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Tie and Dye Them Up!

Updated on April 27, 2010

Tie Dye T-Shirts

One of the example of tie dye t-shirt
One of the example of tie dye t-shirt

Make your own uniquely customized t-shirt

If you spot someone you don’t know wears the same t-shirts like you do, you might feel a little embarrass. So, why don’t you make your own t-shirt? If you think that it’s going to be difficult to make your own t-shirt, well, you should think again. Sometimes, the best method is the cheapest one. So, I’m going to tell you how to make your own tie-dye t-shirt in the cheapest way.

Before we start, maybe you need to know a little bit about the tie dye technique. Well, actually the name should tell. It means that you will tie some parts of the t-shirt and dye it in desired color. As I said before, the best method could be the cheapest one. All you need to make your own t-shirt are: regular white t-shirt, soda ash, rubber bands or string for the tying part, fiber dyes in various colors, rubber gloves, garbage bags and creativity. You can use your old boring white t-shirt for this.

Okay, the first step is to soak the clothes to be dyed in soda ash solution for about five to ten minutes and agitate it a couple of times. You don’t need too much soda ash for this, just half a cup per gallon of water. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin because soda ash can be irritating to your skin. After soaking the material, wring out the material to remove excess water, but don’t let it to dry out.

Now, here comes the tricky part. Tie the fabric in various places using the rubber bands. You can find instruction for this in the books or maybe on the net. But, I am not going to explain it here because there are so many techniques to make various patterns. But, if you want to practice for the first time, you can make simple tying with the rubber bands.

After tying all the fabric with desired pattern, you will soak the fabric in the hot dye solution. The color of the dye used can be any color you like, but be careful if your mix doesn’t match, the resulting t-shirt color can be very ugly. So, start dipping the fabric with the lightest dye color first, let the fabric immersed in the tub for about seven minutes or longer if you want a deeper color. Then, wash the dyed fabric thoroughly with warm water. You can also partially dip the fabric with another color to make it rainbow-like color. If so, wash only the partially dip part with warm water. You can open some of the tying and dip it to another color which is darker than before. This will result to various circle colors (if you just tie the fabric with rubber bands, you’ll get circle patterns). This stage of the process is depending upon the creativity of each individual.

After finishing the tie dye, rinse thoroughly with warm water and gradually to cooler water. Continue to wash the fabric until the water runs clear. After that, untie every rubber band and wash the fabric with mild detergent and let it dry.

So, that’s all I can share. It might seem difficult at the beginning, but after a few efforts, you will find that this sort of activity can be very addictive. You can do this as a part of party activity for celebrating the Earth Day.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Tie dying t shirts is fun, and kids will love, just watch out for the paint.

    • Almost Chemist profile imageAUTHOR

      Almost Chemist 

      8 years ago from Indonesia

      AshlieN: Thanks a lot for the comment. I'm very glad to help.

    • profile image


      8 years ago from

      Very comprehensive. Great step by step instructiosn my kids will love the results.



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