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How to Put a Cross Design on a Tie-Dye Shirt

Updated March 29, 2017

Tie-dyed clothing is a 1960s fashion fad that has become a perennial casual favourite and at times resurfaces as a style trend. By tying off parts of the material so it doesn't absorb the dye, you can tie-dye clothing or other textiles at home to make a wide variety of patterns. Although you can mix your own colours, it is simpler to use an inexpensive tie-dye kit, available at craft stores and fabric shops. One popular item for tie-dyeing is a T-shirt, and just one of many projects you can do is put a cross design on a tie-dyed shirt.

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  1. Place a plain cotton T-shirt on a flat surface. Put it face up if you want the cross on the front of the shirt, and facedown if you want the cross on the back. For the best results, use a 100 per cent cotton shirt, because pure cotton absorbs dye better than a blend with polyester or other synthetics. Use a pen or marker to draw the outline of a cross on the front or back of the T-shirt.

  2. Thread a needle with any kind of strong thread. Make a secure knot at the end of the thread. Stitch the thread along the lines where you have drawn the cross on the T-shirt. You can use large stitches.

  3. Pull the thread at one end of the T-shirt so that the cross outline is gathered in the front. The entire cross should pucker up and be pulled out so that it is on one side of the gathered thread. If the thread seems to be loosening, tie a knot in the end to secure it.

  4. Wrap a rubber band around the cross area that you have gathered. Wrap the band several times until it is very tight.

  5. Gather the rest of the shirt and wrap it with another rubber band. Place this rubber band about three inches down from the first one. Add rubber bands all the way down the rest of the fabric until you reach the bottom of the T-shirt.

  6. Mix up the soaking solution from the tie-dye kit in a bucket. Put the shirt into the solution and let it soak for at least 10 minutes; check the kit instructions for the correct amount of soaking time. When the time is up, wring out the shirt to draw out most of the moisture. To make the lines on your shirt distinct, wring out as much water as you can.

  7. Put on rubber gloves and mix the tie-dye colours according to the kit's instructions. Squirt the dye into the cross section of the T-shirt, the first area you rubber-banded. Squirt a different coloured dye onto each remaining section of the shirt. Soak and rinse out the shirt according to the instructions. Remove the rubber bands and cut away the thread in the T-shirt to reveal the cross pattern.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plain cotton T-shirt
  • Pen
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Tie-dye kit with squirt bottles
  • Rubber bands
  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves

About the Author

Jennifer Brister a freelance writer located in Northeast Louisiana. She has enjoyed careers as an educator, a nuclear lab technician and a massage therapist. Her writing can be found in several publications, including "The Circle," "Carbon Cotton Magazine" and "Fashion Advantage Magazine." She has been employed as a professional freelance writer for three years.

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