40 Fun and Colorful DIY Tie Dye Designs
Updated February 20, 2017 with 5 more tie dye designs, including Captain America tie dye shirts. If you haven’t made a tie dye t-shirt in awhile, you are in for a real treat. There are many more techniques that are so easy to try and get terrific results.
Best of all, there are ways you can tie dye that are far less messy, such as using Sharpies or even Kool Aid or sugar that you can do with kids (recommended with supervision by an adult).
We’ve found you 40 fun tie dye DIY designs to try, many with step by step helpful tips to show you exactly how to create those fantastic t-shirts or other tie dye arts you admire. Make a Mickey Mouse tie dye t-shirt for your next trip to Disney.
Create heart themed tie dye shirts for someone special. Or try some of the other classic tie dye techniques the bulls-eye or the spiral. Happy crafting!
Sharpie Tie Dye
At SunScholars.com – site is no longer live. Tie Dye Tutorial moved here.
Tie Dye The Classic Spiral
DIY Fold & Clamp Tie Dye
I have always loved the look of tie-dye, but frankly, was a bit terrified to try and create it myself.
When I thought of “homemade” tie-dye, I pictured the 70’s tie-dye style t-shirts that I made at summer camp. They had 59 colors and frankly, made you dizzy.
But then I would go into stores and see the lovely blue and white tie-dye patterns and think, “Oh I love that more than anything in the world! But if I made it at home, it would never look that.”
Well, y’all, it surely can.
I was determined for Round 1 of CWTS to create my own tie-dye curtains in blue and white. I did my research and came across the Shibori technique. It’s an ancient Japanese dying technique that creates all types of patterns, not just the crazy circles I grew up with.
After doing my research, I made my office curtains. Here’s an up-close of how they turned out.
I have since tie-dyed a table runner and some pillow covers and I’ve gotten the method down! And the best part? You can totally customize it for a number of different looks!
And it is so easy. fail proof. You cannot mess this pattern up. Imperfections just give it character and actually look purposeful with such an organic product.
I saw some pretty complicated tutorials out there with ten materials and twenty steps. This one is simple and I love the product just as much!
Here’s how to make your own!
I love indigo dye that gives you that vibrant blue, but my local craft store doesn’t carry it. From what I can see, you have to order it offline, which is no problem if planning ahead.
the nature of tie-dye, I’m more of a free-flowing up and decide to do something person. I just grabbed some Rit Dye in a color I d. Though I love the look of the indigo so much, I’ll probably be making some of that in the future.
This tutorial is called fold and clamp, but it is basically a flag folding technique.
Step 1: Lay your fabric out on a flat surface.
Step 2: Accordion Fold your Fabric
You want to accordion fold the entire piece of fabric into one strip, using an over, under method.
in the picture above, fold the end over.
Then fold it under.
Continue this folding over and under until you have a long strip of folded fabric. Make sure that your strip is even. You want the final fold to reach all the way to the edge. Take your time getting the fold right because that’s what will determine your pattern.
Step 3: Flag Fold
All of you may know how to flag fold, but I did not remember.
You want to fold down one corner forming a triangle.
Then fold that triangle down, forming another.
Continue to do this until the entire strip is folded into one triangle.
This is the base of the fold and clamp method.
The “clamp” portion of the name comes from the idea to use wood and rubber-bands to literally clamp and hold the triangle together while it dyes.
I decided to hold the triangle into the dye and it worked great. As you’ll see in a second, you do not submerge the triangle in the dye, so holding it worked out.
For our curtains, we improvised at this point.
We put a rubber-band around the three corners of the triangle. If you look closely at the print of those curtains, you can see that the circles come from where a rubber-band was and the diamond shapes come from the flag fold.
I really love the circles added in.
For our table runner, we left off the rubber-bands and ended up with just the diamonds.
I did the same for our new tie-dye pillow.
You can also vary how large you fold your material. As you can see above, the print in my curtains is of much larger scale than my new pillow. The bigger the flag-folded triangle, the bigger the pattern.
Step 4: Dye Your Fabric
The goal of this is to hold each side of the triangle into the dye for the same amount of time. The longer it’s in the dye, the darker it gets. I just barely put the side of each triangle into the dye. I wanted a good bit of white to still show, but also, the dye travels up the fabric.
On the curtains, which was a much larger fold, I put about two inches on each side into the dye so that there was a white triangle left on both sides.
Follow the instructions on the dye box for water and dye ratio and use hot water as it suggests.
I would suggest wearing gloves. Yes, the instructions say that, but I was in too big of a rush and couldn’t find gloves. The story of my life…I had a blue hand for a day or two. Oh well, such is the life of a DIYer.
Once you’ve dyed all three sides for the same amount of time, rinse it with a hose until the water runs clear.
Then, lay it out to dry and you have a lovely tie-dye project to display only a few short hours later!
This is seriously my favorite project ever. It adds so much personality and funky charm to my office.
I want to tie-dye everything in site!
The photos of this tutorial were from my recent pillow project. The curtain in-process photos were destroyed by my evil SD card.
Curtains: For the curtain project, I dyed white IKEA curtains that I’d had forever. I used Rit Dye in Denim.
Runner: Rit Dye in Turquoise.
