What is Tie Dye? 4 Easy Steps to DIY Tie Dye!

person holding another person waist

You can definitely enjoy the moment of fun along with your family by carrying out DIY tie dye project at home. Believe me! It will be great fun for you. You can make your boring t-shirt attractive with this. Many of you wear the tie dyed shirts without knowing about it. So, before beginning with it, we have to know, what is tie dye? It may help you to better understand the whole topic.

Don’t spend your valuable money to buy tie dyed shirts. Enjoy doing it yourself at home, make your own arts and have great fun.

What is tie dye?

Tie dye is a set of ancient resist dyeing techniques. In this technique, the color is prohibited from reaching all over the cloth. As a result, a pattern is created over the ground of the cloth. This modern term Tie dye is invented in the 1960s in the USA.

Tie dye is a technique of dyeing where twisting, folding, pleating or crumbling of garments takes place followed by dyeing. Strings or rubber can be used for tying up the garment. 

Bright and primary unsaturated colors are used in tie dye in different patterns including mandala, space sign, Spiral, Bull’s eye, nebula, diagonal stripe, polka dot, rosette, sunburst, sailor stripe, ringer pattern.

Nowadays we can get different types of products for tie dye like t-shirt, leggings, crocs, tie dye kit for kids and more.

Also Read Dye Fabric With Tea That 3 Modern Rules To Follow

girl in pink and white striped long sleeve shirt lying on ground

Different Tie Dye Techniques

There are different tie dye techniques available. Here’s a brief list:

  • Reverse tie dye technique
  • Shibori tie dye technique
  • Heart tie dye technique
  • Spider tie dye technique
  • Rainbow tie dye technique
  • Kaleidoscope tie dye technique
  • String tie dye technique
  • Crumple tie dye technique
  • Ombre tie dye technique
  • Bullseye tie dye technique
  • Star tie dye technique
  • Unicron tie dye technique
  • Candy corn tie dye technique

Tie dye instructions step by step

Tie dye is very easy that anyone can do by himself. But you will need some supplies for this purpose. So here’s the list:

  • Dye powder
  • Easily squeezable bottle
  • Rubber
  • Plastic gloves
  • Disposable plastic surface cover
  • T-shirt made from natural fibers will be preferable
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wire rack
  • Washable marker (If required)

Plastic wrap helps to damp the dyeings while it sets. Wire rack prevents the dyeings from sitting in pooled dye underneath it. A washable marker is used to mark in case of heart tie dye.

To avoid any dye slip or stain, cover your supplies with the plastic cover. If you are a beginner, it will help you to complete your task easily.

You can tie dye your t-shirt, shocks, beddings or even shoes. If you choose an item made from natural dye, then you will get your desired result but synthetic fibers do not absorb colors well. So, the results in patchy dyeings.

Let’s move onto the steps to follow:

Preparation Of Fabric

  • Wash the fabric thoroughly. If your fabric item is new then properly wash the pieces to remove sizing particles. Sizing is process of chemical coatings that can block dye penetration. 

Sizing is done to warp yarns of woven fabric during weaving to withstand the tension inserted on it. It also resists staining and wrinkling a bit. But before dyeing, this is to be removed properly.

The fabric should wash without softener. Because softener also blocks the dye penetration inside the fabric. After washing, leave your item damp for tie dye process.

  • Pre-soaking in soda is required. But be sure if your tie dye kit has soda mixed in it or not. If your kit contains soda, then no need to pre-soak your fabric in it.
  • Open the nozzle of the bottle you have in your kit. Then mix tap water with the dye powder inside the bottle. There is a mark on the bottle. So, fill the bottle with water up to that mark.
  • Shake the bottle properly to mix the dye powder. Make sure the dye powder is completely dissolved. Once the dye is properly dissolved, it is ready to use in the fabric.

After the preparation of your color, apply it to the fabric as soon as possible. Because if you exceed 72 hours or more, then the dye might lose its concentration. 

It occurs because the dye molecules react with water and they got hydrolyzed. If you use this hydrolyzed dye, then you might not get your desired vibrant result.

Binding or Folding The Fabric

  • Binding or folding the fabric is the most crucial part. It differs with different tie dye techniques. For a spiral technique, lay down your damp fabric. 

Then mark the middle point of the collar and the section under the sleeves. Now pinch this point and twist in a swirl. Give the fabric a spiral shape by twisting tightly. 

  • Now by using rubber band, bind the fabric in crisscross manner. It will create six wedges if you use three rubber bands. You can customize your look by varying the number of rubber bands.

Color Application

  • Put on your plastic gloves. Keep the fabric on the wire rack and apply each color to each wedge. You can use more colors if you create more wedges. If you want, you can use a few color on it. It’s totally up to you. 
  • Make sure while dyeing in spiral technique, flip the color properly to the back also. So that it matches the front side color.
  • Once you completed the whole process, wrap and seal your fabric with plastic wrap to keep it damp. It will help to set the colors. It may take 6 to 8 hours or if you want keep it for overnight. 

Make sure your fabric is damp while setting. Because it ensures the dye penetration inside the fabric.



  • Cut the rubber bands and wash the fabric and dry it properly. Your fabric is ready to be checked out!
  • You will have the complete instructions on the tie dye kit. So, before starting please the instructions and do follow them carefully.

Adore your old t-shirt or an even newer one with tie dye technique at home. Do it yourself and enjoy doing it. Please have a look at the video to get the whole process easily:

Wrapping It UP!!

I think it is clear to you “what is tie dye?” and you can easily dye your favorite t-shirt in the summer by following the above instructions. Throw a party and enjoy with your friends doing tie-dyeing on your t-shirts.

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