How To Tie Dye

by How To Mommy on 08.16.11

Ever since we made tie dye shirts at Vacation Bible School, I have to admit, I’ve been a little obsessed.

There are so many ways to tie your shirts to produce such cute designs. I want to keep trying more styles and using new colors!

Once you have the supplies, it’s really not as hard as you think to have {semi} professional looking designs.  Here are how to do three basic designs.

How To Tie Dye

  1. Get your tie dye supplies. I recommend one of the kits from Dharma Trading.  The kit includes everything you need like gloves, masks, squirt bottles and rubber bands.  Plus, their dye is really good quality, and they include a product to soak your shirt in before you die and a detergent you wash them in that helps the dye stay on the shirt.  I’ve washed mine several times and they haven’t faded at all.
  2. Rubber band your shirt based on one of the designs below.
  3. Soak your shirt in the Soda Ash Fixer for about 5-15 minutes (until saturated).
  4. Apply the dye to your shirt using squeeze bottles (keep these completely upside down so they don’t squirt everywhere).
  5. Put fabric (still tied) in a plastic bag and let sit for at least 4 hours but preferably 24 hours to “cure.”
  6. Remove from bag and while still tied, rinse off the excess dye under cold running water (faucet, hose or shower), then untie your garments and continue to rinse until water runs fairly clear.
  7. Wash your garments. Have your washing machine pre-filled with hot water with Synthrapol and throw in the clothing as soon as it is rinsed, running it through a full cycle.

For a more in depth tutorial, check out Dharma’s website.

How To Make a Spiral

  1. Pick a spot on the shirt and pinch some fabric to place between your fingers.
  2. Twist your fingers to begin the spiral twirl and begin wrapping the fabric around your pinch. Continue twisting until it resembles the shape of a cinnamon roll.
  3. Slide the rubber bands under and over the spiral so that the fabric will hold its shape during the dyeing process.
    Finished product below.

How To Make Stripes

  1. Fold your shirt in an accordion pattern.
  2. Place rubber bands at intervals down the garment.  {If you do equal spaces, the stripes will be the same size; if they’re not equal, the stripes won’t be}
  3. You can leave your garment long or rubber band the ends together (in a fish shape) so it is smaller.
    Finished product below.

How To Make Bursts

  1. Pick up small pieces of fabric and tightly wrap with rubber bands.

Finished Products

How cute are these?  They’re even cuter on.  Don’t believe me?

Which design is your favorite?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah August 16, 2011 at 2:10 AM

Very cool site, can’t wait to explore it. Thanks for the follows on Twitter & Pinterest, I hope you come back and are interested to follow the blog one day 🙂


2 How To Mommy August 16, 2011 at 6:52 AM

Sarah, I wanted to but couldn’t find the GFC widget…


3 Marie August 16, 2011 at 6:43 AM

I love them all!!! So cute! 🙂 Thanks for the how-to. I will have to try this soon!


4 How To Mommy August 17, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Glad you like it! We could do it together sometime. 🙂


5 Victoria August 16, 2011 at 7:13 AM

I like the bursts the best. I remember doing this when I was in Girl Scouts! The girls look adorable in their shirts.


6 How To Mommy August 17, 2011 at 8:42 PM



7 Samantha August 16, 2011 at 7:52 AM

Love it! I have dye supplies for silk and wool, but I’ve been thinking about getting the dyes for cotton as well, because it looks like so much fun. One of my friends had a tie-dye party in the backyard for her daughter’s birthday, which I think would be a great idea!


8 How To Mommy August 17, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Oh that is a great party idea!


9 Satakieli August 16, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Oh, fun! I remember doing this in textiles class for highschool, but haven’t done it since. I think my son would love to help “colour” his own shirt 🙂


10 How To Mommy August 17, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Yes, at 2.5, I’m not ready to let her “help” quite yet. 🙂


11 Melissa pezza August 16, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Love your site. Your kids are too cute in their shirts! I am a new follower from tat. Would love a follow back at Txs


12 Ashley @ It's Fitting August 16, 2011 at 2:32 PM

I LOVE it. I haven’t tie-dyed a shirt in about 20 years. Feels like it’s about time, what with the summer just about to end!


13 Lacey August 16, 2011 at 4:42 PM

I love your site and all the fun/different things you feature! Definitely putting you on my must read list!

-your new follower from Toddle Along Tuesday


14 Amber August 16, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Amazing idea! I can’t wait to try this. I love your site. It’s been such a great resource.


15 Lisa September 7, 2011 at 6:33 AM

So cute, going to buy the kit and try it out myself 🙂



16 How To Mommy September 8, 2011 at 11:27 PM

Let me know what you think!


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