How to Get Tie-Dye Colors to Stay Bright

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Whether you're going for a hippie-chic look, getting crafty with your clothes or helping a child create her own 1960s-inspired style, tie-dyeing is a relatively easy way to add some pizazz to your plain white T-shirts or sweatpants. Unless you're aiming for a faded or pastel look, you'll want your tie-dye colors to stay as bold and bright as they look when you mix them up. Before you rinse away all your hard work and let your tie-dye masterpiece fade, take the time to ensure that your colors stay bright.

Step 1

Select the right fabric for your project as a criteria for keeping your colors bright. Opt for 100 percent cotton, wool, linen or rayon pieces, which will accept and hold the dye better than polyester or acrylics.

Step 2

Presoak your fabric in a sodium carbonate, or soda ash, bath to prep the material to better accept the dye.

Step 3

Use the appropriate amount of dye for the weight and dimensions of your tie-dye project. Mix up a batch of dye using more powder or liquid color for larger pieces such as sheets, blankets or oversized shirts; double the amount of the dye to create an ultra-bright hue.

Step 4

Keep your garment in the dye bath for a longer time than what's on the dye label instructions. Let your garment soak for up to one hour to fully saturate it with color and create a brighter shade.

Step 5

Wash your tie-dyed clothes with a mild detergent only. Choose a gentle laundry soap that doesn't contain harsh chemicals or bleach.