Tie Dye Your Way to Pride
By: Maria Spiridigliozzi
Let me be totally honest, large crowds sometimes freak me out. Loud sudden noises, and even loud sustained noises, sometimes freak me out. Waiting for many hours in a large crowd, sometimes freaks me out. What I’m saying is, my anxiety disorder and the typical Pride parades and parties are not a good match.
I like to celebrate pride in other ways. Some things that are fun are supporting LGBTQIA+ artists, seeing a concert (Hi Mitski!), going to an event (QueerFest in Silverlake is a chill alternative to the Pride parades in West Hollywood). What always makes me feel connected to the community is outwardly showing my pride through my craft projects.
How to Tie Dye Your Way to Pride
Pick your shirt!
This can be any type of white or light (the closer to white the better) colored shirt. Above are the shirts I used today.
A great way to show your pride before even touching any dye is to pick up some Pride swag from your local shops. Check out any LGBTQIA+ owned businesses in your area. If that’s not an option, some of the big stores have a line of Pride clothing that is A+ (Saturday School, Ralph Lauren will even put your name on this sweatshirt, Madewell, H&M)
Prep your area!
There aren’t many things you need to tie-dye. If you’ve got a tarp or giant plastic sheet ala Twin Peaks then you can lay them down inside and have this party in your bathroom or living room. I don’t have such things so I cut up a trash bag and used that to cover my coffee table. Who says luxury isn’t possible on a budget?
It’s also a good idea to use gloves when working with tie-dye. Dye is right there in the name, so if you don’t use gloves expect some colorful fingers for a day or two.
Rubber bands make for the best hold, they just snap right into place. If you want to tie your shirt with string grab a buddy to help hold the shirt while you tie around it.
Scissors are optional. I used them to cut up one of the shirts as it was GIANT and as you can see it makes a much better tank top.
Prepping your shirt
The dye adheres better to wet fabric, so you’ll want to give your shirt a lil’ bath before you start. Once it’s nice and damp ring out any excess water. See here.
Start your design!
Designs in tie-dye shirts are all based on the tie part. So however you twist your shirt will dictate how the colors show up. I’m partial to the crumple method and the traditional spiral, but you can find so many others online.
For the spiral (see above)- pinch up where you want the center of the spiral. On this shirt, I went just above center and to one side so it kind of sprays across the chest. If you’re going to crop, take into consideration where the crop will be. Sometimes it helps to cut the shirts beforehand so you know exactly what you’re working with. But honestly, go with your gut on this one. As you can see I cut this so it’s a tank top.
Once you’re satisfied start rubberbanding around. I used 4 rubber bands to really hold it in place.
Crumple method (see above) is exactly what it sounds like, you crumble. This one runs the risk of coming out either all one color or very muddy if you use a lot of the dye. The basic method is, lay the shirt flat and start crumpling it up until it’s as crumpled as you like. The more wrinkles the more interesting the design.
Then start rubberbanding. It helps to keep them in a sort of spiderweb formation.
Get to dying!
Literally, this is where you lay down on the floor and wait for the imminent cold hands of death to grab you. Just kidding! It’s time to cover these shirts in fabric dye. As you can see some of my containers are already full and some aren’t. This is only because I’ve already used this tie dye set before. The dye will last a good while once you’ve mixed it.
To mix your dye simply add a little tap water to the bottle then shake. Once you’re pretty sure the dye is incorporated fill the bottle to just below the top and shake again to really mix that dye.
Now is the really fun part, where you take dye to fabric. This time, as I’m making shirts to wear for Pride, I was inspired by Kush Queen’s Rainbow CBD Bath Bomb (which comes in the Relax blend).
You will see there are these great lines of distinct color in the bath bomb and I wanted to mimic that on the shirt.
The other shirt takes inspiration from my personal sexual identity as pansexual. In case you’re unfamiliar it means I’m attracted to people across the gender spectrum and when choosing a partner am interested in people across the gender spectrum.
Pride is the perfect time to support those in the LGBTQIA+ community as well as bear your (literal) flag.
Once the top layer is completely covered in dye, flip it over and cover the back side. Here’s an example of my pansexual shirt top and bottom covered in dye.
Let it rest!
Yeah, there’s an exclamation point there, because now is when you wrap these puppies in some plastic and let them marinate. It’s the perfect time to pop that CBD Bath Bomb in the tub and relax for an hour (or two).
The dye needs to really set into the fabric so you can leave these as short as two hours or as long as a week depending on your dye.
Most dyes suggest up to 24 hours. The longer you let it marinate the easier it will be to rinse the dye out and the more vibrant the dye will be once it is washed out.
Unravel and rinse!
As you can see my shirts came out pretty damned good! Very excited to rock these around Pride all month long.
Once you unravel you can either rinse them in the bathtub by hand or put them in the washing machine on a delicates cycle.
Truthfully, this is the part I messed up on. I tried hand rinsing before switching to the washing machine and then my boyfriend accidentally included them in a load of normal clothes, so they’re extra faded now.
If you can line drying then I would highly recommend that. You don’t want a ton of heat involved in drying. If you don’t want to/can’t line dry, then you can use a normal dryer on low.
Now all thats left to do is get out there and show off your hard work! Tie-dye your way to your own Pride!
Don’t forget to follow and tag @kushqueenshop & @kushqueenco in your Instagram posts and stories!
Shop Kush Queens Pride Collection and 20% of all sales will directly benefit Trans Lifeline; a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to critical needs with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education.