Web www.pburch.net
Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing
Overview Fiber Reactive Dyes Direct Dyes All-Purpose Dyes Acid Dyes      Food Coloring      Lanaset Dye      Acid Levelling (Kiton) Natural Dyes Vat Dyes Disperse Dyes Basic Dyes Naphthol Dyes Fabric Paints
Index How to Dye with
    Fiber Reactive Dye
How to Tie Dye How to Batik Low Water
Dip Dyeing Washing Machine
How to Tie Dye
    with Kool-Aid®
How to Tie Dye with
     All Purpose Dye
How to Dye and
    Paint Fabric
    with Light
cellulose fibers:     cotton     rayon and
protein fibers:     silk     wool synthetic fibers:     acrylic     nylon     polyester     spandex other materials...
acetic acid alginate ammonium sulfate baking soda citric acid ludigol mordants salt soda ash sodium silicate temperature synthrapol urea vinegar water softener
Index Batik Mandalas &
    Peace Signs
LWI dyeing Watercolor Rainbow
Tie Dyeing Spray Dyeing Fabric Paints and Markers
The Dye Forum Book Reviews Find A Custom Dyer Old Q&A Blog Blog of Questions
     & Answers (new)
Search Contact me Link here About This Site
Where to Buy
    Dye & Supplies
Mailing Lists Other Galleries Other Informative
Additional Links
Index General Dye
Fixing Dye Synthetic Fibers Color Choice Dye Auxiliaries Bleaching and
Safety Procion Dyes Acid Dyes Problems Tying Miscellaneous
Facebook: All About
    Hand Dyeing
Twitter @HandDyeing Google+
Procion MX Dyes Jacquard Acid Dyes Other Dyeing
Fabric Paints, Dyes,
    Books, and DVDs

You are here: Home > All About Hand Dyeing > Instructions > How to Dye with Fiber Reactive Dye > How to Tie Dye > How to Tie Dye a Spiral

Check out this how-to-fold video from YouTube:

FAQ: How do you tie-dye a spiral pattern?

Everyone who tie-dyes has to do a spiral, sooner or later. It's the modern cliché of tie-dyeing. You can make it your own by applying the spiral to a garment you've already folded in two, varying just where you place the center of the spiral, pleating the center of the spiral horizontally or vertically a few times before you begin the twist, or just by making a very careful choice of colors.

How to Tie It

It's simple enough to do. You just pinch the cloth where you want the center of your spiral to be (try a spring-type clothes pin), then twist, then continue to twist; when the cloth 'mountains' get more than an inch or two taller than the 'valleys', use your other (third?) hand to split each tall pleat into two. Once you have the entire garment compacted into a flat disk, no more than two inches thick, you put rubber bands or ties around the disk, in several directions, to maintain its shape.

The Challenge - Use Enough Dye!

The hard part, for a beginner, is getting enough dye into the tied garment. It's common for an individual's first shirt to be mostly white with just a few colored streaks, although before the shirt was untied, it appeared to be solidly impregnated with dye. You really have to squirt that dye right in between the folds of the cloth. If it's not dripping out at the bottom, you're not using enough dye (unless the mostly white look is your goal).

Applying the Dye

With the fabric twisted into a spiral, you make nice, even quadrants of each color, like cutting a pie into six or eight pieces and coloring each pice a different color. These turn into the twisted spiral when the fabric is untwisted! The prettiest results come when adjacent colors are in rainbow order - definitely study the color suggestions near the bottom of How to Tie Dye. The most eye-popping results are obtained by using thickener in your dye, so that you don't get muddy mixtures, and applying opposite colors (on two sides of the tied fabric disk, in the same section of the shirt. A stained-glass effect is obtained by applying black dye to one side and brightly colored dye to the other.

You probably won't really need pictures to do the above, because it is all trial and error, anyway. You can't know what works best for you until you try it. However, if you want to see pictures of how to do the ties, check out PROchem's illustrations of tie dye folds, and Rit's old Virtual spiral (though you'll find the dyeing process much easier if you use fiber reactive dyes such as Procion MX, instead of Rit, which requires that you hold the disk of fabric partially submerged in nearly-boiling water for a long time). Finally, the best on-line step-by-step illustrations of how to tie-dye a spiral may be found in the Tie-Dye Wiki's tutorial on how to tie-dye a spiral.

Where to Learn More

Need more help? Buy a book! Sulfiati Harris's "Rainbow Tie Dye" is under $5 at the Dharma Trading Company and provides an excellent introduction. (See Source for supplies.) Other good books that include the spiral fold include Alice Niemiec et al.'s Tie-dye to Die for & Batik You Can't Resist Book and either of Virginia Gleser's mostly interchangeable books, Tie Dye: Back by Popular Demand and Tie Dye! The How-To Book. (See Books on Hand Dyeing and Fabric Painting.)

The Art of Tie-Dye DVD Tie Dye 101 Or even better, buy a DVD that demonstrates this and many other tie-dye folds. Michael Fowler's DVD, The Art of Tie-Dye shows you just about everything you could ask, but it is now out of print and hard to find. Another DVD, True Tie Dye's Tie Dye 101 - The Basics of Making Exceptional Tie Dye, is an ideal complete introduction to tie-dyeing for beginners and includes a clear demonstration of the spiral. Either of these DVDs - or both! - is the next best thing to an in-person demonstration; they will show you the details of exactly how to do it, far better than any book or web site can.


Back to list of FAQs

 Home Page     Hand Dyeing Top     Gallery    About Dyes    How to Dye    How to Tie Dye    How to Batik    Low Water Immersion Dyeing    Sources for Supplies    Book Reviews    Other Galleries    Groups    FAQs     Custom Dyers    Forum    Q&A blog    link here    search    contact me  

All of the pages on this site are copyright ©1998‑2024 Paula E. Burch, Ph.D.

This page was created: November 14, 1999;
Last updated: September 13, 2009;
Downloaded: Wednesday, May 22, 2024.