Getting started with fabric and fibre

Tie and dye

This is a way of creating pattern with fabric dye. It is a ‘resist’ process where parts of the fabric are tied, bound, knotted or sewn so that the colour does not penetrate them when placed in the dye. The tightness of the ties is crucial, as the pattern that emerges is a combination of dyed and undyed areas.

The simplest way of tie-dyeing is to gather up the piece of fabric to be dyed and to tie it with a piece of string. More experienced children will be capable of adding further ties for more complex effects. As they progress they should be encouraged to think about and to plan the effects they wish to create. Ornamental stitchery can be added around the shapes created for added interest. Tie-and-dye activities can be further developed through batik.