Skip to main content

How to Tie-Dye a T-Shirt

Here's an easy way to turn a plain white T-shirt into a crazy-cool creation -- and inspire your Mom or Dad to belt out a Jimi Hendrix tune!


  • Step 1: Set up area Spread a the plastic sheet or garbage bag out.
  • Step 2: Rubber band shirt Bunch or fold up sections of the T-shirt, and wrap them tightly with the rubber bands or string. These will be the areas that will stay white after the shirt is dyed, forming a pattern.
  • TIP: It's tough to predict exactly what kinds of patterns your t-shirt will end up with--but that's the fun of making one!
  • Step 3: Prepare dye Prepare the dye in the bucket according to the manufacturer's directions.
  • Step 4: Dip shirt Wearing gloves, dip the shirt or a section of it in the dye until it's the color you want.
  • Step 5: Squeeze & rinse Squeeze out the excess dye, then rinse the T-shirt in the sink until the water runs clear.
  • Step 6: Let dry Leaving the rubber bands or string on, lay the shirt on the plastic sheet or garbage bag to dry. Outside is best.
  • TIP: Once you get the hang of it, you can use more than one color--start with the lightest, and let the shirt dry completely before doing a new one.
  • Step 7: Remove rubber bands Remove the rubber bands or strings. It's easiest to cut them with scissors.
  • Step 8: Wash shirt Before you wear it, wash your shirt in cold water alone or with clothing that's the same color, since the dye may run. Be sure to accessorize with love beads and a peace sign.
  • FACT: Tie-dyeing started in Japan and China around 600 A.D. using dyes made from roots, flowers, leaves, and berries.

You Will Need

  • Old clothes
  • White cotton shirt
  • Rubber bands
  • Liquid or powder dye
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bucket or bowl
  • Plastic sheet or garbage bag
  • Sink
  • Scissors

Popular Categories