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Whether you're not entirely happy with the presents you got for X mas or you simply need a break from all the eating and hide away from your family a bit, giving some old clothes a new look can be a welcome alternative, so here's all you need to know about tie dying!

Illustration by Ruth Roberts

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*Fabric dye (and salts if required)

*T-shirt (or whatever you want to dye) – make sure it’s minimum 80 per cent cotton as synthetic materials don’t retain dye well

*Rubber bands or string to tie the item

*Rubber gloves

*Large pot to mix the dye in

*An old wooden spoon or spatula

*Newspaper or bin liners to protect your work surface

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1. Wash your T-shirt to remove any chemicals that may be in the fabric and dry completely.

2. Decide what pattern you want and tie your fabric with rubber bands or string:

- For circles, determine where you want the centre of your circles, lift the fabric in that spot, twisting it as you go, and tie 2-3 rubber bands along the length of the ‘cone’.

- For a V pattern, fold the fabric in half and, starting at one corner, fold the fabric in even segments back and forth accordion style. Add fasteners as you go.

- For stripes, roll the fabric into a tube and fasten ties along the length.

3. Prepare dye according to package directions.

4. Start dyeing. It’s usually best to start with the lightest colour if you are using more than one colour. Rinse or wait between colours as directed by the manufacturer.

5. Allow the fabric to dry before removing all the rubber bands or clips.

6. Machine-wash your T-shirt in cold water and hang out to dry.

7. Put T-shirt on, light some incense and spark up a dooby, man.