How to Make Tie Dye Shirts at Home

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Tie-dyed shirts are easy to make at home.
Tie-dyed shirts are easy to make at home. (Image: iStock)

Tie-dying is a process in which only some areas of the fabric are exposed to colored dye. It is used to create fluid, mostly abstract designs that became a popular fashion statement among hippies during the '60s. Today, tie-dyed shirts and other pieces are still a fashion staple, and you can make them in your own home. It will add color to your wardrobe and help you channel your inner hippie.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Fabric dye
  • Plain white T-shirt
  • Rubber bands
  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Scissors

Prepare the area where you will do the dying project. To prevent staining, put newspapers on the floor or on the ground if you are doing the project outside.

Fill a bucket with water, consulting the instructions provided with the dye for the amount and temperature of water needed. Mix the amount of dye indicated by the instructions into the water.

Twist the T-shirt into a tight coil. Prevent it from unrolling by putting several rubber bands across the coil, leaving about 2 inches of space between each rubber band.

Put on gloves and submerge the coiled T-shirt in the dye for the amount of time indicated by the instructions. Average dying time is approximately 15 minutes.

Remove the T-shirt from the bucket and rinse with cold water. Leave the shirt to dry on the newspaper for several hours.

Snip off the rubber bands with scissors and unwrap your tie-dyed T-shirt.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once you have mastered the tie-dying technique, use it on your linens and other big items to decorate your home.
  • Dyes are essentially harsh chemicals, therefore always wear gloves when handling dye and avoid touching your face and eyes until you are done working.

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