Tutorial: Tie Dyed Paper

All we are saying, is give peace a chance!  Whether you remember the 60's or not, tie-dye is an art form that lives on today. The other day I wondered if I could replicate the same effect on paper. I used to teach tie-dye to children in a community ed class, and we used big buckets with different colors of dye. I certainly didn't want to go that extreme, what a waste of materials. Here is what I came up with:

What you need:
* Dr. PH Martin's Radiant Concentrated Watercolors
OR Re-inkers (Like Ranger Adirondack inks) and eye droppers
* Fine Mist water spritzer
* A spritzing box to protect your work surface. Any corrugated box that is big enough will do. Mine was a flat box that can food cans came in.
* Pliable Paper - I used paper that a breakable item was wrapped in that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, it's not tissue paper but more like industrial weight paper towel. You could use any paper towel, napkins or preferably the kind you find on a roll in a rest-room (no stealing!)
* Rubber Bands
* Rubber gloves, if desired

I found that using a double thickness of the paper (two sheets together) worked best, you get more bang for your ink buck.
To begin, prepare your paper by bunching the paper into finger-shaped sections, and secure randomly with rubber bands.
They should resemble this. You'll want to leave some of the paper showing between the rubber bands where your color can seep in. Repeat this process until you have covered the majority of the paper with rubber band secured bunches.

Next, it's time to apply the color. I used Dr. PH Martin's Watercolors, they need to be shaken up to distribute the pigment. You won't need to do that if you use re-inkers. The eye dropper tip is a great way to apply the color without getting your hands messy. I recommend using rubber gloves or you'll have colorful hands if your not careful.
As you apply the droppers of color to each bunched section, spritz the area with water using your fine-mist spritz bottle. The colors will run into each other, but because the colors are so concentrated using the Dr. PH Martin's, or Ranger Re-inkers, they retain their color quality.

It's really fun to see how wild you can get the color combinations. Keep adding and spritzing. The more water you add, the farther the colors will spread. Once you get the amount of color you want applied, set the paper aside until it is half-dry. Inside, in heated conditions, this took about an hour for me.
It's wise to remove the rubber bands before the project is completely dry. This part can be tricky, I suggest removing them carefully to avoid tearing the paper. This is another reason that using a double thickness of paper works best, you have a stronger product. I ended up using some small, sharp scissors to cut the rubber bands off of some areas, by pulling the band away from the paper before snipping the rubber. After all the bands are removed, smooth the paper out and hang it with clothespins to dry completely.
You will want to iron the paper once it's dry. Use a low heat setting, being careful not to tear the paper. I really didn't have a lot of trouble with that, but if you had any previous tears you might make  them bigger.
Here is another example of the finished product. This example is the one I tried in single thickness, which did have some tears in it. 

I applied sections of the paper to card-stock, using a glue-stick and a brayer to smooth it down. Now I can use it in my art work! This one reminds me of a Monet painting.
Thank's for checking out my very first tutorial. Leave me a comment if you have any questions. Blessings!


MizCarla said...

Great tutorial Lori!!

Thanks for sharing it on Collage Cats!


Miz Carla

Ingrid Dijkers said...

What fun! Thanks for sharing.
My best to you and yours for the New Year-

Christine Mooney said...

I love tie dye. Will try this.
The photos are great. Thanks!

Cheryl said...

Great idea. thanks for the tutorial!

Anonymous said...

It was a wonderful first tut. I love the technique and remember tie dying t-shirts!

Linda DesGroseilliers said...

I was a college student in the late 60's so this technique really takes me back!! It is a must-do for me. Thanks for reminding!

Robin said...

Oh yes I remember the 60's and tie dyeing - this is a great tutorial Lori and much less messy than tie dyeing t-shirts. Thank you.