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How to Tie Dye Small Items (Face Masks! Socks! Hair Accessories!)

‘Tis the season for crafting up gifts for the special people in your life (yourself included!). In my opinion, making a big batch of tie dyed items customized to each person’s taste is an awesome way to make everyone feel special with a handmade gift just for them while crossing many people off of your list in one go.

Small items, such as socks, hair accessories, and face masks, make excellent stocking stuffers as well as gifts for the people on your list you don’t want to forget like teachers, postal workers, and other essential workers who go the extra mile for our communities, especially during this crazy year we’ve all been experiencing.

In this tutorial, we’re sharing our favorite simple patterns for tie dyeing socks, face masks, headbands, and scrunchies. You can find these dyeable items, along with all the tie dye supplies you’ll need, over in the TNTP Shop!

YOU’LL NEED: 

*Included in our Tie Dye Kits!

PREP

If tie dyeing indoors, pick a spot in your home you’re comfortable tie dyeing in, like your kitchen, basement, garage, or playroom. Cover your work surface with a plastic table cloth, be it a table or the floor. If working at a table, you can also put a plastic tarp down on the floor.

Put on gloves (always tie dye in them!) and an apron or smock if you want to protect your clothes.

Make your dye by following manufacturer’s instructions. Most tie dyes, besides Tulip One-Step, require you to prep your fabric using soda ash and water, so be sure not to miss that step! If using Tulip One-Step, just dampen your fabric and it’s ready for dyeing! Washing items before using any dye is recommended but not required. (I almost never do it!) If using Tulip One-Step Dye, pour up to a packet of powder into a 4 oz tie dye bottle, add water, and shake. To make pastels or mix your own colors, check out our Tie Dye Color Chart here!

Set out your dye, dyeables, rubber bands, paper towels, and a dye rack, if you’re using one. Before tying up your items, dampen them by running them under water or dunking them in a bowl or bin of water. Ring out items so they’re damp, not dripping.

Now you’re ready to tie dye!

MASKS (Find them here!)

Swirl

Lay mask out flat and pinch in the middle. Twist up into a little cinnamon bun and secure by wrapping one rubberband around the center, then another going in the opposite direction. You should have a circle that has four quadrants.

Dye each quadrant a different color. When you open it up after soaking, you’ll reveal a swirl!

Bullseye

Lay mask out flat and pinch in the middle, tying a rubber band in the very center of your mask. Pull the mask up from the tip and add rubber bands incrementally down the mask until you have numerous sections divided by rubber bands (5 rubberbands & 6 sections pictured here).

Dye each section a different color. When you open it up after soaking, you’ll reveal a bullseye!

Horizontal Stripe

Layout mask and accordion fold, folding one ear strap side towards the next. Tie a few rubber bands tightly around the mask, spacing them out from one another to leave room in between each one. If you use only one color, like we did here, it’s important for the rubber bands to be as tight as possible to ensure you reveal white lines after dyeing.

Each section can be dyed a different color, or they can all be dyed the same color. If different colors, you’ll reveal a rainbow of horizontal stripes. If the same color, you’ll have an awesome shibori-style mask!

Scrunch

Lay mask flat and scrunch little-by-little towards the center. Secure scrunch however you like with rubberbands, keeping the scrunching in tact.

Add one or more colors, spread out across the surface of your item in drops of varying sizes. If using only one color, be sure to leave small sections of white to ensure a nice balance of color and negative space! (See Scrunched Socks below for a multi-colored version.)

SOCKS (Find them here!)

Horizontal Stripe

Simply add rubber bands going down the length of the sock, leaving space between each rubber band.

Each section can be dyed a different color, or they can all be dyed the same color. If different colors, you’ll reveal a rainbow of horizontal stripes. If the same color, you’ll have awesome shibori-style socks!

Vertical Stripe

Layout sock and accordion fold, folding one end of the sock towards the other. Tie a few rubber bands tightly around the sock, spacing them out from one another to leave room in between each one.

Dye each section a different color for a fun color mix, or use all the same color for shibori-style socks!

