Hello!.. I have had quite a few people ask me how I make heart pattern tie dye shirts. So I figured why not make an instructable!
Before I begin with the instructions let me start by saying that I am not a professional by any means, but after many years and many trials and errors this process works for me every time.
I know many many places tell you to use 100% cotton tees and things for best results. I will be honest, I have used some things that are cotton poly blend and as long as they are mostly cotton my color results are usually the same.
As far as brands of tie dye, I prefer Jacquard dyes which I can usually purchase at Jo-Anns crafts but amazon carries them and many other places. The plus side of getting them at Jo-Anns is well...you can use your coupon!
Before I get started on any tie dying process I pre wash all my things just to get the extra chemicals out that can be in clothing. I think one of the main tricks to my success of keeping my shirts bright and colorful for years to come is soaking them in soda ash after they are washed. I wouldn't skip this step. Many kits do not contain the soda ash so you may have to buy it separately but it is always in the same spot as the dye. After my shirts have gone through a wash just fill the washing machine with the least amount of water you need, dump in the soda ash and let it swish around for a minute and then stop the wash. Let the clothing sit in the soda ash water for at least a 1/2 hour. After this time, don't rinse it.....just spin the water out. You want the chemical to stay in the cloth. It helps open up the fibers and allows the dyes to adhere better.
Here is a list of what I used. You will need at least 2 colors, keeping in mind that it will work better if you have one dark and one light if you only use 2
tie dyes of your choice ( I used non traditional colors this time Yellow Lime green and teal..my son wanted one this time)
Washable kids marker
needle and thread
rubber gloves ( I don't use them but I make the kids use them)
Cling wrap ( like saran wrap)
Step 1: Getting Your Shirt Ready and Tying Your Pattern
Before we get started on tying up your shirts mix your dyes up per the
instructions on your particular dye brand. Follow these instructions or you will not get your desired colors. Set your mixed and bottled dyes aside and wash off your hands well. You don't want to transfer dye onto your shirt while you are tying it. I have done that a million times and I get so mad at myself every time.
After your shirt has been properly prepared and is still damp ( you want to do this part while its damp and dye it while its damp too if you can, the colors come out better!) lay it out flat on your surface back side up. Carefully fold your tee shirt over from side to side keeping your fold as much in the middle as you can. Now take your washable marker and make your half a heart drawing. Make the "V" part of the heart a little wider than you normally would.
Step 2: Stitching and Gathering Your Pattern Line
Take your sewing needle and thread at least 18 inches of thread and tie a knot in the end. Leave your shirt folded in half. Now you are going to just simply weave your needle in an out following your line making sure you go through both sides of the shirt. I usually start at the inner "v", I find it makes gathering the material easier in the end. Tug a little as you go, it makes it easier to gather once you get to the end. Once you have gotten your thread from one end to the other simply hold the tee shirt and pull on the thread so that it gathers up nice and tight. Don't worry about tying off the end we are just going to snip the extra thread off after we get our first rubber band in place. Keep tugging until your material is gathered up nice and tight. But be careful! If you tug to hard you will snap your thread and then you will have to start this step over.
Step 3: Using Rubber Bands to Secure Your Pattern
Now that you have gotten your thread nice and tight it's time to use rubber bands to hold your pattern shape. Once your rubber band is in place you can snip off the rest of your sewing thread. We will easily remove it when we rinse out later. I usually only put one, but you can gather up the bottom of the shirt and tie rubber bands equal distances down the rest of the shirt if you like but I usually don't.
Step 4: Dying Your Shirt
Now the fun begins!
The first and most important step in the dying of your shirt here is deciding what colors to put where. Once you have decided what color you are using for the heart I would then choose the darkest of the colors you have left for the first step. Take your darkest color and saturate the line UNDER the rubber band. Don't worry to much if some gets into the space meant for the heart, I promise it will be OK. Next take your "heart" color and saturate your heart. I used yellow for my heart. Now you can do whatever you want to the rest of the shirt. I chose to just do alternating lines of the 3 colors I was using. Now carefully flip your project over. You now want to repeat this process coordinating the colors that you did for the first side. So do your dark color at your rubber band line, then your heart, and follow along with coloring the rest of the shirt as you did before.
Step 5: Wrapping Up Our Work of Art...and Waiting.
Now that you have dyed your tee you want to keep it wet. I simply lay a large piece of saran wrap on my table ( I know, I know easier said than done) and lay my project on top. Be very careful that no parts of the shirt touch each other, you don't want color to transfer and mess up your hard work. Now carefully wrap your tee with the saran wrap. I usually need a couple of pieces to make this happen. Saran wrap and I are not friends. Now place your tee somewhere safe for at least 12 hours.
Step 6: The Wash Out and the Reveal!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK so you have patiently waited over night for the magic to happen and you are ready to reveal your piece of beauty. I simply unwrap my piece, carefully remove the rubber bands and pull out the string. I rinse as much dye out of my shirts as I can by running water in the kitchen sink and wringing my shirt out. Do this for a little bit. It doesn't need to run clear, but it makes the washout a lot easier especially if you are washing out multiple pieces at one time like I normally do. Now I just toss my shirt in the wash, do a normal wash on cold. I toss everything in the drier after, but I have been known to hang them all out on the line to dry when the weather is nice. The visual is awesome! Hope you enjoyed my very wordy tutorial. Please feel free to ask any and all questions and I will do my best to answer them!