Swap-O-Rama-Rama: Part 1- Tie Dye and Silk Screens


Yesterday I went to the Swap-O-Rama-Rama, which I originally heard about in this Meetup group called the Chicago Rebel Craft League (which you can check out here, if you’re interested: http://www.meetup.com/chicagorebelcraftleague/). I’m so glad I heard about it, because it was great!


There were a lot of different stations: tie dye, silk screen, sewing, upcyle tshirt projects, handbags, knitting and crochet, embroidery, button making, and jewelry.

Everyone brings a bag of clothing they don’t want/use anymore, and the volunteers sort out the pieces on tables, which other people can then look through. I got a couple of shirts that I ended up putting silk screen designs on, and some shirt I would like to alter for myself later, plus some pieces that I really liked the print of and will deconstruct into fabric for other projects.

There’s going to be a part 2 post (tomorrow? Maybe) because I did several crafts and I might as well spread out the projects a little. Today, we’ll talk about silk screening and tie dye, with quite a few pictures.

I did the tie dye first because I specifically bought a gigantic white shirt that I wanted to tie dye for a new gym shirt after having read the stations they had last year at this event. I’m training for a 5k in May, and fun workout clothes are just one of my self-motivation ploys. It’s probably not the case that everyone did this at school or camp sometime over the course of their childhood, so here are the steps:

First, you tie rubber bands which will create the white circles, where you want them. Make them as tight as you can, this lets the original color show through as much as possible.

Tie Dye

Then, you dunk it in your vat of dye like so (which smells like vinegar...I didn't do the dye mixing so sorry I don't have directions on that. You can buy kits with all the necessary ingredients).

The longer you leave it in, the darker the color will come out. I probably left this in for about 2-3 minutes. You can leave part of it out so it stays white, or leave it out and then dye that section a different color.

Before you take it out you will squeeze as much of the dye out of it as you can. Then, lay it down and start un-rubber banding it. The section where there are three rings (lower left corner) was from three rubber bands spaced apart slightly.


You'll notice a conspicous abscence of rings on the chest...I wanted to avoid any wierd nipple rings. The back has more on it. The woman at the station also advised me to iron it before washing it in cold water, to help lock the color in.

So, that was the tie dye. It was fun- I ended up wishing I had brought some other things to try it on, even just some plain white fabric I wanted to spruce up. Oh well. Might need to get a tie dye kit next time the mood strikes me and try it at home. It’s kinda messy though.

Next, I did some silk screening projects.

I was delighted to find a square of plain canvas material at one of the swap tables, and decided it would be a cool thing to silk screen and then turn into a tote later with my own sewing machine.

Silk Screen

Make sure you have the correct side of your silk screen facing up (in this case, the lighter side). Then tape it down to your fabric so it stays in place.

I chose the Chicago skyline for my canvas discovery. The station volunteer told me I didn’t need to put the tape all around the piece and could just put a little on each side, but since I then ended up with paint outside the screen, I wish I had gone with my own instincts instead. Oh well.

Chi town

Since I went over the edge a smidge, I decided to do it all around and make it like a funky border.

Then I worked on a shirt for my sister.

I decided on headphones for her. The paint did not dry this bright because of the dark material.

As I went along, I realized it’s best to paint on heavier at the top. Once you’ve covered the design, you’ll “squeegee” the paint downward over the screen with a piece of cardstock or something similar.

Wet paint.

Then I decided I wanted to try something for myself. I found a cute tank top.

I decided to try this one on the edge of the shirt because I wasn't sure it would look right with it in the center of the chest, it has buttons.

Oops. That wet spot is where I had to wipe up some stray paint I smudged on it.

I feel like the smaller designs were harder to get to come out clearly. I also found that if I had a jar of paint that seemed thick, the paint didn’t want to go through the silk screen very easily. So I guess make sure your paint is fairly fresh and not too thick, or it doesn’t come out as well. I did one other too, but I didn’t take pics of it because it’s for someone else!

Whelp, that’s it for today, I’m running out of writing/pictures steam. More in a bit on what else I did at the swap! I’m still feeling wonderfully inspired.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s