How to Tie-Dye a Shirt

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Tie-dyed T-shirts have been common since the 1960s, although the technique has existed for much longer. While T-shirts are most commonly dyed, many items made from natural materials can be tie-dyed in a variety of patterns, including circles and swirls.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • White T-shirt
  • Dye
  • Rubber bands or string
  • Lay a clean dry shirt flat on your work surface.

  • Prepare dye according to the package instructions. Wear rubber gloves when working with dye.

  • Pinch the cloth where you would like a circle to be. Wrap a rubber band tightly around the pinched spot and repeat for lots of circles. Submerge the T-shirt in the dye color of your choice until it turns dark enough to suit your taste.

  • Pinch the cloth in the middle of your T-shirt and start to twist the entire shirt around the pinched center to create a swirl pattern. You want the fabric to lay as flat as possible and each wrinkle in the cloth to swirl in the same direction. Keep pinching tightly until you have swirled the entire shirt. Squirt the T-shirt with your first dye color in a swirling pattern, creating a thin line that follows the swirl of the fabric. Repeat with as many dye colors as you desire.

  • Shove your shirt together until it is crinkled but still rather flat to create a tie-dye camouflage T-shirt. Squirt green and brown dye randomly all over the shirt, making sure it is soaked with plenty of dye.

  • Rinse shirt well with cold water until the water runs almost clear.

  • Allow T-shirt to air dry, then iron it with a hot iron to seal in the dye.

Tips & Warnings

  • Protect work surface by covering it with plastic or several layers of newspaper.

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