Bored of black vs white scrimmages? Are your old white scrim tops more of a grey colour after spending their life in your kit bag? Want to show off your true colours during Pride month? We’ve got the perfect craft project for you!
You will need:
White T-shirt or vest (cotton or cotton blend will always work best) with your team logo on the front
Powder dyes suitable for tie dyeing (I use Procion MX dyes)
Soda ash dye fixer
Squeezy bottles (yep, like the ones you get ketchup in!)
Marker pen (optional)
Sandwich bags/carrier bags
Newspaper/plastic sheet to stop you dyeing the floor!
First things first, wash your shirt! If it’s an old shirt, you’ll want to get all the sweat and derby grime out of it, but also, if its a brand new shirt it could have chemicals left in it from the manufacturing/printing process. There’s no need to dry the shirt, just move straight on to the next step.
Soak! You want to soak your shirts for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of soda ash and warm water. The instructions on the pack tend to say 1 cup of soda ash per gallon of water. Mix it together in a big bucket until it dissolves and then add your shirts.
Spin your shirts in a washing machine or squeeze out the liquid by hand. Once your shirt is no longer dripping, drape it over your hand, logo down, with your index finger in the centre of your team logo. Let the t-shirt cover your hand and pinch the top of the fabric where your finger is. Secure with an elastic band.
Start to ‘tie’ your shirt up with elastic bands! You can do this by wrapping the bands irregularly around the shirt until you end up with a kind of unicorn horn. Or you can divide the shirt into even sections with the elastic bands.
Now to make the dyes! In the squeezy bottles, with gloves on, mix the dye power with warm water, shaking to mix. The dyes I use recommend 2 teaspoons of the dye powder to 8oz of water. More dye will create a deeper colour and more water will create a pastel effect. To be honest, I just eyeball it! I love mixing the dyes to create new colours too!
This next step is optional, but I always write on each bottle what colour it is. The dyes don’t always look the same as the colour they’re supposed to be!
It’s time to dye! With your tied up shirt on newspaper or a plastic sheet, start with a nice light colour and apply the dye to the tip. Now work your way along the colours of the rainbow (I go for either YORVIBG or I add in a bit of pink PRVIBGYO) making sure you add enough dye to penetrate through all the fabric, but not leave it saturated and dripping. Bigger t-shirts will take more dye than smaller ones. The type of fabric can also effect how much dye is soaked up.
Now the hardest part for me: wait. Put each shirt into its own plastic bag, taking care to not let the different coloured areas touch each other and leave the dye to do its thing for 4 – 24 hours… It’s so hard! I just want to see what it looks like! The longer you leave the dye the stronger the colours will be and the less chance they have to wash out.
24 hours later it’s finally time to rinse them out. Untie the elastic bands or cut them off if you’re impatient. I find it’s best to do this stage in the shower or with a tap running so you can rinse as you untie and avoid any unwanted dye splodges. If you’re just doing the one shirt you can rinse it out really well by hand, until the water runs clear, and it’ll be ready to wear as soon as it’s dry. If you’re doing an entire Pride parade’s worth then I find it much easier to stick the whole lot in the washing machine on a quick cycle!
Leave your new creation to dry and it’ll be ready to wear and wow all your derby pals!
Kent Roller Girls will be taking part in the Canterbury Pride parade on Saturday 9th June and enjoying the entertainment in the Dane John park afterwards. Say hi if you see us and grab a free rainbow sticker and a flyer for our next FREE Open Day!