How to Make a Tie Dye Shirt Easy

There are easy tie dye methods.
There are easy tie dye methods. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Just about anyone can make a tie-dye shirt. Almost everything you need is located in one box, making it easier than ever before to learn to tie-dye a T-shirt. To ensure the easiest method of tie dyeing, purchase a tie-dye kit that comes with several squeeze bottles, different colors of dye, rubber bands and gloves. The other things you need are the T-shirt, soda ash dye fixer, newspaper or a plastic tablecloth, and a large bucket.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper or plastic tablecloth
  • Cotton T-shirt
  • Tie-dye kit
  • Soda ash
  • Wooden spoon

Cover a table or kitchen counter with several layers of newspaper or an old plastic tablecloth. A disposable tablecloth works best, because it can be thrown away afterward. Lay the T-shirt down on the work surface.

Pinch a piece of the material in the middle front of the T-shirt and pull it straight up. It will look similar to a tipi shape. Wrap a rubber band around the fabric about 1/2 inch from the point. Wrap five rubber bands at 1-inch intervals down the tipi of material. Repeat for the back of the T-shirt.

Mix 1 cup of soda ash with a gallon of hot water in a large bucket and mix with a wooden spoon. Soak the T-shirt in the solution for 20 minutes. This changes the pH level of the fabric, which allows the dye to bond with the fibers better.

Put on the gloves that came in the tie dye box. Mix the dye in the plastic squeeze bottles according to directions on the box. Generally, the dye will come with a liquid or powder that you mix with water in the squeeze bottles.

Remove the T-shirt from the water and wring it out as much as you can. Place it back on the work surface and lay it out with one rubber banded tipi laying down flat. You can mix one color, or several colors, depending on your preference.

Squeeze one bottle on the fabric at the point end of the tipi. Squeeze a second color on the fabric between the next two rubber bands, and repeat down the banded fabric, using one color or several colors. The rubber bands keep dye from penetrating the fabric at that point and create white circles in the shirt.

Squeeze dye on the other side of the T-shirt. Allow the dye to set in for eight to 24 hours, then remove the rubber bands and wash the T-shirt in cold water. Dry it as usual.

Tips & Warnings

  • Soda ash is also called washing soda. Most grocery stores stock it in the laundry aisle.

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