Saturday, June 4, 2016

Simple Tie-Dye T-shirt Tutorial

Tie-dye t-shirts are so fun and easy for kids to make and make a great summer school project too! What I love too is that not only is it impossible to mess them up, there are no two alike. And while there are many ways to create tie-dye shirts, I'm going to show you how I do it in my classroom! 

Here's what you'll need:
A paper plate
A white t-shirt
Two Rubber bands
Four plastic squirt bottles
Fabric Dye (4 colors)
Hot water

Step 1:
Lay out your shirt and pinch it in the center.

 Step 2:
While continuing to pinch the center, twist the fabric in a spiral motion until you have gone all the way around the shirt.
 Step 3:
Place two rubber bands around the shirt as shown; one vertical and one horizontal. This also serves as divided sections for your students to place each color without mixing the colors.

Step 4:
Mix the fabric dye as directed on package. Any of these work, but I prefer the liquid dye as you do not have granules to dissolve. 

However, Tulip does have a much better color selection.

Step 5:
Pour each color into a separate squirt bottle. Another thing nice about the liquid dye is you can skip the step of pouring it into the bottles and just mix it right in the bottle.

Step 6:
Using the sections as color dividers, squirt one color in each section as shown, saturating the fabric, but not saturating to the point that colors run together. (Bottles may be too hot to hold without gloves or an oven mitt)

Step 7:
Toss your shirt in a plastic grocery bag, tie to seal, and sit overnight. 

Step 8:
Remove from bag, leave rubber bands on and toss in the washing machine. Wash in cold water, using no soap. If doing as a class, you can wash them all together at the same time. 

Step 9:
Remove from washer, remove any rubber bands that may be left, and toss in the dryer until dry.

Ending results!

Here is another color combo we did!
 Ending Results!

So I've shown you the spiral or sunburst effect, which is my favorite, but there are so many other ways to rubber band the shirt to get different effects. 

Here is another method I played around with. This one uses no rubber bands. Just dip or squirt dye on each end, the top and bottom of a shirt.
I'm telling you, you can not mess these up! There's no one way to wrap your shirt! Be creative. You can also pinch and grab sections all over the shirt in random spots and rubber band them for a circle effect all over shirt. 

Two more tips: I recommend if using a brand new t-shirt to wash it first or wet it and wring it out. I have found that the dye sometimes beads off of new shirts and does not absorb into the fabric as well. 

If doing with your class, you can have students bring in their own t-shirt, or I purchase a large package of fruit-of-the-loom t-shirts from the boy's/men's section. 

Get creative and have fun!!

Head over to Mrs. King's blog for more summer projects from other teachers or share your own summer projects with us!


  1. I am actually planning to tie-dye shirts with my kiddos this summer. I love the idea of using liquid dyes. Have you ever used soda ash fixative to keep the colors from fading?

    1. No I haven't Kim! I'll have to look into this.

  2. Wow! They really turned out great! One year I had a tie dye party with some choir members. We dyed 30 shirts that night! I love the tip about the 2 rubber bands marking sections for your students. Thanks for linking up!

  3. Wow! They really turned out great! One year I had a tie dye party with some choir members. We dyed 30 shirts that night! I love the tip about the 2 rubber bands marking sections for your students. Thanks for linking up!

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  5. Awesome tutorial. I came across your site while doing some research on "tie dye shirts" for a church project. Glad I did!
    Best wishes,


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