Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Arts and Crafts/Tie-Dye

Arts and Crafts
North American Division
Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 2006

1. Know what the best types of materials are for dyeing and how to prepare them for dyeing.


The best types of material contain at least 80% cellulose. This includes:

  • Cotton
  • Rayon
  • Linen
  • Tencel (Lyocell)

Before tie-dyeing, the material should be washed to remove any sizing (a substance found on new clothing), and then soaked in a bath of soda ash.

2. Know what the purpose of the Soda Ash is and how long the fabric is to soak.


Submerging the fabric in a solution of soda ash prepares the fibers of the cloth for permanent chemical bonding with the dye used in tie-dyeing. The folded and tied fabric may be submerged in a bath of soda ash solution for 5–30 minutes. Dye is then applied, either by submerging the cloth bundle in a bath of dye or by squirting dyes onto specific areas of the fabric. Alternatively, the soda ash may be added directly to the dye solution rather than soaking the fabric in a solution of soda ash. After 12–48 hours, depending temperature, dye, and the desired brightness of the final product, the fabric can be rinsed and unwrapped.

3. Know the purpose of the Urea that is mixed with the Dye.


Urea helps to dissolve the dye. It also slows the drying process which allows the dyes to produce vivid colors.

4. What safety equipment should be worn when mixing up the dye for Tie-Dyeing? Why?


At a minimum, an apron and gloves should be worn. Soda ash is somewhat caustic, so you do not want to get it on your skin or on your clothing. You should be aware that dye will color your skin and clothing as easily as it colors a tee-shirt.

5. Determine what the three primary colors are.


The three primary colors for dyes are red, blue, and yellow.

6. Verbally describe what primary colors of dye will be needed to make the following secondary colors. Orange, Green, & Purple.


Orange, green, and purple are called the secondary colors because they are each made by mixing two primary colors. To make Mix this and this

  • Orange = Yellow + Red
  • Green = Blue + Yellow
  • Purple = Red + Blue
Mix this and this To make
Yellow + Red = Orange
Blue + Yellow = Green
Red + Blue = Purple

7. Verbally describe what the outcome will be if two secondary colors are mixed.


Mixing two secondary colors will produce a shade of brown. This is the same as mixing all three primaries (though it will not be an equal mix of the primaries).

8. Use a Kleenex tissue & colored marker to demonstrate two different types of folds one could do on a T-shirt.


Fold the tissue using one of the patterns describe below or make up your own pattern. Once the tissue has been folded, color it with a marker. Then unfold it to see the result.

Below is a list of common modern tie-dying folds and patterns.



Bullseyes involve a central point which is bound, as though poking the fabric with a finger or stick then binding the protrusion every 1-2 inches. Usually different color dyes are applied to each bound section to create rings of color.



Horizontal or vertical stripes are created by pleating the fabric into several small folds, causing the dye to spread laterally. Horizontal pleats make vertical lines, and vertical pleats make horizontal lines.



Spiral patterns involve pleats of fabric arranged in swirls around a central point, bundled into a round bun often resembling a cinnamon bun or a snail's shell. Different wedges of the circular bun are dyed different colors.

The 'V' shape achieved by folding a shirt in half vertically, then a line is drawn diagonally from the shoulder area down to the center fold of the shirt. The fabric is then accordion folded along the line and bound into one or more areas to which the dye is applied.



This category can hold several different patterns, the majority of which have nothing to do with each other; they can be combinations or they can be as chaotic as bundling the item to be dyed to resemble a plucked chicken.

9. Once you have seen the outcome of the different folds you have created on tissue, fold & dye an item for yourself. Bandana, t-shirt, pillowcase, etc… Always keep in mind, no two items will be identical, nor will they be perfect. Each item will be as unique as the individual who made it.


Cover your work surface with a large sheet of plastic before beginning. After folding and tying your cloth, soak it in a solution of soda ash for 30 minutes. After removing it from the soda bath, place the item on the plastic sheet and use squirt bottles to spray the dye on to the fabric. Use as many colors as you like, following the color mixing guidelines presented above to achieve the desired effect. You may also submerge the item in a vat of dye.

When you are finished applying the dye, wrap the item in cellophane and let it sit for 24 hours. Then rinse it in cold water until the dye stops running. Wash it in hot water the first couple of times it is laundered, but do not wash it with other clothing, as there is a good chance of ruining them.

10. Wear or bring this item to the next meeting for your club members to see.


If you are doing this on your own instead of as a club, make sure you clear this with your counselor or director ahead of time. Many clubs award "merit points" for wearing the proper uniform to a club meeting, and you do not want to lose points because you didn't think ahead!

Why not combine this honor with Silk Screen Printing as a creative way for your club to make new field uniforms?