How can I Tie Dye a Shirt?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2018
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Tie dye is a process whereby a shirt or other material is dyed. The material is folded or tied in such a way that the dye colors some areas of the material, but leaves other areas untouched. The tie dye t-shirt was very popular during the 1960s and 70s. During that era, the hippies often tie-dyed their shirts with mind-blowing colors.

As with many fashions, it seems that the tie dye t-shirt has once again become fashionable. Designers searching for a new look have reached back thirty years and made tie dye popular again. The process used to tie dye a garment is fairly simple and straightforward.

Take the wet garment and place it on a flat surface; this is where you will fold or tie the garment. You can either tie the garment using knots, or you can use rubber bands to secure the folds. When you tie dye, the pieces of the garment that you have specifically folded, tied, or crumpled will not be dyed.

Take the garment that is to be dyed and wash it thoroughly. Presoak the garment with a sodium carbonate solution. Wring the garment until it is dry, and then apply the dye. You can buy dyes specifically for tie dye, but any dyes that are fiber reactive will work just as well.


Apply the dye to your material, but make sure that the garment stays wet. Using different colors of dye on different areas of the garment makes for a beautiful effect. After applying the dye, let the garment sit for around two to three hours. After a few hours have passed, wash the material with cold water.

Repeat this procedure a few times in order to wash off any excess dye. Undo the knots in the shirt for the final wash. Wash the garment with hot water, and then give it a final wash using water and detergent.

If you follow the tie dye instructions carefully when making your garment, you should be able to wash the garment in a normal wash along with other clothes. Your tie dye garment should not bleed any dye. It cannot be stressed how important it is to read the instructions on the dye packet. Certain types of material may be ruined if you attempt to dye them.


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Post 4

Where could I find some wholesale tie dye products? I am running a small crafts class for a few kids at my church, and I thought that tie dyeing T-shirts might be a good activity.

Are there any places that sell tie dye supplies in large, cheap quantities? I'm afraid I'm not too up on the whole wholesale textile dye world, so I'm at a bit of a loss.

Do you know where I could find such things?

Post 3

Tie dye apparel has never been my super-favorite, but I think that it works well for shirts. For instance, those spiral tie dye Tshirts always look kind of cool, if a little dated.

The thing that I don't like though is the excessive amount of tie dyed clothing that seems to be coming onto the market now.

I mean, honestly, who needs tie dye sweatshirts? Or tie dye socks, for that matter. I guess I'm just not tie dye enough, but I think that a little bit of tie dye goes a very long way.

Post 2

How do you make different tie dye patterns and designs? Are there specific techniques to get different results, or is it all kind of happenstance?

I really want to make a tie-dye dress out of an old white cotton dress that I have, but I'd like to make it have kind of a star pattern.

I'm just afraid that when I tie dye it, I'll end up with one of those awful, mixed together tie dye messes that you see little kids come back from camp with.

Can you enlighten me a little more as to some tie dye techniques, if such things exist?

Post 1

I need to know stuff like this! Geek how do you do it?

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