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To dye for: embracing this season’s colourful trend on a budget

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Once the reserve of 1960s dress-up parties and holiday resort shops, since Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, and Stella McCartney brought tie dye to the runway ready for spring and summer there’s been no better time to embrace this colourful statement. 

Fear not, though, because you don’t have to sacrifice your entire student loan to get on board with this trend - in fact, you can do so for the price of a couple of coffees from the uni library.

Dylon sent us some of their hand dyes so that we could try it out for ourselves using a lesser-known technique called ice dyeing, and here’s how it went:

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What you’ll need

 

Image credit: Charlotte Torode

Conveniently, everything required for this makeover (except the dye) is stuff you’ve probably already got lying around the house: most of us either went to a school that required white shirts as part of the uniform, or did a bit of waiter-ing for some extra cash and now have a white shirt hanging unworn in our wardrobe, and a white cotton or linen piece of clothing forms the foundation of this project. Then you’ll just need ice cubes, rubber gloves, a cooling rack, and a large tray or washing up bowl. 

The shirt before

Image credit: Charlotte Torode

 

What to do

The first step is to find an old cotton or linen piece of clothing, wash it, and squeeze out the excess water. Then, whilst it’s still damp, crumple it up into a bundle (you can be strategic here if you’ve got a certain pattern in mind - I folded mine into a concertina, with hopes of achieving stripes).

 Image credit: Charlotte Torode

Following this, you’ll need to lie your cooling rack over the washing up bowl or tray (I also recommend lying some newspaper down to catch rogue ice cubes). Then simply pop your crumpled up clothing onto the cooling rack and cover it with ice cubes.  Now sprinkle the dye all at random all over the ice cubes.

 Image credit: Charlotte Torode

Finally, leave the ice to melt for at least two hours to ensure the dye seeps into the fabric.  Once you’ve done this, rinse out the excess dye until the water runs clear and leave your new garment to dry!

 Image credit: Charlotte Torode

What we thought

 

This was such an easy process! So often I attempt home craft projects and they never end up looking anything like the picture in the instructions, but this is a definite exception. I have a lot of old white clothes that are in perfectly good condition, other than the fact they’ve gone slightly grey or have the odd stain on them, and this is a great way to keep them out of the bin and in my wardrobe.

 

Image credit: Charlotte Torode

Also, there’s no reason why you need to stop at clothes; if you can find a big enough tray ice-dyeing would make a really pretty wall-hanging (and we all know how much students love a wall-hanging!)

 

The only downside is how addictive I’ve found it; now I want to dye everything in my wardrobe, so my sock drawer had better watch out.




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