)or Soda Ash (roughens fibers so dye sticks). Neither one appears to be necessary.
1 cup soda ash

1 gal water

needle and thread

t-shirts, 100%cotton works best, 50/50 won't hold dye as well.

about 6-10 rubber bands (#2)

rubber gloves

plastic trash bags
Shirt preparation: Prewash to remove "sizing" and preshrink your shirt. Start out with the shirt dry, and then soak it in soda ash after its been sewn and tied.
Take the shirt and draw a mickey head in pencil, on the shirt. You can prepare a stencil beforehand and trace along the edge.
Take a needle and double thread it. Sew a 1/4" - 1/2" basting stitch along the pencil line. A basting stitch is a very simple stitch that goes up & down through the fabric, and will gather the fabric when knotted and pulled tight. Only go through the front of the shirt if that is where you want the mickey to be. Go through the back as well if you want it on both back and front.
After stitching along the complete line, knot it, and pull it tight, so the fabric gathers in a bunch. This part is hard to describe; you are going to pull on the area you just gathered so it is like a pouch and pleat the rest of the fabric, so that you have a long snake like tube. The more careful you are with pleating the fabric along the length of the shirt, the better the final result. Go easy, and take your time.
Wrap a rubber band around the threaded bunch. The tighter the tie, the more defined the outline of the mickey will be.
Place remaining rubber bands in 1"-2" intervals along the rest of the shirt.
Prepare a warm water bath with 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of soda ash. Soak the shirt(s) for thirty minutes. Wring it out or place it in the washing machine, on the spin cyle. You want it damp, but not soaked.
To dye:

Using a squirt bottle, put the color where you want it...for instance my shirt is red, white and blue because we were there for the July 4th celebration..so I used red for the center where I had gathered the mickey shape, then blue, then red, then blue and so on. I did not do white as the shirt is white and I knew that color would be where the rubber bands where holding. Be careful not to get one color on another if that is not the look you want. It's a little difficult to keep from getting the wrong color dye in the next closest section. You can do all of one color and then switch colors to help with this problem.
After dyeing, carefully place the project on a plastic trash bag, and cover it with more plastic. I place a project on one half of a trashbag, and then fold the other half over it. Let it sit for 8-24 hours. The longer the better. This is the hardest part because you so badly want to see what it looks like!
Rinse the project out under cold water. Cut the rubber bands off, or remove them carefully. Continue to rinse the project out until the water runs nearly clear. Wash the project by itself or with other projects in the washing machine.
You can now wear your shirt proudly, and wash it with other like clothing. The dye is permanent and colorfast.
For beginners it might be best to get a simple tie dye kit that has the right chemicals for setting the dye. My kit cost $10 on sale from Kaybee toys and had many colors, the directions, the squirt bottles (like a ketchup container at restaurants) and the chemicals. It was really easy to do. Oh yeah, remember to wear rubber gloves, LOL! Have fun!