5 Things You Didn’t Think Of

…before deciding to try tie-dyeing. You have your t-shirts, you have your dye, your soda ash solution, you’re all set, right? right? Not everything comes in a kit! Did you consider:

  1. Rags? You need some. Seriously. To set a drippy dye bottle on. To quickly wipe up a drip. To sop up a pool of messy soda ash solution before it dries. To dab your sweating brow (clean rag suggested). Paper towels are good, and they have their uses, but a bunch of old terrycloth towels ripped into rags are recyclable… and invaluable.
  2. A bucket of clean water? Because you accidentally got dye on your gloves and you don’t want to spread it around — so dunk your hand in the bucket. Because you want to dampen a rag to clean a drip — dunk the rag in the bucket.  Because!
  3. A scissors? If you went old-school and tied your shirts with rubber bands, don’t expect to be able to neatly remove them when the shirts are done. Don’t drag your smeary rubber bands around your shirt, just cut them off. Carefully, of course.
  4. A spare pair of gloves? Nothing quite like doing your dye work outside or in the basement or on the patio or in the garage and having your glove rip. Now you have to trek back to the supply area for more, and you may be a smudgy mess.  Just stick a spare pair in your pocket if your gloves are thin and rippable.
  5. A plan? There’s nothing quite like having six folded, tied, wet t-shirts facing you and suddenly not being able to remember which colors were going on which shirt. Make some notes before you start and mark each shirt when you fold it — for example, by putting a colored paper clip on one of its ties.

People who tie dye a lot barely remember to mention some of this stuff because it’s so second nature to them. Most of these I learned by that unyielding teacher named Bad Experience, so maybe this list will help somebody.

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