Tie dying can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. At its most basic level, all you need is a single color of dye and a few pieces of string or rubber bands. If you want a more complicated design, try adding a second color. If you decide to let the two colors touch on your fabric, you'll also have a third color where the first two mix.
Things You'll Need
2 large buckets
2 fabric dye colors
2 spray bottles
Coins or marbles
Plastic ziplock bag
Prepare two different colors of fabric dye in two different buckets. Follow the package directions for mixing and preparing the fabric dye.
Mix 1 cup table salt into each bucket of fabric dye. Salt helps to preserve the color after it's been applied to the fabric.
Fill two spray bottles with the tie-dye solutions.
Lay your cotton shirt on a flat work surface. Put coins or marbles beneath the shirt in random places. Grasp each coin or marble through the top of the shirt, twist the shirt around the marble or coin and wrap a rubber band around the twist.
Wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from being dyed by the fabric dye. Alternately spray the two fabric dye colors on the shirt in sections until the dye has saturated the shirt. Spray both sides for a completely tie-dyed shirt.
Leave the marbles and coins twisted in the shirt. Place the wet shirt in a plastic ziplock bag for 24 hours so the dye has time to soak into the fibers.
Remove your tie-dyed shirt from the plastic bag. Rinse the shirt with cold water until there's no more dye to rinse off and the water runs clear. Take off the rubber bands and remove the coins and marbles; rinse these areas to remove excess dye.
Fill one of your buckets with cold water and 1 cup white vinegar. Soak your tie-dyed shirt in the vinegar solution for one hour to keep the colors from bleeding.
Wash your shirt in cool water and hang it to dry so the cotton doesn't shrink.
Rather than using spray bottles to apply the fabric dye, you can dunk the shirt sections in the buckets of dye.
Wear old clothing when you tie dye because spilled dye on your clothing causes permanent stains.