How to Make a Tye Dye Shirt

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Make a Tye Dye Shirt
Make a Tye Dye Shirt (Image: photos courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/)

Tie-dyeing is an excellent activity for adults or children, who love to make their own brightly-colored t-shirts. Adult supervision is required, but this is easy enough for even a young child to do many of the steps with an adult handling the fabric dye. Follow the steps carefully for a wonderfully creative tie-dyed t-shirt.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirt
  • Fabric dye
  • Rubber bands
  • Large bucket
  • Hot water
  • Tongs
  • Rubber gloves

Choose your t-shirt. White t-shirts are the obvious choice for this project but you could start with a colored t-shirt and use dye of another color for contrast.

Gather some of the shirt fabric into a bunch and wrap a rubber band around it. This will create the ring-like pattern pictured in step 4. Create as many or as few as you want, placing them wherever you'd like on the shirt. Note that whatever part of the fabric is not covered by a rubber band will by dyed. If you'd like the look of concentric circles, start at the center of the t-shirt and tightly wrap your first rubber band there and then place another one every few inches going outward from the first.

Mix up dye, following the package directions. The most popular dye used for tie-dying is RIT dye, which can be bought in most grocery stores and craft stores. There are a few different options for mixing the dye and the "bucket method" is best for children as it can be done outdoors. This method involves dissolving the dye in a large bucket of warm or hot water.

Dip the t-shirt with rubber bands on it into dyed water. If you are dying your t-shirt one color, drop it into the bucket and let it sit of a minute or two and then remove it with tongs and wear rubber gloves to squeeze it to remove excess water. If you would like your shirt to have multiple colors, dip part of the shirt into one bucket of dye-water while holding the other part out of the bucket. Remove and squeeze that part of the shirt and then dip the dry part into the other color. The longer the shirt is in the dye, the darker the color will be.

Rinse t-shirts in cold water and then remove rubber bands from t-shirt.

Hang dry outside as colored dye may drip from fabric and stain indoor surfaces.

Tips & Warnings

  • The dye will stain other clothing and anything touching it, including the bucket it is mixed in, the rubberbands and the tongs used to remove the t-shirt and anything used to stir the dye.

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