How to Make a Tie-Dyed Christmas Shirt

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Create a fun, festive Christmas tie-dye t-shirt, tank top or hoodie by hosting a Christmas tie-dyeing project for family and friends. Tie-dyeing short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirts in the traditional red and green colors of Xmas gets everyone in the Christmas spirit. Best of all, this project is a fun activity for both adults and kids.

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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.

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Here's a tie-dyeing tutorial for a weekend craft project for all ages.

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Things You'll Need

  • White

    t-shirts, tank tops or hoodies, 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

Prepare the shirt

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.

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Tip

You can use virtually any type of shirt for this Christmas shirt project including crew necks, v-necks, hoodies, onesies, unisex pullovers, pajama shirts and plus-size short or long-sleeve t-shirts.

2. Twist the shirt

Pinch the center point, twist the t-shirt and place a rubber band 1 inch below this point to create a pattern.

3. Rubber band the shirt

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 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.

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Dye the shirt

1. 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 batch into a separate 4-quart bucket.

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2. 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.

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1. Rinse off the dye

2. Ring out the shirt

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.

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3. Rinse thoroughly

Put on gloves, and rinse the t-shirt 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.

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4. Remove rubber bands

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

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

Wear your tie dye

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

Tip

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.

Warning

Fabric dye is permanent. Use caution, and avoid splashing it on clothing and skin. If you do have a stain, see our tie-dye stain removal advice.

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

While ugly Christmas sweaters are a clothing staple this time of year, making for a truly funny Christmas experience, your family can also start a new tradition of making DIY tie-dye holiday shirts every year. Nothing says Merry Christmas better than time well spent together. Wear your homemade tie-dye t-shirts while you decorate the Christmas tree, build a snowman or wait for Santa to arrive.

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