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How to Make Tie Dye Designs

Updated on September 28, 2017

Tie Dye - Timeless and Trendy

Sure, Jerry Garcia's rolling over in his grave about this, but tie dye is totally fashion forward. Not kidding! Spotted in designer collections including Tory Birch and Rebecca Minkoff, tie dye pumps up accessories, dresses and tees. This is one fashion train you can hop on board at home, for a fun craft hour with the friends that saves you cash and upgrades your wardrobe to on trend. Peace out, girl!

Basic Tie Dye Technique for Tie Dye T-Shirts

Step 1

Section off your shirts for a rad design, using rubber bands.

Step 2

Mix your dyes. First, combine 1 tbsp. urea in 1 cup of water for each color you're prepping. Then add your color; check the directions on your tie dye color kit to see how much. Once you've mixed each one (use a different spoon for each to keep the color safe), pour the ready dye into a squeeze bottle, with one bottle per color. This means easy application and easy cleanup.

Step 3

Mix 1 cup of sodium carbonate with 1 gallon of water. Soak your tied tees in this mix for 15 minutes, then pull out the wet garments.

Step 4

Squeeze the bottles to spray on the dye. Let your wild flag fly. Stop dyeing when you're out of fabric. Place your gear in plastic bags and tie, to keep the dye wet. Leave your tie dye for up to 24 hours; in the meantime, you can clean up.

Step 5

Rinse extra dye off, with the ties still on, under cool water. Then remove the ties and wash your garment through a full wash cycle to set the dye.

Using Rubber Bands for Tie Dye Patterns


Tie Dye Color Tips

Know your color combo rules to ensure a pleasing final product. The primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Blue plus yellow gets you green, the brightness of the hue depending on how much yellow you have. Blue and red lead to purple, and red controls brightness. Yellow and red get to orange. Try not to make brown, by combining red and green, purple and yellow or orange and blue.

Tie dye over shirts with graphic or text - you're so not limited by plain. Also, try halters, dresses, wraps and canvas bags for extra tie dye fun.

Tie Dye Spiral Tutorial

Spiral your tee. Lay it flat, then push a stick, pencil or other flat object in the center and twist. The fabric should begin to roll up, following the stick. Keep twisting till you've got the whole tee spiraled out, then wrap a few rubber bands around the outside to hold it in the spiral pattern.

How to Make Tie Dye Dots

Get spotty. Take your shirt and lay it flat. Gather a spot in your hand -- the bigger the spot, the larger the dot -- and section it off with a rubber band to create a nub of tied tee. Make more dots all over the shirt. When you go to dye, squeeze one or more dyes over the shirt to get an even color, then dye the nubs a separate color. They'll appear as dots later on.

Go bulls-eye by using your nub technique. Create a small nub in the center. Then make a bigger ring that includes the center nub, and a bigger one, and a bigger one, till you're all out of room. When you're the tie dye target, all eyes are on you in a room.

Getting Tie Dye Stripes on My Shirt

Fold your shirt in vertical pleats to get horizontal stripes, and horizontal pleats for vertical stripes. Try folding it on an angle for tilted stripes, then use your imagination at the dye time for fun color combos.


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