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How to tie dye shirts?

Bright colours and quirky patterns, tie dying is a great way to update your plain shirts and create unique looks. You can achieve hippy-inspired bohemian outfits in a few simple steps.

You will need

Tie dying is simple and fun, before you get started you will need: A white shirt
Rubber bands
Rubber gloves
Rubbish bags
Fiber-reactive clothing dye
A cup of soda ash
Squirt bottles


Split open rubbish bags and place them on a flat work surface. This will save clean-up hassle, and prevent accidents from happening if the dye should be spilt. Pre-wash your shirt beforehand to remove any chemicals that can prevent the dye from sticking.

Tying your shirt

There are many ways you can tie your shirt to achieve interesting patterns. Here are some techniques: Centre Circle: Lay your shirt flat upon your work surface and grab a handful of the fabric from any spot then tie it with a rubber band. Tie the rest of the sectioned off material with as many rubber bands as you can fit. Sunburst: Pinch 2-3 inches of fabric and tie it off. Repeat all over the shirt as many times as desired. Stripes: Roll your shirt up vertically. For lot's of white wrinkles in your design, twist the shirt. Tie rubber bands all the way down the shirt, the more you use, the more white stripes you'll achieve. Marbling: This will create an uneven design, with some areas absorbing more dye than others. Bunch your shirt up closely and tie it with rubber bands as tightly as you can.

Preparing your shirt

Put on your rubber gloves. Fill your bucket with one gallon of hot water and add 1 cup of soda ash. (1 cup of ash to each gallon of water). Stir it until it the soda ash has completely dissolved. Place your tied shirt into the bucket and allow it to soak for 15 minutes. Follow the instructions on your dye and prepare it accordingly.

Dying your shirt

The fun part! Squirt the dye in the sections between the rubber bands, use as many colours as you want. Saturate your shirt with dye to ensure it sticks. Wrap up your shirt in a plastic bag to keep it moist. Leave to set for at least 8 hours before rinsing it out, the longer you leave it the better the results.

Washing your shirt

Unwrap your shirt and cut off the rubber bands. Rinse it out using cold water until the water runs clear. Next, put your shirt into the washing machine for two hot wash rinse cycles. Once dried, you're ready to wear your new tie dyed shirt! Remember to wash it separately the first few times as the dye may still run.

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