To Dye For: How to create your own tie-dye t-shirts
Creating your own clothes can be fun and one of the simplest ways can be using tie-dying for a bit of individuality. My son is obsessed with clothes, he’s only 8 and ripping his jeans and now he’s found tie-dying he’s dying so many of his clothes in different ways. Here are our step by step instructions on creating your own tie-dye t-shirts.
- Tie-Dye Kit (this is the simplest way. They can be bought in-store or online)
- T-shirts (Plain white work best, but other light colours do too)
- Bottles to store the dye (if not in the kit)
- Rubber bands (if not in the kit)
- Rubber gloves (buy extra)
- Table cover (or bin bag)
- Small plastic bags or cling film
- Kitchen roll or rags to mop up any excess dye
A lot of the dyes that come in kit format can only be used once. So it’s best to wait until you have a lot of items to dye at once. You are not limited to t-shirts, we have dyed bags, pillow cases, tops and even jeans.
Soak your t-shirt or items in a basin of luke warm water, some dyes require them to be soaked in sodium carbonate. Make sure they are steeping.
Make up the dye as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions. The ones that we have used are a powder in the base of bottles. You need to add water to fill the bottles and shake to mix the powder. Make sure the lid is on before you shake! Continue until you have all your dye ready.
Wring out the t-shirts, you want them damp, but not soaking.
Spread the t-shirt out flat onto of your table cover or bin bag.
Decide on how you want your pattern to look on your t-shirt. You can choose to put it in a spiral design. This would involve pinching the middle of your t-shirt and twisting until the t-shirt is in a circle type shape.
Next, you want to place elastic bands in a cake slice manner on the t-shirt.
Put on rubber gloves. The dye does not come off your hands as easily as you’d think. Make sure your table is covered.
Start dying. It’s best to start with the lightest colour first. You just need touch the shirt with the tip of the bottle for it to start to seep into the fabric.
Use the nozzle of the bottle to put some of the dye further into the fabric so there aren’t too many white patches.
Keep dying the t-shirt with the different colours until it is all covered. Don’t worry about the colours mixing or bleeding into each other.
Put the t-shirt into a small plastic bag or cover with cling film. Seal the bag and leave in a dry, warm area for 12-24 hours. The longer you leave the more intense the colour will be.
The other options for dying the t-shirt is folding it rather than the spiral. Fold it like you would a piece of paper to make a fan. Put on the elastic bands along the fabric say 6 of them. Repeat steps 8-11.
Put the rubber gloves on. Cut the elastic bands from the fabric.
Rinse the t-shirts in luke warm water until the water runs clear.
I put them in the washing machine on spin to take off the excess water, or wring them out and hang them up to dry.
Once dry they are ready to wear and admire your handy work. I must admit it is pretty addictive, you’ll be tie-dying everything in sight. No two designs will come out the same. Let your creative juices flow and have fun.
When washing, I would advise to use a cold wash and wash them separately from other clothes. At least for the first few times. Again, the exact directions you follow will vary depending on what brand of dye you use. Read all instructions and precautions on the package carefully.
Have you ever made tie-dye creations at home? Let us know in a comment below, or check out some of our other arts and crafts ideas!