How to Tie Dye Patterns in a T-Shirt

tie-dyed shirts image by Jim Parkin from

Tie dye is a craft that creates bright and colorful pieces of clothing. Application of the dye is simple: Tie and dye. Using rubber bands or string and bundling the fabric in certain ways produces a myriad of looks and styles, all by dipping fabric in dye and letting it dry.

Prepare the dye. Fabric dye can be found in grocery or home stores. Color choice is up to you. The more variety in dye, the more colors on the shirt. Place dye and water in buckets using the ratio specified by your specific brand of dye. Buckets should have enough dye to fully plunge the shirt in, so make sure the liquid is at least a few inches deep.

tie dyed green image by Steve Mann from

Bunch the shirt according to how you wish the final product to look. Tying rosettes in the shirt will yield spirals while rubber bands over a rolled up shirt will yield lines. Wherever a rubber band is placed, dye absorption will be minimal. A "sunburst pattern" can be made by balling up a bit of the shirt and then adding rubber bands along the rolls of the shirt.

Dip the banded shirt into the dye. You can dip all of it in or just a part. suggests that beginners dip the shirt in colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Once the item is saturated with dye, wrap in plastic to cure for 24 hours.

Remove the rubber bands and string and unfurl the shirt. Lay it flat and inspect the garment. If it is not to your liking, try again.

Rinse the shirt to remove excess dye and allow it to dry. The shirt can now be worn.