Art Scene

Zara McDaid

Art Scene: Zara’s festival fashion tips

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THIS week I wanted to share with you a technique that I feel is very festival fashion forward and is thankfully very easy to recreate at home using an old top or dress, a fabric dyeing technique called Dip-Dye.

I think that dip-dye is more chic than tie-dye but just as fun to make. The best thing about this technique is you can adjust the colour saturation by adding water or dye, and you just keep dipping until you like the results!

It’s good to have a few scrap pieces of fabric around for colour tests, and a nice outdoor spot in the sun to work on.


Dip dye can be used on cotton tee shirts, shirts, shorts, dresses, skirts, shoes, to name but a few. Be warned, after you try this you will find yourself wanting to dye everything in sight!

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What you will need:
Fabric dye (try Dylon)
Washing-up bowl
Spoon or stick
Measuring jug
Cotton/polyester cotton blend T-shirt
Rubber gloves
Pins (optional)

You can dye non-white T-shirts but the colour won’t be true
For a more muted shade, dye the T-shirt while it’s damp

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Instructions – Dip Dye:
Step 1: Wash and dry you’re T-shirt: Dye sticks better to clean fabric. Put on some old clothes and head outside, or to your bathroom. Cover surfaces with bin bags.

Step 2: Want to dunk the bottom? Hang it on a normal hanger, the way you’d hang something in your wardrobe. Dyeing the top? Clip a skirt/trouser hanger to the bottom edge.

Step 3: How to mix your dye depends what brand you buy, so follow the instructions on the packet. Typically, you’ll need to mix a packet in a washing-up bowl or steel sink and add salt. Once mixed, use kitchen roll to wipe the edges of the bowl: Even tiny spots of dye can ruin the effect you’re going for.

Step 4: If you want a guide for how far to dip your T-shirt, add a line of pins a centimetre above where you want the dye to end (never dunk over the pins, as that area will look different on your finished garment).


Step 5: For a straight, two-tone dip, carefully dunk the T-shirt into the bowl and drape it over the side: Leave for as long as it says on the packet. For an ombré effect, dip it in for two minutes, then pull about one third of the dyed fabric out of the liquid. Leave for another ten minutes. Finally, pull a third out and leave for another ten minutes. Leave in longer each time for a more intense colour.

Step 6: Whatever effect you’ve chosen, be sure to rinse the dye out properly. Wearing one rubber glove, take the T-shirt to a sink or the bath: Hold the white area with your non-gloved hand and let it hang, so when you rinse it out no colour gets on the un-dyed fabric.

Rinse with cold water until it runs clear. Wash separately the first couple of times, so any excess dye is removed.

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Zara McDaid can be contacted on Facebook, search ‘Zara Mc Daid Art’, or e-mail is

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