A Touch of Tie Dye

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In theory, I like tie dye. I always stop to look at the tie dyed clothing-selling stands at festivals. I even consider buying a shirt sometimes, but usually remember just before a purchase that I’m a little too old for the hippie look, Amelia doesn’t like it, and how would you wash such a thing anyway?

And actually making a tie dyed garment? Just looking at the RIT dye in the supermarket confuses and scares me.

So I was intrigued by this permanent marker version, and the scientific explanation of why it works. Still wondering which of Amelia’s garments we could sacrifice for this experiment, and whether she’d ever wear it again, I came across another piece of brilliance: permanent marker tie dyed socks! What could go wrong?

Very little, at least so far.

It’s very simple. All you need are permanent markers (Bic brand worked best for us, although the tutorial suggests Sharpies), rubbing alcohol, a dropper (we used a disposable medicine dispenser), and some paper towels. Oh, and a pair of socks that need some rainbow brightening.


First we tested the markers. Following the instructions for a shirt, we stretched a portion of an old white apron over the open end of a cup, and secured it with a rubber band. I made a dot with each marker, and dropped some alcohol onto each color. Most colors began to bleed outward immediately, and continued for a few minutes.  Darker colors seemed to work best, and metallic colors didn’t bleed at all. The whole thing created an interesting blurry circle shape.


Next, armed with the best markers, we turned to the socks. Just stuff a folded paper towel inside to keep the ink from going through to the other side of the sock, and go to town! We tried dots, shapes, and finally a heart. Once satisfied with our drawings, we dropped some alcohol on all the colors. They bled nicely on the cotton sock, better than the apron, and the whole thing was really easy and quick to do.  As suggested in the tutorials, I put the socks and apron in a hot dryer for about 15 minutes to dry and set the colors.


We haven’t tried washing our rainbow creations yet, but I’ll probably follow the advice of the original blogger, and wash them separately in hot water just in case.

Have fun!

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