How to Make a Tie-Dyed Christmas Shirt

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Tie-dyeing is a popular craft.
Image Credit: Lea Scaddan/Moment/GettyImages

Things You'll Need

  • White T-shirts, 100 percent cotton

  • Rubber bands

  • 2 4-quart buckets

  • Red fabric dye

  • Green fabric dye

  • 2 cups salt

  • Sealable plastic bag

  • Latex or plastic gloves

  • Water

  • Washing machine

Create a fun, festive Christmas tie dye T-shirt by hosting a Christmas dyeing project for the family and friends. Tie-dyeing red and green shirts gets everyone in the Christmas spirit. Best of all, this project is a fun activity for both parents and kids. Tie-dyeing has been around for centuries, developed in both ancient China and ancient Japan. Native tribes throughout the Americas dyed fabrics using plant matter. In the 1960s and 1970s, it became a staple for hippies everywhere. Nowadays, tie-dyeing is a wonderful weekend craft project that everyone will surely enjoy.


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Step 1: Create a Center Point

Locate a point on the T-shirt that will be the center of the finished tie-dye design. It can be any place on the shirt.

Step 2: Pinch and Twist the Shirt

Pinch the center point, twist the T-shirt, and place a rubber band 1 inch below this point.


Step 3: Twist and Band

Continue to twist the shirt, and fasten a rubber band onto the garment every 1 to 3 inches. The pattern does not need to be symmetrical, so you can vary the spaces in between the rubber bands to add interest to the shirt. Keep twisting and tying the shirt until the entire garment is in one long piece, like a rope.


Step 4: Prepare the Dye

Prepare a dye bath for each color according to the instructions included with the dye packaging. Dissolve 1 cup of salt into each dye bath. Pour each bath into a separate 4-quart bucket.

Step 5: Dip and Dye

Dye the shirt by dipping one-half of the garment into the red dye, and the other half into the green dye. Wear gloves or hold onto the rubber band to dye the center to avoid dyeing your skin.


Step 6: Wring and Wrap

Wring all the excess liquid out of the dyed T-shirt, and place it in a plastic bag. Seal the bag. Allow the T-shirt to set in the bag overnight.

Step 7: Rinse Until Water Runs Clear

Put on gloves, and rinse the T-shirt out in the sink. While rinsing the T-shirt, alternate between using warm water for two minutes, followed by two minutes of cool water. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.


Step 8: Remove Rubber Bands and Rinse

Remove rubber bands while rinsing out the T-shirt. Wash it alone in the washing machine using cold water.

Step 9: Hang to Dry

Hang the T-shirt and allow it to air dry.

Step 10: Celebrate in Your DIY Christmas Tie Dye Shirt

Once your Christmas tie dye shirt is completely dry, it is ready to be worn.


After you wear your Christmas tie dye shirt, it is a good idea to wash it alone one more time. This helps ensure the dye is completely rinsed out and will not ruin any other clothes.


Fabric dye is permanent. Use caution, and avoid splashing it on clothing and skin.

Wash your hands thoroughly after working with permanent fabric dyes, even if you were wearing gloves.