Introduction: Rad Resist Dyeing - Tye Dyeing a Black-hole

About: Multi faceted artist, petrol head, vinyl wrapping all the things. There is always room for Improvement and always something else you can learn.

Tie-dyeing is one of the many things I love to do artistically, it is also one of the things I am best at.

I love the reactions I get from people that see my tie-dye for the first time. It is AWESOME.

In this Instructable I want to share with you one of the coolest designs I know, The black hole! so maybe you can go out there and impress people with your tie-dye next!

This is my entry into the Fibre arts contest!


  • Nitrile gloves - I prefer these over the ones in the kit
  • Saran wrap or Large Ziploc/ microwave safe plastic
  • Clothespins
  • Microwave oven
  • A circular item you can easily trace on the bandana
  • A pencil
  • Container - to apply the dye on/in that will catch the run-off

  • A sink or bathtub

  • Clothes you don't mind wrecking

  • Nearby garbage bin

The colours I am using are black, Fushcia, orange, yellow, green, purple and blue

      Step 1: Prepping Your Item to Take the Dye

      FYI I have super awful lighting in my washroom so in order to minimize the photos taken in there, I dont have photos relating to this step. I tried to make it fairly straightforward though!

      Before getting to any of the fun stuff we will need to prepare our garment to take the dyes. I know you are probably wondering, how exactly could an untouched garment become more ready to take dye? Isn't a clean garment about as ready as it gets?

      Well... Yes and No.

      Sometimes clothing is 100% ready to be dyed and other times when you purchase it from the store there is still residual 'Sizing' left on the fibres. Sizing is a mixture of one or more of the following

      Modified starch, Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), waxes and, Acrylates.

      This mix is added into the fabric during manufacturing to reduce the abrasiveness of the fibres and to protect it during weaving. It is washed away for the most part before it goes to a store,

      Normally this bit of residual 'sizing' left behind isn't an issue if you plan to wear it as is, but you want to add dye onto the fabric, Sizing makes the dye bead off of the fabric, there is virtually no way to get it into the fabric if sizing remains.

      I have learned that you'll save yourself a ton of frustration by going through the process to remove sizing beforehand, instead of finding out after you've done all of your folds and ties that your dye won't penetrate the fabric and you have to start over again.


      1. Fill your sink, bathtub or bucket with the hottest water your tap can run. Just enough to submerge your garment and keep it hot for 10 or so minutes. Add a few drops of laundry soap and toss in your garment.
      2. Leave your garment in the water until the water has cooled enough that you can comfortably handle it please do not burn yourself
      3. Drain the water, and run your garment under warm water until all the laundry soap is rinsed out.
      4. Ring the excess water out of the garment.
      5. Lay your towel onto the floor and lay the garment on top, roll the garment up into the towel, it should look like a long cylindrical tube of towel.
      6. lastly, you can step on top of the towel and this will force any water left in your item into the towel. Leaving it damp.

      Step 2: Mixing Up Your Dye

      You should set up a spot where you can have your dyes mixed and ready to go, this is where you want to lay your drop cloth. Have your garbage bin nearby as well as your paper towels, just in case of a spill. This way any mess can be quickly wiped up and the paper towel can be discarded. Keep in mind these are dyes were working with and their job is to stain things! On that note, this is when you will want to throw on those clothes you don't mind wrecking.

      You can use as many colours as you'd like but bear in mind the size of a bandana

      Once you have chosen the colours you'd like to use, put on some gloves and bring the bottles to your sink, along with a paper towel or two.

      For each bottle/colour you want to to the following:

      1. Holding the bottle over the sink, unscrew the cap.
      2. Fill with warm water only halfway
      3. Screw the lid back on.
      4. hold a paper towel over the lid and give it a shake until you can't see any more powder at the bottom of the bottle.
      5. Using the paper towel unscrew the cap again and fill the bottle the rest of the way up to the fill line.
      6. Rinse any dye off the cap, screw it back on.
      7. Rinse the outside of the bottle and wipe the water away.

      With all of your dyes mixed, they can be set aside on the dropcloth you set up.

      Step 3: Setting Up Your Work Space

      Fill up your spray bottle with water.

      You want to plug in your iron so it has time to heat up. While it warms up, lay your damp garment out onto your workspace, you may want to lay the towel down under the garment too, to protect the surface your working on as you will be ironing your garment

      Adjust your spray bottles spray pattern (if you can) to a mist, you don't want it to spray streams. As you iron the garment and it begins to dry out you will need the spray bottle to mist over areas that you are folding, this alongside the iron will steam the folds into sharp creases. This is one of my favourite tips for tie-dyeing as it gives you crisp lines.

      Make sure to have your elastics and/or sinew, and clothespins if you're using them, beside your workspace as well.

      Step 4: Time to Fold

      Now that your iron is all warmed up, you can do a few passes over your garment to get all the wrinkles outand get everything laying nice and flat.

