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How to Make Your Own Tie Dye Shirt — Your Tie Dye Shirt Tutorial

Sep.17.2021
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How to Make Your Own Tie Dye Shirt

Are you looking for a fun and artistic activity to do either in your spare time or while you’re spending time with your family and friends? Why not look for a tie-dye tutorial and turn your boring white shirts and other plain clothing into a fantastic design of your own making. Creating tie-dye shirts at home is fun for the whole family, and because it’s so easy to do, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes and ruining the shirt you’re working with.

Tie-dye Shirt Tutorial

There are a few things that you should prepare before diving into a DIY tie-dye shirt project. Firstly, you’re going to want to set up your space so that the dye only goes where you want it to go. The best time for making tie-dye shirt day would be in the summer when you can go outside and lay tarps on the grass. This is the best way to do it for a few reasons. Firstly, making homemade tie-dye shirts in the great outdoors allows you to use up as much space as you could possibly desire for your project. You can lay garbage bags or tarps out over a field or in your backyard to utilize the space with easy clean-up. Secondly, if you did happen to get some dye on the grass, you could simply hose it off and not worry about staining the floor or your table.

Lastly, the outdoors allows you to use the dye for as long as you want without breathing in too much of the chemicals involved. It’s best if you can’t get outdoors for your project that you do it in a garage or a space with opened windows even if your dye is non-toxic, as the smells can sometimes still give someone a headache. If you are going to do it indoors, also make sure that you have plenty of plastic tarp or garbage bags to cover surfaces and that you wear clothing you don’t mind getting stained.

Ways to Tie-dye Shirt

What is the best way to tie-dye shirts? Depending on what level of DIY you want to achieve, there are a couple of different options for you to choose from. The best way to tie-dye shirts is the way that suits your interest the best. The most popular and easy way to tie-dye a shirt is with a tie-dye kit. A kit typically includes all of the things that you need, along with helpful instructions on how to use each part included.

If you want to get more crafty and personalized with your tie-dye project, you could purchase and mix your own dyes. Mixing your own dyes would give you a bit more freedom to decide on what colors you want, and the colors are often more vibrant, but it can also be more messy, time-consuming and potentially expensive. To mix your own you would need to get your hands on some squeeze bottles, as well as rubber bands, and soda ash if you wish to make the colors set the best.

What You Need to Tie-dye a Shirt

Tie Dye Shirt Tutorial

The things needed for tie-dye are typically all going to be included in a store-bought kit, but if you’re going with the à la carte option, you need to know what needs to be purchased to ensure the tie-dye is most successful. It is obvious that you would need to dye and a white shirt, but beyond that you would also need rubber bands, tarps, access to warm water, squeeze bottles, gloves, and optional salt, urea, soda ash and a face mask if you’re mixing your own dyes from powder. All of the optional things except for the face mask are tools that would help the colors pop in your tie-dyed item.

By mixing a bit of salt into your dye, you can get a more vibrant color. This is because the salt would pull the water wherever it lands. By soaking your shirt in soda ash, the color would stay nicely on the shirt. Urea is a chemical that is added to tie-dye solutions to slow the drying process and allow more dye to set into the fibers in the shirt you are designing. It is simply mixed into the dye solution just like the salt. Although both the salt and the urea chemically react with the water to help the dye set brilliantly, they both do different things, so you would want to use both for the best result.

What Kind of Shirt Should I Use?

While it is possible to just use any old shirt for your tie-dye shirt process, the best material to use for the brightest and most beautiful tie-dye is cotton. By purchasing a new shirt or finding a shirt that you already own that is 100% cotton, you are ensuring that your colors and patterns would come out the best. Cotton is the easiest to dye because of the soft fibers it is made out of. Many shirts are a cotton and synthetic polymer blend, meaning that they are made partly out of cotton and partly out of plastic fiber. These plastic fibers are not very good at absorbing liquids, meaning that they won’t absorb the dye as well and the colors would not come out as vibrant.

Tie-dye Shirts Instructions: How to Tie-dye Shirts Easy

Tie-dye Shirts Instructions

Now let’s get into the step-by-step instructions on how to make your own tie-dye shirt. Because there are multiple ways to tie-dye a shirt, the directions for tie-dye shirts below allow you to choose what kind of patterns and designs you want to achieve with your DIY project.

While these instructions may vary at certain points, they’re going to be simple enough that almost anyone could participate. The steps to make a tie-dye shirt are as follows:

Step One

Put everything in place. This means laying out your tarps or plastic table cloths to protect any surfaces and mixing your dyes if need be. If you have a tie-dye kit, you may still need to add warm water to the bottles of dye that they have provided in the box. Put on your gloves (you should be wearing them for this entire process), add a pinch of salt and urea to your dye mixtures and prepare your shirt. You can prep your shirt by soaking it in a solution of warm water and soda ash for approximately ten minutes.

Once the soak is complete, wring your shirt out as much as you can so that it is still a bit damp but not sopping wet.

Step Two

Swirl your shirt. You can do this with a stick or a wooden spoon, or just with a finger and maybe a bit of help from a friend. To do this, put the stick in the middle of your shirt and then turn it so that the shirt twists and swirls into the center, forming a tight donut by the end.

Once you have that tight donut, use your rubber bands to secure the shirt in place, so it does not become unfolded during the dye process. If you want to make special designs, you can not little bits of the shirt up and then rubber-band those small bulbs. You could also put plastic tape on the shirt in select places, but be aware that this won’t make a crisp shape as the dye would be able to bleed underneath the tape a bit.

Step Three

Place your twisted shirt onto the tarp or plastic. Take your squirt bottles and squirt dye onto the bunched-up shirt. Make sure that you don’t squirt so much dye that the colors all bleed together, making a brown tie-dye mess. If you know you want it to be quite saturated, use two colors that look nice together and don’t form brown when mixed. Avoid mixing red with green, blue with orange, and yellow with purple. All of the colors on the palette mixed together would also result in brown.

Step Four

Once your shirt is dyed, store it in a cool and dry place for 24 hours. Then you can take the rubber bands off and see what design you have made. You can set the dye with an iron and then hand wash it before machine washing to avoid any dye bleeding.

Now that you have all of these tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’re ready to take that sleeve and tie-dye a cool pattern on it! Get to work and enjoy the fun of making your own custom design!

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