Posted on May 24th, 2014
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been attracted to things that are tie-dyed. I love the fluid shapes and patterns and the vibrant colours. Fortunately for me, tie-dyed clothing is one of the 80s trends I like that came back! (Along with some that make me wince a little, such as crimped hair.)
I have also always wanted a pair of Converse high-tops, ever since Grade 9 when I spent many hours drawing a beat-up black Chuck featured in my culminating still-life in art class. (We got our still-life materials from a closet in the art room that was full of interesting crap.) At age 14, I did not feel I could pull off the necessary coolness/attitude for high-tops. Now that I’m an adult, I know what’s important, which is: I don’t care if I pull them off.
I ended up putting those two ideas together after getting all excited about design-your-own shoes on the Converse website and then having my dreams crushed because Converse.com DOES NOT SHIP TO CANADA and furthermore DOES NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT FROM ANY CANADIAN INSTITUTION INCLUDING PAYPAL ACCOUNTS FROM CANADA. (Not that I’m bitter.)
The solution? Dye my own. (IN YO FACE, Converse.com!)
I went out and procured two “One-Step Tie-Dye” kits by Tulip. I had to get two, because I wanted all the pretty colours, please.
If you’ll notice, one kit says it will dye up to 20 projects, and the other up to 30 projects… and the dye apparently starts to lose potency after 45 minutes. Ergo, by my calculations, that meant: dye a whole truckload of stuff!! Or as much stuff as I could reasonably afford.
Here are a few things I learned from the DIY Tie-Dye Extravaganza chez Dilovely:
- Paper towels: YES.
- Plasticized tablecloth: YES YES YES. (Dye washes right off with water.)
- Plastic gloves from the kit: nice idea but they SUCK. Rip at the slightest provocation.
- Reading the whole instruction booklet first: a good idea. It’s full of solid advice.
- I would add to the advice: if you don’t want to have droplets of the wrong colour in random places, put your fingertip over the tip of the bottle when positioning it.
- Also, if you want lots of control over what the dye does, use a sponge to apply dye instead of tipping it straight from the bottle.
- We tried three of the different techniques for shirts described in the instructions: bullseye, spiral, and “scrunching”.
- They all work! Make sure you use lots of dye to penetrate the folds.
- If your helper is a small child, make sure he has had a full snack before you start.
- If your small-child helper is a mini-perfectionist, working with liquid dye might produce tears and/or screaming.
- If the end result is cool enough, your small-child helper will forget all about the tragic parts of the adventure.
- The rinsing part takes forever – but you can make it more efficient by squeezing in a top-down direction.
- As to the staining of rubber soles: tiny spots that got in around the tape washed right off the Converse and the adult shoes, so my precautions were probably unnecessary. The only soles that seemed to stain were the kid shoes. I’m hoping it’ll come off with baking soda and a toothbrush.
- We kept the bottles, and there’s a refill dye packet for every colour… so I may be ready to try this again in a year or so.
Don’t you want to go try it yourself?
P.S.: If you’re a shoe-lover and a Canuck, I can recommend ShoeMe.ca. My Converse came from there, hassle-free, free shipping and returns on everything – but they ONLY SHIP WITHIN CANADA. Just so you know. The company tells me you can get $50 off $100 with your first order – just for being MY friend!! – by using this link. http://shoemeca.refr.cc/