Love Affair With Tie Dye

While Tie Dye is common for people in India and we Indians have literally grown up seeing these designs, it is not very common in other parts of the world. Tie Dye is an ancient art and is rarely visible today. We had a chance to practice different dyeing techniques in class today and my mind and eyes have awakened to the vastness and value of this textile art.

Majorly, this art was born in Asia in Japan, Indonesia and India. Japanese & Indonesians used Shibori techniques for their native costumes (especially kimonos). Two of the Shibori techniques are similar to Bandhini and lehriya. Plangi and Tritik are other kinds. Lot of variations have been developed in each category.

Tie Dye is a technique of resist dyeing (Batik is another resist dyeing technique). Colour ‘resists’ going through certain obstacles and hence creates patterns on fabric. the fabric is first rinsed in plain water as dye catches better once the fabric is wet. After dyeing, the fabric is rinsed again and left to dry. The creativity this art form possesses is limitless. These are some techniques that were popular in class today.

Using pole / bottle

Cloth is wrapped diagonally on a pole (or bottle, in modern times), scrunched up and tied tightly with string. The whole thing is then dyed in single colour or in multiple ways using different colours. This results in waves (something like lehriya) and is one of the most beautiful methods.

This technique is known as Arashi Shibori. There are many other Shibori techniques that use rope, wood pieces and other items to create interesting designs.

Using cloth pins

Fold the fabric into a square and clip cloths pins all over. Dye in one or 2 colors. The result will be a colourful cloth with white ‘sparkling’ diamonds all over.

Using string

Use strings to tie cloth and create circles.


Scrunch up the fabric in a rough round mass and tie it up randomly and tightly.

Accordion style

Pleat up the fabric like an accordion (or fan. Remember school days??). Iron it. either tie it up tightly without disturbing the pleats or clamp it using cloths pins. You can dip the pleat folds separately in a different color to get lines. This is easy and beautiful too.


Of course, how can this Gujarat girl not mention this popular art? An interesting way of creating bandhini is filling each pod with a small bean (black gram or garbanzo bean) and then tying it up. These will, of course, give bigger circles.

There are many, many more possibilities. Dyeing kits are available in stores (along with fasteners that are needed to make the color more stable). They can easily be used to experiment at home. Different fabrics use specific dyes and fasteners. Hence, be sure you are using appropriate dye.

I ended up dyeing 2 china silk scarves in class. It was totally fun, pretty easy and gets your creative side ticking. I am totally impressed by this process and would love to do more of it.

Tie Dye is not very visible today. It probably looks very ninety-ish or loud but if done tastefully, you can create interesting looks. It can work well with the boho look or give out elegance. It also makes you stand out!

Take a look.






(All pictures from Pinterest)

Here are some useful resources.

What do you think.. would you be attempting Tie Dye clothing?


One thought on “Love Affair With Tie Dye

  1. Pingback: Graphic Sweatshirts & More | Everything Fusion

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