Tie dye DIY: 5 innovative ways to dye your t-shirts at home

Dye, garters, water and salt is what you need to design a colorful outfit. These are the basic implements of the “tie dye”, the fabric coloring technique that we will teach you.

If there is a jovial, relaxed and striking style, that is what you achieve by dyeing shirts with the tie dye technique. The term translated into Spanish is understood as “knot-dye”. And it is nothing more than that: take a piece of clothing, tie it and paint it.

Actually, the process doesn’t have much science. It only requires time and creativity to start the coloring of any type of clothing; even shoes, wallets and hats.

Does it catch your attention? We tell you how to apply it.

What is tie dye?

We talk about the technique in which a fabric is tied with ropes and then dyed. The objective is that the textile absorbs color, except in the tied parts, to create in this way diverse patterns.

This is not a recent trend or an old one that was paused. On the contrary, knotted dyeing has always been used.

Musicians and hippies were exponents of the current since the 60s. At present, the designs are innovative, without losing the classic essence.

In fact, the magazine Patrones reported in an article that the demand for dyeing-tying products in the market is fast and retains its dynamism. In its favor, there is no need to wait for famous designers to launch a collection. With the rise of do it yourself (DIY), you carry out at home the tie dye project that you like the most.

Tie dye is a fresh trend followed by children, youth and adults.

What you should keep in mind to make t-shirts with the “tie dye” technique

Before moving on to the phase of dyeing clothes, certain measures are essential. As for the fabric to be painted, check that it does not have stains or grease. It is best to wash it, prior to coloring.

If you want, use dye fixatives, so that the tie dye lasts much longer. Other considerations worth mentioning are the following:

  • Space: choose an area to work other than in the living room, kitchen or bedroom, as there is a risk of stains. Avoid disasters by covering the area with plastics.
  • Pigments: the use of chemical dyes is valid, but even more valid is to work with natural pigments. In addition to being ecological, they pose a lower risk of skin conditions. Ask for them in stores.
  • Temperature: although the tie dye involves the final rinse with cold water, at first you will use hot water; So take precautions not to get burned. And it is that in water at high temperature you prepare the pigments.
Woman performs tye <a href=dye technique at home.” data-nimg=”fill” />
Take some precautions when executing the technique, so you take care of your house and also your clothes.

The process for “tie dye” style T-shirts

In colored clothing it is possible to make the dyeing knotted without using pigments. The secret is to let the garment tied with garters rest for 20 minutes in a mixture of water and chlorine.

But in itself, the essence of the tie dye is to play with the varied coloration and designs generated after the mooring. You get the visual effects of dyeing with the procedure that we will indicate below.


  • Salt.
  • Bucket.
  • Gloves.
  • A t-shirt.
  • Powder dye.
  • Hot and cold water.
  • Garters or elastic bands.

What you should do

Fill the bucket with cold water, add the dyes previously diluted in the hot water and 2 tablespoons of salt per liter of water. Tie the garters to the shirt, according to the shape or pattern you want to wear.

The next thing is to immerse the garment in the dye mixture and let it rest for at least a whole day, without removing the garters. Don’t forget to wear gloves when handling pigments.

After this time, untie the shirt by cutting the elastics with a scissors. Rinse in cold water, making sure that after several “dives”, the rinse is clean.

Then you can put it in the washing machine, without any other clothes. Let it air dry or if you want to intensify the tones, use the dryer.

Instead of a bucket, you can also fill a plastic bag with the tie dye mixture.

Creative ways to design tie dye t-shirts

The magazine Patterns emphasizes that the motifs in fabric applying tie dye are simple to learn, there is variety and allow creative freedom. What are the most common techniques? We present them below.

1. Make stripes to dye tie dye shirts

Roll the shirt from the bottom edge to the neck, making it look like a tube. Around the newly formed cylinder, tie some ropes or garters.

The more adjustments, the more horizontal stripes. If you prefer vertical lines, then screw the shirt from right to left or vice versa. The next thing is dyeing.

2. Spiral weapon

Spirals are popular in dyeing, both for design and ease. What you have to do is spread the shirt on a table and put in the middle of the fabric your index finger and thumb; The idea is to execute a circular movement to get the propeller, without the garment wrinkling.

Once at least 5 laps have been completed, proceed to tie a minimum of 3 garters, ensuring that the shirt obtains a round shape. You paint with an applicator or “drowning” the fabric in a bucket containing the dye.

Tye dye spiral design.
The spiral pattern is one of the most used for t-shirts for its showiness.

3. Wrinkle the piece

Painting from wrinkles is one of the tie dye strategies known as crumple. The pattern consists of crumpling the piece as many times as you want, tying in piles, to form several sections.

Once you’ve fastened enough with the garters, you move on to dyeing. In this case, use only one dye, because what is sought is a marbled effect, in which the white protected by the elastics makes the contrast.

4. Shape rosettes

This method of tying-dyeing aims to paint polka dots similar to a flower, spreading them at different points on the shirt. As in all tie dye strategies, use the garters to separate each mole.

The space you leave in each mooring defines the size of the figure: the greater the distance, the larger the rings. After tying the garters, dip the fabric in color. Depending on your tastes, it is feasible to use one or several pigments.

5. Pinch the fabric

Place the center point of the shirt right in the area that usually covers the chest. Start pinching and adjusting garters from that medium, forming a vertical string.

The upper part of this kind of rope will be the center or target. Very carefully, dye each section in different colors. The result is called bullseye and is one of the classics of tie dye.

The advantage of practicing DIY tie dye

Knotted dyeing under the do-it-yourself method has benefits that go beyond personalizing clothing. One of these advantages is fun, because it is an activity that you can do with the family. It is also feasible to integrate the dynamics as an attraction of children’s parties, so that children enjoy the process.

And if that were not enough, you take advantage of this art to give a new opportunity to clothes that perhaps you thought to discard. Look for old t-shirts and start practicing tie dye; you will see that in a short time you will master the technique.


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