Scrunch Tie-Dyed Pants

March 29 2021

It’s scrunch time! This tie-dye technique is a foolproof way to add some psychedelic patterns utilizing all your favorite colors. Pro tip: the tighter you secure the scrunch, the more white space you’ll see in the final piece.

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  1. Prewash pants in warm, soapy water. This helps to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.
  2. Lay pants out on a flat surface.
  3. Scrunch a section of the pants and secure with rubber bands. Repeat scrunching various sections of the pants. With each section, vary the amount of fabric scrunched. Continue until the majority of the pants are scrunched.
  4. Wearing rubber gloves, mix 2 tablespoons of well-shaken liquid dye with two cups of hot tap water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Pour into a squirt bottle. Shake well.
  5. Repeat the process to create as many dye bottles as desired.
  6. Place bound pants on a baking rack with a tray under it. This keeps the dye from puddling under the fabric.
  7. Squeeze dye onto pants in random sections. Flip over and repeat.
    • If you are trying to achieve sections of white space, purposely leave certain sections of the fabric white and undyed.
  8. To set the dye, do the following while the fabric is still tied up:
    • Apply Rit ColorStay Dye Fixative with a squeeze bottle, which will enhance the colors and reduce bleeding. Mix 2 tablespoons of well-shaken ColorStay Dye Fixative with water and apply liberally to both sides of the fabric.
    • After applying ColorStay Dye Fixative, wrap the fabric in plastic wrap, seal the edges and lay the wrapped fabric out in the sun for an hour. If you live somewhere cold, you can use a chair dryer to apply heat. Slowly apply heat by passing the hair dryer back and forth across the item, about 2-3” from the surface for two minutes on each side.
  9. Rinse in cold water until rinse water begins to run clear. This is very important to prevent unabsorbed dye from bleeding into any white areas. If possible, rinse with the fabric bundle sitting flat on the baking rack. If it is held vertically, some of the unabsorbed dye could run into white areas as it is rinsed off.
  10. Carefully remove rubber bands with a scissors and unfold the fabric.
  11. Wash in cold water with a mild detergent, rinse and dry.
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