For some reason many people get tie dye and batik muddled up; the techniques really are two quite different approaches to colouring, patterning and painting on fabric. There is one similarity however and that is they both involve a resist.
Batik uses hot wax, which is applied on to the fabric with brushes or cantings and sets instantly, resisting any cold water based dye. Layer after layer of wax and dye achieves rich and diverse colours, the resist allowing designs and images to be made by controlling the spread of the dye.
The Tie dye method uses binding as the resist. This simple idea can produce an amazingly intricate array of patterns and designs and can be repeated to achieve more colours and bolder patterns. Various binding cord can be used, twine, nylon cord or string, binding tightly and securely is important to make a good resist.
I chose a relatively quick method of binding my silks scarves with elastic bands. These can be wound quite tightly on dry silk and later removed easily once dyed. Also they can be re-used .
Acid dyes are used to dye silk, wool and protein fibres, the item to be dyed needs to soak in a solution of one part distilled vinegar to two parts water for 10 minutes before dyeing. This lowers the pH of the dye making it slightly acidic, helping the dye molecules bond to the protein fibres.
When 10 minutes have passed gently squeeze the residual vinegar solution off the scarf and lay it either on cling film or in an oven proof dish. it is always good to protect the surface you are using and to wear rubber gloves.
Mix a small amount of dye with hand hot water and add a little boiling hot water to dissolve the dye granules. Apply to the scarf with a dropper or soft paint brush. Seal with cling film and place in an oven proof dish with a small bowl of water to provide steam and stop the scarf from burning.
To fix the dye the silk scarf needs to be microwaved for 5 minutes on full power. Be very careful removing the cling film, hot steam will be released.
After steaming in the microwave rinse in cool water, the water should be clear. Next wash the scarf in soapy water and rinse a few more times to remove any dye or smell of vinegar. Acid dyes are strong and colourfast.
Once dry I used a medium hot iron to smooth out the crinkles.
Various Tie dyed patterns achieved by random bindings with elastic bands.