How to Tie Dye Your T-Shirts

How to Tie Dye Your T-Shirts

Have you ever tie dyed a t-shirt? Tie dye has been all the rage this summer, and there's still time to get in on this fun trend! Grab your tees, I'm going to show you how I tie dyed my t-shirts. 

How to Tie Dye Your Favorite T-Shirts

Supplies needed for tie dyed t-shirts-


Rubber bands

Fabric dye or tie dye kit


Metal rack

Plastic bin or baking tray

Plastic grocery bags

Let's Begin

Now that you have gathered all of your supplies, it's time to get started. When it comes to the t-shirt you use for tie dying, it's up to you if you want to use a shirt with or without writing or graphics on it. I love both looks! For this tutorial, I'm using t-shirts with some wording on them. 

First, you need to get your t-shirt wet. I put my shirts in the sink and saturated them with cold water. Wring out the excess water and lay the t-shirt out flat on a hard surface.

*Note- It's best to do this project outside or in the garage. You will be working with dyes and you don't want to be worrying about staining your nice furniture or countertops! 

Next, you need to decide the tie dye design you want to create on your shirt. I'm going to go through two different designs in this tutorial. 

Diagonal Rainbow

The first design I'm sharing is a diagonal rainbow design.

To get a really cute diagonal rainbow effect with your tie dye, start at the bottom corner of the shirt. Then, using rubber bands, gather the t-shirt and secure with evenly spaced rubber bands. Remember that where the rubber bands are located, you will not have dye. Keep this in mind when planning your spacing. You can determine the width of your stripes by how far apart you secure the rubber bands.

Continue to add rubber bands across the whole t-shirt, gathering more fabric into your rubber bands as you go up the shirt. You will end up with a long tube shape when the shirt is gathered and secured with rubber bands. 


For the second t-shirt, I chose a spiral design. This design is really simple but still super fun.

Get the t-shirt wet with cold water. Wring out the excess water and lay the t-shirt flat on a hard surface. 

To create the spiral design, pinch the shirt where you want the spiral to start. Then twist the shirt around in a circle until all of the t-shirt is in a spiral shape around your center point. Secure the whole shirt in this form with rubber bands.

Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect! That’s part of the fun of tie-dye.

To tie dye t-shirts-

For the Diagonal Rainbow design, I placed the t-shirt on a metal baking rack that I placed over an old baking pan to catch the excess dye. Since I wanted a gradient effect, I used different colored dye on each section as I worked my way across the t-shirt. Make sure you wear gloves when working with fabric dye! 

Do one side at a time, and flip the shirt over after you saturate the top of the t-shirt. You won’t have to use as much dye on the back of the t-shirt because it will have absorbed the dye from the front. Once both sides are saturated, carefully place the shirt in a plastic bag while the dye sets. 

For the spiral shirt, apply the colors however you like, using the same setup used for the rainbow design shirt. Be sure to flip it over so you can apply the dye to the back of the shirt, as well. 

Place in a plastic bag when finished. 

Let both shirts sit in their bags for 6-8 hours or overnight to let the dye set. 

Rinse the shirts in cold water in the sink with the rubber bands still attached to the shirts until the water runs clear. Cut rubber bands off the shirt and discard. Then, remove the rubber bands and launder in hot water in the washing machine. This will completely set the dye so you won't have problems with the colors running. 

To tie dye a shirt with bleach

While I was tie dying my shirts, I thought it would be fun to do one with bleach! This method is really quick and I love the bleached look. Here's how I did it.  

Wet a t-shirt and ring out the excess water. Lay flat on a hard surface. Scrunch up the t-shirt and secure with rubber bands, or use one of the previous methods from earlier to create a design on your shirt with the rubber bands. 

Place equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle. Carefully spray the bundled t-shirt with the bleach mixture. Flip t-shirt over to apply bleach to the other side. 

Let the shirt sit until bleach develops to your preference. The longer it is left on, the whiter the color becomes. It doesn’t take long to develop! I left my bleach on for only a minute or two before I rinsed it off. 

How I used bleach to tie dye my t-shirts

When you have reached the color you like, take the rubber bands off and rinse the shirt in cold water with the hose outside. Ring out the excess water. Wash your shirt in the washing machine on cold, by itself to prevent any excess bleach from affecting your other clothes. Then, wash on hot to make sure the bleach has set completely. 

Here's my finished product!

My finished bleach dyed tee! Find out how I did it here-

That's it! That is how to tie dye t-shirts!

How I tie dyed my favorite tee!

I hope you give these tie dye methods a try! Like I said before, tie dye is a really big trend for summer and even fall this year. Have some fun and grab some t-shirts you already own and experiment with tie dye! If you'd rather purchase a tie dyed shirt, we have some in the shop at Olive Ave!

To see how I tie dyed my shirts, check out my IGTV below:

How I tie dyed my favorite tees!

DIY Trend- Tie Dye Your Favorite Tees

How I Tie Dyed my Favorite T-Shirts 3 Ways!