The vacation is in full swing and the majority of us – bar the Finalists – have made the inevitable trip back to home-cooked food, continuous heating and the joys of cups of tea on demand. Yet with the weather turning its back on the summer already, the opportunities for outdoor activities are becoming increasingly limited. Furthermore the drudgery of traipsing through shopping centres and high streets do not have their appeal in the rain when not an alternative to essay writing! But fear not!Cherwell Fashion has a more fun – and far cheaper – way of organising your new summer wardrobe. Our answer: tie-dying.

For many of us, this may bring back memories of various primary school activity days and brownie camps, yet it should not be relegated to the playground – it’s also a great to while away all those boring hours in anticipation of getting back to Oxford! Tie-dying is a creative way to reinvent your wardrobe and there are plenty of options when it comes to colour, technique and pattern. So raid your own, your dad’s, your mum’s and even your gran’s wardrobe whilst you are at home – from large t-shirts, oversize jumpers to thick leggings and woolly tights, nothing is out of bounds – cut the bottom of t-shirts to make your own very 80s cropped shirt a la Topshop or even strip the colour from your old favourite pair of jeans. Follow our basic tips and check out a few of our own ‘products’ of a Tuesday night-in.

Also check out the American Apparel video below for more inspiration – a Cherwell version will soon be on it’s way!

1. Follow the instructions on the tie-dye packet. (If in Oxford, dye is available from Fred’s Discount store, Cowley and any other good haberdashery/craft shop such as Boswell’s in the City Centre.)

2. Before you dye your item, you should wash it to remove any sizing from the manufacturer or anything else that may have gotten on it.

3. Try to use ‘natural’ materials, preferably cotton (and others that the dye you are using specifically require) – for many synthetic materials, the dye will either not work or you will need to use a darker dye to have any sort of effect.

4. Cover your work area – your mum or your scout won’t be too happy to scrub dried dye of the floor!

5. Get plenty of string and elastics bands, and then start tying! We found that the more specific you try to be, the more disappointed you will be with the final thing. Give things a fold, tie a few random bits up and the wrap up as tightly as possible!

6. Pre-treat your item if necessary. With some dyes you will have to soak it in soda ash and with others, like RIT, you simply need to dip it in hot water.

7. Get your dyes ready: from dye stripper (it will literally take ALL the dye from your clothes), to cold and hot dye, different dyes need to be prepped differently: often they’ll need salt so make sure you have plenty of this about before you start!

8. And then get dyeing! If you want the item in the same colour all over, just pop the item in the pan/bucket/bowl and wait and see. If you want different colours, either place the item in the tubs with a different part or untie the item before you place it in the tub.

9. After waiting the allotted time, take it out and wash it thoroughly (usually in cold water)- until the water runs cleans.

10. And then unwrap and be surprised. If it’s not quite what you want, retie and re-dye or completely strip the colour. Never worry, it’s not permanent and also when it dries, it is always different.



Dye comes in all different colours.


Bundle Tightly!


 Leggings: American Apparel, £31.99; Cherwell, £5 (Dye Included!)


Hot or cold?

Customize your (or your Dad’s!) old clothes further – strip the dye, crop the shirt and then re-dye to how you want it!