Simple Tie-Dye Instructions

Written by kia bryan
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Simple Tie-Dye Instructions
Make a variety of tie-dye patterns using basic techniques. (tie-dyed shirts image by Jim Parkin from

The ancient art of tie-dye fully developed in Japan between 552 and 794 A.D., and other cultures in Asia and Central America utilised the method of tie-dye before they began weaving clothing. Tie-dye prospered in North America during the 1920s and was used to decorate the home and clothing. The practice of tie-dying materials remains prolific among North Americans, and its popularity has lead to the development of easy tie-dye kits and tips on how to create intricate designs. Beginners learn the basic process of tie-dye by following simple instructions.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Plastic covering
  • White cotton T-shirt
  • Washing machine
  • Washing powder
  • Rubber bands
  • Plastic gloves
  • Water
  • 2-gallon bucket
  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Soda ash
  • Stirring spoon
  • Drying rack
  • Funnel
  • Squirt bottles
  • Dyes
  • Dryer

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  1. 1

    Cover your work surface with plastic.

  2. 2

    Wash the T-shirt but don't dry it. Lay the T-shirt flat on your work surface.

  3. 3

    Twist the arms and wrap rubber bands around them. Hold the ends of the T-shirt and twist it into a rope. Place rubber bands around the middle and the ends of the T-shirt to maintain the twist.

    Soda Ash Solution

  1. 1

    Put on plastic gloves. Pour 1 gallon warm water into the bucket and add 1/2 cup soda ash. Mix the solution with the spoon.

  2. 2

    Submerge the T-shirt in the solution.

  3. 3

    Take the T-shirt out of the solution once it is fully saturated and ring the water out. Place the T-shirt on the drying rack until it is dry.


  1. 1

    Place the funnel on top of the squirt bottle. Pour 473ml water and 1 tbsp dye into the bottle--continue to use the same mix ratio until the bottle is full. Shake the bottle to mix the dye.

  2. 2

    Make different colours using the process described in Step 1.

  3. 3

    Place the T-shirt on the plastic-covered work surface. Choose a dye colour and squirt it onto various sections of the T-shirt. Use many different colours to make a colourful design.

  4. 4

    Place the T-shirt on the drying rack and let it dry for at least 12 hours.

  5. 5

    Unwrap the T-shirt. Wash it in hot water with 1/2 cup of detergent in the washing machine. Dry the T-shirt in the dryer.

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