Setting Tie Dye

How do you set tie dye?

By slsmith512 from Angleton, TX

June 15, 20090 found this helpful

It's really all about the dye you use in the first place. Never use "Rit" because it's a "fugitive" dye (like indigo or blue jeans are) That means it fades with washing & from sunshine. The best brand is Procion. It stays true & bright. It's a "Fiber reactive dye". Fiber reactive dyes, like Procion MX, bond with the fiber at a molecular level, becoming chemically part of the fabric. This is the brand that professional tye-dyers use! Read more about it at this URL:

Procion: The Best Dye for Tie Dying

* If you've already dyed your things, then by all means heat-set your dyed fabric. Either with an iron or in a very hot dryer. When you heat set be careful you don't damage your ironing board with dye. Put an open paper bag over the ironing board Then another one over the tie-dye to help absorb any extra dye. Don't use newspaper or the ink will get on your tie-dye & the ironing board. Also each time you wash your item put about half a cup of any kind of Vinegar in the rinse water. The Vinegar helps set the dye, but nothing takes the place of a quality dye.

Another dye that's fun for kids is "Sun Painting" with "InkoDye". This special dye goes on clear then turns bright & permanent with the UV rays from the sun (or you can use it inside with heat). With this solar dye you have to use only 100% cotton or rayon fabrics. This is really fun to do outside on the lawn with kids (in their old bathing suits). You can either dip the fabric into the dye or use a paintbrush to apply it for a different look. This dye isn't as bright as or as permanent as the Procion I mentioned above but the kids love the magic of painting it on clear & watching the color come to life before your eyes! The coolest thing to do with kids is buy a 100% cotton flat sheet at the thrift store & let the kids have their way with it, paining their own colorful sheet! Directions for applying "InkoDye" are listed at the bottom of this URL:

"Jacquard" is another quality company. They sell kits of their colors at Joann's fabrics & you can use the 40% off coupon. Here's one of their products. It looks, feels & works like a dye, but it's actually a paint:

"Tea Juice Markers" are also a fun way to go (especially for kids) They need to be heat set with an iron before wearing:

For complete directions on anything about dying, search the web site or call them, these guys are super-friendly & know everything about dyes!

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Anonymous Flag
June 17, 20090 found this helpful

After tie dye, whether using a standard dye or red wine, mustard, ketchup, crayons or kool-aid, etc., allow fabric to dry, then iron and allow fabric to 'set' for a day afterwards.

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March 10, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

I purchased a few hand, tie-dyed tablecloths in China and they bleed very badly! They were done in a small village. How can I set the dye in such a large pieces of fabric. Some are a dark blue and another is orange.

People I know that have purchased them, say the color washes out very dramatically, so they must be washed alone, separately. They do, however, maintain the dark blue color along with the lighter pattern (that is "tied in") remaining as well.


Also, I have a front loading machine that doesn't use a lot of water. Is there a way to set the dye in a large tub or large stainless steel sink? Then wash it in the front loading machine. Or, do I have to go to a laundromat and use a tub machine that fills with a large quantity of water.

By Jan D from St. Paul, MN

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March 19, 20130 found this helpful

You might try the cold water and salt routine - in a large bucket or whatever, fill with cold water and a pound or so of table salt (one of those round boxes). Dissolve the salt, then soak the table cloth in the salt water for an hour or so. Then wash in cold water to rinse out the salt, and dry as usual. Not knowing for sure what the dye is, makes it a little tricky. Good luck!

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March 19, 20130 found this helpful


The dye is probably indigo same dying as for the jeans. You can try to soak your tablecloth in white vinegar when you rinse it. Hope this helps.

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