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Create your own upcycled, natural tie-dye tee

24th July 2017

At Pukka, our mission is to connect people to plants and for us this means heading to a whole range of amazing events throughout the year. This also means we must be mindful of the impact these events could potentially have from a sustainability point of view. This is the inspiration behind our upcycled Pukka tie-dye festival tees.

In nature there is no waste, everything is used and this is the principle that we like to apply to our events too. When we are planning for and running our events, our team works hard to ensure that we leave no footprint or ever use any materials that are damaging to the planet. 

We think carefully about where materials have come from and where they are going, exploring how we can create something amazing (and sustainable) for events using re-purposed materials (like unused scaffolding planks to build our Island of Tranquility).

This year, we also came up with the idea of creating our own upcycled Pukka tie dye tees for the team to wear whilst out on our summer festival tour. There’s a huge amount of fabric that ends up in landfill each year which is why we think this project is so cool; it’s gives these second-hand t-shirts a second life. What could be better than finding something that has been pre-loved and turning it into something that’s more beautiful?

The dyes we used were all natural (turmeric and beetroot) and came out so well that we wanted to share this simple DIY upcycling project with you. Be sure to share your natural tie-dye masterpieces with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #PukkaFest.

Step 1: Prepare your fabric for dyeing

Use rubber bands to create a pattern on your fabric (check out these fun design ideas).

Once you’re satisfied with your design, it’s time to treat your fabric with a fixative.
If you are making a plant/veggie based dye, mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water and bring to a boil. Simmer your fabric in this solution for one hour prior to dyeing.

When done simmering, run under cool water and wring out the excess water.

Step 2: Make your natural dye

We tried beetroot and turmeric to create pink and yellow natural dyes, but you can experiment with different plants to create the colour you are after.

For the beetroot dye, chop your beetroot into small pieces, measure them and put in a medium to large saucepan. Add twice as much water as beetroot (for example 1 cup chopped beetroot to 2 cups water).

For the turmeric dye, the proportions are 1-2 tbsp turmeric to 3-4 cups water.

Bring the mixtures the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for one hour. Strain the mixtures keeping the liquid, this is your dye.

The longer you let the beetroot sit in the water, the stronger your dye is going to be, you can leave the mixture overnight (without heat) to get a super strong dye.

Step 3: Dye your fabric

Wearing gloves, place your fabric into dye containers and allow them to sit for as long as you can (we recommend at least an hour).

Once your fabric has reached the desired colour (remember, the colour will lighten a little when the fabric is dry), take the fabric out of the dye and rinse with cool water separately until the water runs clear.

Step 4: Hang out your fabric

Remove the rubber bands and hang out your fabric on a washing line outside.
Step back and admire your handy-work, then leave to dry.

We’d love to see your natural tie-dye masterpieces. Share them with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #PukkaFest.

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