Make Your Own 1971 Tie-Dye Abstract Painting!

It’s an original “me”. I tie-dyed it with Rit!

Tie-dying was really hot in the 70s, with the hippie/boho vibe going strong. Most of tie-dying was for T-shirts, clothing, and the occasional pair of socks. But Rit Dye pounced on the tie-dye craze to show that you could do other types of groovy DIY projects. This ad, from 1971, shows how a “grande artiste” like you could make your own original abstract tie-dye painting.

How to tie-dye your original.

How to tie-dye your original:

MATERIALS: 4 foot square of white 100% cotton sail cloth. Rit liquid (or powder) Purple, Fuchsia, Kelly Green Dyes. Rubber Gloves, eye dropper or squeeze bottle. Rubber Bands. Two shallow pans. Launder fabric, lay out flat and tie while damp.

  • 1. Make 8 big donut knots in fabric, at random, and secure each tightly with a rubber band. (follow diagrams A, B and C. – in photo above.)
  • 2. With eye dropper or squeeze bottle, squeeze undiluted Liquid Kelly Green (or concentrated powder dye solution) into center and around tied area of each knot.
  • 3. Loosely tie donuts together (Diagram D.)
  • 4. Prepare Purple dye solution (1/4 cup liquid dye or 1/2 package powder dye) into one quart hot tap water. Heat to simmering temperature.
  • 5. Place tied fabric, donut knot side down, into dye solution so that dye comes up to band securing donuts.
  • 6. Simmer for 30 minutes. Rinse while still tied.
  • 7. Prepare Fuchsia dye solution (see step 4 above).
  • 8. Place fabric in dye solution, donut knot side up, so that dye just reaches band-securing knots. (Donuts are not in dye.)
  • 9. Simmer 30 minutes. Rinse while still tied.
  • 10. Remove all rubber bands. Rinse again under cool running water until rinse water runs clear. Squeeze out excess moisture. Iron while damp.

Have fun doing this great retro artwork project! 🙂


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