Pillow: Rit Dye in Navy.
For the denim and turquoise, you really had to leave it in quite a while (6-8 minutes on each side) to get color. The navy was so dark and I barely left each side for 1 minute.
Now, go tie-dye friends! My mom and I have already planned a tie-dye extravaganza when our whole family is together for July 4th. They’re planning on making tablecloths and runners…I might be venturing into clothes! And a few more tie-dye home projects will no doubt be on the list. You know I’ll share after the fact.
Summer Craft: 13 Rules that Lead to Trippy Tie Dye
By Emily Harrington
It’s hard for me to sit down and just “visit.” I to center social gatherings around some sort of activity. So, when we were having my parents and brother’s family over on a summer Sunday, I wanted to do something fun of which the entire family could take part.
I had seen some tie-dye techniques in a magazine and was intrigued. I had never tie dyed before and thought it looked so vibrant and happy.
The other part of me was thinking: two toddlers and permanent dye. DON’T DO IT. For once I listened to the “live dangerously” side of me.
Here I’ll share my tie-dyeing journey with you; I made a few mistakes, but ultimately loved how the experience turned out.
The weather turned out beautiful that night — perfect tie-dyeing weather. Tie-dye rule #1, you will want to do this outside.
Because of the amount of dye each packet creates, I recommend making this a group event, tie-dye rule #2. I wouldn’t have done this to make just one or two T-shirts. So, invite a small group to participate.
It’s a lot more fun this way, and the materials will get used up. You won’t want to save leftover dye.
Tie-dye rule #3, ask each invitee to bring a washed and dried (with no softener) white item.
I picked an old white T-shirt for my husband (you know the one with the pit stains in the bottom of the drawer), a T-shirt for my son, athletic socks for me (which didn’t absorb the color as well as the thin T-shirts) and a tiny onesie for a gift. My other family members brought T-shirts to dye.
I chose to buy Tulip-brand dye that comes in a squeeze bottle, tie-dye rule #4. The squeeze bottle makes this process as neat as humanly possible and helps you concentrate the dye on a targeted area.
This dye precision is something you can’t achieve with the old-school method using buckets of dye. Craft stores in our area sell these kits or additional colors without all the other items you will need in the kit.
So, for our 11 projects, I spent roughly $40 on supplies.
I bought one full kit of five colors (with an additional dose of dye for each color), rubber gloves and bands and three additional bottles of color in different shades not in the kit (I had to have pink).
I also bought extra rubber gloves and bands and clothes pins. I have three packets of dye powder, rubber gloves and bands, clothes pins and cleaned squeeze bottles left.
The next time we do this, I will be all set and not have much cost involved at all.
We’ve got our supplies ready! It’s time to rubber band our projects, tie-dye rule #5. The kit comes with different patterns to create with the dye. There’s the bullseye, swirl, ombre, crumple, etc. All the patterns are easy to achieve just by the way you fold and band your fabric. We were NOT experts and we were still able to recreate the patterns easily and quickly.
The squeeze bottles come with a pre-measured amount of powdered dye in the bottom. You just fill with water to the line and shake, tie-dye rule #6. If you need to dive into an extra packet, do not use your teeth. I was spitting orange for an hour after opening.
We all put on rubber gloves and set out for an uninhabited area of our yard. Everyone put their projects on the ground and armed themselves with the color of their choice. When you are squeezing dye on your banded projects, concentrate on the area in between the bands.
Avoid the area by the bands as the colors will spread and bleed, tie-dye rule #7. You want to saturate and let the color soak through to the middle of the fabric, but you don’t want the colors to blend together.
They will get muddy looking and turn poo brown if the right colors mix.
Once you’ve colored one side, flip your project and repeat, tie-dye rule #8.
While the adults and a 10-year-old were fully engrossed in this project, the two toddlers were running around and fighting over toys.
Toddlers squabbling: “Mine! No, mine!”
Adults look up and in unison yell: “Share!” Adults all look down again and return to tie dyeing.
So, this project is really best and most engaging for school-age kids and older, tie-dye rule #9.
After you’ve dyed your project, wrap piece in plastic wrap and hang on a clothesline overnight, tie-dye rule #10. I hung twine in between our fence posts for the duration of the project.
The next morning I unwrapped each piece and rinsed them individually to remove excess dye, tie-dye rule #11. Do this in a metal sink that won’t stain. Once the water runs clear during rinsing, you can remove bands with scissors. I nicked a hole in a project so be careful here.
After this I rinsed again. Then I threw the projects into the largest wash load on the hottest cycle with a glug of detergent, tie-dye rule #12. Dry normally. For the next few washes or so, be aware of what you are washing the dyed items with.
They will ly bleed a bit still, tie-dye rule #13.
A family that tie-dyes together stays together! Photo credit: Emily Harrington
Even though I’m not the tie dye wearing type, I always wanted to try the process. It was an entertaining project to do while it’s nice outside. When I saw the different colors and patterns revealed from each family member on their T-shirts, I was thrilled with the results. It was great to see the unique and colorful designs each person created.
Maybe next summer my son will even get in on the action!
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie that left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job to be a 24/7 mom to a dreamy son. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Oh, and let’s not forget her other son, a degenerate canine named Heppenheimer.