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Tie Dyeing is a method of decorating cloth by dyeing the cloth and preventing the dye from reaching certain parts of your cloth. You can tie dye almost anything: a t-shirt, socks, a handkerchief, a towel, sheets, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

The first thing you want to do is to select an item to dye (you might want to practice first on an old t-shirt or cloth if you've never tie dyed before.)

Then you need to prepare the dye. You can buy dye at a craft store, but it's much more fun to make your own. People have been making natural dyes from plants and earth for a long time. If you are going to make your own dyes, you will want to test them on an old rag before using it on your final project to make sure you like the color.

Making plant dyes is fairly simple. You will need a small pot, the leaves or fruits you plan to use, and some water.

Place the pot on the stove (you may want to get an adult to help you with this part), fill it with a little water (The more water you add, the weaker your colors will be. You will need to experiment with the amount of water you add to get the color you desire). Place the fruits/plants in the water and turn on the stove. Allow the contents of the pot to simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and allow its contents to cool. Alternatively, you could place your plants/fruits in a bowl, pour boiling water over them, and allow your mixure to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

The next step is to make a filter to strain the plants/fruits from the dye. If the pieces are large, you could pour the liquid through a strainer into a bowl. If a lot of plant/fruit pieces are still in the dye, place a coffee filter in the strainer and pour the dye through once more.

You can now test your dyes. Dip an old rag or sock into the dye, squeeze out any excess dye and allow it to dry. If you like to color, your dye is ready to use--if not, you'll want to try again.

Here are a few suggestion of colors to try:
RED: beetroot, cherries, or red cabbage
YELLOW: onion skins
GREEN: spinach
BROWN: iodine, coffee, or tea
BLUE: dissolve a teaspoon of flour in about half a cup of water and add a drop or two of iodine
PURPLE: blackberries

Experiment with other plants to what colors you can come up with.

Once you have perfected your dyes, you can start to tie dye. The first thing you need to decide is where you would like patterns to appear on your cloth. Pinch the cloth where you would like the pattern to appear and pull some of the cloth into a cone. Then take a rubber band and and wrap it *tightly* around the base of your cone (Remember that you want to keep the dye from reaching this area). Wrap another rubberband closer to the tip of the cone. Repeat this procedure wherever you would like white patterns to appear.

Once you have done this, dip your cloth into the dye (you can use more than one color on a shirt, but try not to overlap them as this often creates a muddy brown color). Ring the excess dye from the cloth then set it aside and allow it to dry. Once it is dry, you can remove the rubberbands. Rinse the cloth in cold water and then allow it to dry. And now you're done.

You will want to avoid washing your tie dyed cloth with other pieces of clothing as some of the colors may bleed.