The tie dye folds that you want to master in order to do any of the various tie dye folding techniques are:
- accordion fold
- scrunch fold
- circle tie, and
- the spiral fold
You can create heart shape, vertical and diagonal stripes and, even a tie dyed grid like pattern using the accordion fold.
Take a cotton t-shirt or other cotton item and
- make repeated even folds in it
- carefully bunch the folds or layer them on top of each other
- bind them with either rubber bands or dental floss
- then you can apply the different colors of dye
For a tie dye heart shape you should fold your t-shirt in half vertically and draw one side of your heart along the fold line. Using the half heart as a path “accordion” fold along the “heart’s” outline and hold in place with a rubber band where the outline has been bunched together.
To create a grid tie dye pattern you’ll accordion fold your cloth or t-shirt diagonally till you have a narrow strip of folded layers. Then you’ll take this strip and repeat vertically.
The circle tie, or rosette knot is where you take up a point of fabric and tie it off by tying it in a knot or with a rubber band. You can repeat in different areas of the fabric or tie off additional sections from the first one.
The scrunch fold is where you carefully bunch together your article of cloth, making sure to keep your material in one layer and the bunches fairly small, developing a circular round. Tie together while maintaining the flat circular shape of your scrunched fabric.
Spiral Fold – another tie dye folding technique:
Spirals folds are used to create circular patterns, spirals, spider shapes and medallion patterns. You pinch together or use a fork to hold the center of your spiral and twist your fabric into a spiral while keeping your folds as even as possible and creating a flat disk. Again, you’ll want to bind your disk shape in place with rubber bands or dental floss.
Aside from these basic tie dye folds, there are also various tools you can use to create many additional tie dye textural effects. Rock salt can be used to cause a kind of watery textured effect. You can combine different stencils with a back drop of tie dyed color to create different kinds of patterns.
Both lace and tape can also be used to create a variety of patterns by using them as reverse stencil tools. Different widths of tape can be placed perpendicular to each other to create plaid designs that can be enhanced by brushing in details with paint or dye later on. Sponging and splattering can also used.
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