Scrunch

Lay sock flat and scrunch little-by-little towards the center. Secure scrunch however you like with rubberbands, keeping the scrunching in tact.

Add one or more colors, spread out across the surface of your item in drops of varying sizes. If using only one color, be sure to leave small sections of white to ensure a nice balance of color and negative space! (See Mask above for a single-colored version.)

Bullseye (from the heel)

Lay sock out flat and tie a rubber band around the heal. Bend the sock in half at the heal with the rubberband heal pointing up and both of the sock halves hanging down. Add rubber bands incrementally down the sock until you have numerous sections divided by rubber bands (5 rubberbands & 6 sections pictured here).

Dye each section a different color for a bullseye effect! You can also tie your rubber bands extra tightly and add only one color for fun shibori-style socks!

HEADBANDS (Find them here!)

Horizontal Stripe

Layout headband and accordion fold, folding one ear strap side towards the next. Tie a few rubber bands tightly around the headband, spacing them out from one another to leave room in between each one. If you use only one color, it’s important for the rubber bands to be as tight as possible to ensure you reveal white lines after dyeing.

Each section can be dyed a different color, or they can all be dyed the same color. If different colors, you’ll reveal a rainbow of horizontal stripes. If the same color, you’ll have an awesome shibori-style mask!

Scrunch

Lay headband flat and scrunch little-by-little towards the center. Secure scrunch however you like with rubberbands, keeping the scrunching in tact.

Add one or more colors, spread out across the surface of your item in drops of varying sizes. If using only one color, be sure to leave small sections of white to ensure a nice balance of color and negative space! (See Mask for a single-colored version.)

HAIR SCRUNCHIES (Find them here!)

Colorblocked

Pinch scrunchie into a straight line and tie a few rubber bands tightly around it, spacing them out from one another to leave room in between each one.

Dye each section a different color for a color block effect!

Scrunch

Haphazardly wrap rubberbands around the scrunchie until the whole thing is scrunched up but still flat and secured with rubberbands throughout.

Add one or more colors, spread out across the surface of your item in drops of varying sizes. If using only one color, be sure to leave small sections of white to ensure a nice balance of color and negative space! (See Mask for a single-colored version.)

SOAKING, RINSING & WASHING

Soaking

When you’ve finished dyeing, place each item in a separate ziplock bag or wrap it up with plastic wrap to keep the item moist while the dye sets. (We recommend continuing to reuse each plastic bag!) Choose whichever method will most easily prevent the different colors from making contact with one another. For example, a long, skinny bullseye will be better off wrapped in plastic wrap like a burrito, rather than coiled up to fit into a plastic bag.

If using Tulip One-Step Dye, let your items sit for 8-24 hours to absorb the dye. The longer your dye sits, the more intense the color will turn out. If using a different dye, follow the length of time indicated on your dye instructions.

Rinsing

Once your dye has set, it’s time for the moment of truth. Throw those gloves back on, head over to a sink or tub, and remove all rubber bands to reveal your creations! Rinse each item separately under warm water, rinsing out excess dye until the water runs clear. If you’re rinsing multiple items, be sure not to pile them on top of each other as you go, as the wet dye will transfer.

Washing

Be sure to wash items right after rinsing as colors can bleed into the white if they sit and will stain those areas. If you need to wait, it’s best to lay your item flat in the meantime so wet colors don’t run onto other parts of the fabric.

You can wash and dry items with like colors together. Set your washing machine to the smallest load and run it on your temperature of choice (I usually do warm and always have great, long-lasting results). If you’re only dyeing a few items in all different colors, you can hand wash and hang dry. Just be sure to continue hand washing or wash only with your darkest darks for the first few loads.

PASS ON THE TIE DYE LOVE

Your tie dye goodies are ready to gift or rock yourself! You can find more tie dye tutorials here in our Online Craft Studio!

Be sure to tag us on Instagram @theneonteaparty if you try any of our tips from this tutorial so we can check out your wonderful creations! Happy crafting, and happy holidays!!

Peace, love & neon,
Marisa

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