      Next, fold the bandana in half (hotdog)

      To get crisp lines, mist the fold line with your spray bottle and iron it down until the fabric is almost dry.

      Take your circle object and lay it half over the centrefold, half off of the bandana, you want it centred so that when you trace onto the bandana, you get a semi-circle guideline.

      Now hold it down firmly and using your pencil, lightly mark around the base of the object, onto the bandana.

      For the fold, grab the edge of the bandana and start pinching fabric up towards yourself, the purpose of the line is for you to follow, you want to make that semi-circle appear as straight as possible once your fold is done.

      Continue pinching the fabric up towards yourself, you want something that resembles ridges.

      Once you have the line straight. take a clothespin and secure it as well as possible, this will help to get the sinew or elastics on, use clothespins to secure the folds all the way from end to end.

      Now wrap elastics every half-inch - inch, down the length of the folded bandana.

      Normally I Just randomly tie sections as I feel. The elastics create resist areas in the fabric that the dye can or can't work itself into, depending on how tight they've been tied. The elastics definitely aid as visual guidelines between sections.

      Step 5: *Application of the Dye

      One last thing before we begin working with the dye

      Grab the container you will by dyeing in and set up whatever it is you're using to elevate your garment. In my case the wooden cubes.

      I am arranging them in a way that they will sturdily hold my garment off the bottom, away from the dye runoff.

      This is crucial, if you skip this step, your design will turn 50 shades of brown.

      Set your tied garment atop the pedestal you have made for it and grab your dyes.

      Put some gloves on and grab a piece of paper towel.
      Now for each of the bottles of dye, you mixed, hold the paper towel over the lid and give them another light shake, the same way as when we mixed the colours initially. Just to ensure they are 100% mixed..

      *Quick tip to prevent a lot of unnecessary mess - each time you go to uncap one of your dyes, hold a paper towel in the hand you're popping the cap off with, these bottles tend to dribble when you pull the cap off. - Also, remember to recap them each time you switch colours. As you can see in my photos.. I did not follow my own advice.

      You can order your colours however you choose, however; I feel like the following colours look incredible in the order they are in. note - each / represents a rubber band section & commas represent colours next to each other.

      SIDE #1- Black / Fuschia, Orange, Yellow / Black / Blue, Green, Purple

      SIDE #2 - Black / Blue, Green, Purple / Black / Fuschia, Orange, Yellow.

      Each section will have the opposite colour group on the backside. The only section that doesn't change is the black sections.

      Since bandanas tend to be so thin, you want to go easy on the dye, since there are so many colours going into this it shouldn't have a hard time getting enough die throughout

      SIDE #1

      1. Dye the first piece black (the center side of the bandana)
      2. The second section do a thin line bordering the black with fuschia, do the same with the orange bordering the fuschia and, again with the yellow bordering the orange.
      3. Next section is black
      4. The Blue bordering the black, green bordering the blue and purple bordering the green.
      5. Next section black.. and so on and so forth.


      SIDE #2

      1. Touch up any spots missing black on the black sections
      2. The second section do a thin line bordering the black with Blue, then again with the green bordering the blue and again with the purple bordering the green.
      3. Black section
      4. The next section with be fuschia bordering the black, then orange bordering the fuschia and finally yellow bordering the orange.

      Step 6: How Long Til I Can Check It Out?

      If you're anything like me, you're probably itching to untie your project and see what it looks like already.....


      Well, I know how to speed the process up so you can check it out and rinse in 20mins instead of having to wait the 12 to 24 hours you are instructed to wait.

      You can throw your tie-dye project in a large ziplock bag zipped 3/4th of the way closed, then put it into a microwave oven for 15sec bursts, check after each burst that it hasn't dried out, after about 6 or 7 fifteen second bursts it should be heated enough and it will beREALLY HOT!! Don't touch. Let it cool down completely before handling.

      10minutes should suffice but please exercise caution.

      Once the garment has cooled enough to be handled, put on a pair of gloves, remove the garment from inside of the Ziploc bag, lay the bag flat and set your garment on top.

      Now take your scissors and carefully cut each rubber band or piece of sinew, be careful not to cut your project. These string pieces can be discarded into the trash.

      Step 7: Rinsing Your Bandana

      Using gloves hands, massage the bandana under running water until the water runs clear.

      Ring it out and lay it back out onto the towel, you can give it a few more passes with your clothing iron to help get rid of wrinkles and speed up the drying process.

      For the first few washes, I recommend washing by hand and not in with the rest of your laundry, .

      although it shouldn't leach, after being rinsed, there is a possibility that it could.

      Step 8: Final Thoughts

      This method can be applied to shirts, flags, wall tapestries. You can use any combo of colours too, I just enjoy the results of this combination.

      Thank you for reading my Instructable. I am happy to answer any questions in the comments. I also encourage and appreciate feedback.

      Fiber Arts Contest

      Participated in the
      Fiber Arts Contest