All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

by Сашка

If you want an easy and fun way to spice up your wardrobe — especially if you’re heading to summertime camps, family gatherings and festivals — then look no further.

Tye dye is in, and there’s no limit to the cool patterns and colours you can create.

Your clothes will be guaranteed to look different from anyone else’s, and the tie-dyeing process itself is quite fun to boot.

We’ve linked to the materials you’ll need, so simply follow our step-by-step instructions to create your own one-of-a-kind look.

What you’ll need to start tie-dyeing

Rubber GlovesPlastic bag or plastic wrapRubber bandsDye powder

How to tie dye shirts with rubber bands

T-shirts are the most common tie dye projects, so we’ll be using them as an example. You can easily transfer these techniques to jumpers and sweatshirts, and we’ve included specific instructions for dyeing socks and using bleach to tie dye, below.

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Before you start, you’ll need to assemble some supplies for your tie dyeing project. You’ll require the following materials:

Rubber Gloves

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Wilko

Wilko Rubber Gloves – One Size

To prevent you from turning into a Smurf (or at least your hands), make sure to wear gloves while handling dyes and any dyed clothing. These heavy duty gloves can be washed and reused for future tie dyeing projects.

Plastic bag or plastic wrap

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Tesco

Tesco Zip Seal Food & Freezer Bags Medium 20S

After dyeing, you’ll need to let your creation sit for quite a few hours to let the dye set. Storing your dyed clothing in zip seal bags will prevent the dye from leaking onto other surfaces while helping to seal in the dye.

Rubber bands

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Amazon

Elastic Rubber Bands

You save £0.10 (3.34%)£2.99

While you could go the extra-traditional route and literally tie your clothing into different patterns with pieces of string, rubber bands are so much easier to use. Make sure to get thicker ones like these, as you need them to be strong  enough to go around your entire garment — especially for bigger patterns like a spiral.

Dye powder

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Amazon

Jaquard Procion Mx Dye Set 8 Colours

We recommend choosing reactive dyes like these Procion dyes. Reactive dyes chemically bond to your fabric, meaning they won’t wash out or dilute once they’ve set. Note that these dyes do require a soda ash pre-soak to be most effective.

Plastic sheet

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Dunelm

By the Metre Dandelion Natural PVC Tablecloth

You’ll need some kind of plastic sheeting or other dye- and waterproof material to cover your work surface while tie-dyeing. We’ve found that plastic tablecloths do the trick quite well.

Clothing to dye

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Marks and Spencer

Pure Cotton Everyday Fit T-Shirt

Clothing made from 100% cotton or other natural fibres will retain colour better than synthetic fabrics. We love the v-neck on this cotton top.

White is the best colour to highlight tie dye, though you can read more about reverse dyeing black clothing below.

Squeeze bottles

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Amazon

Pixiss Tie Dye Squeeze Bottles 6-Pack

Though you can opt to pour or dip dye your clothing, most people opt for bottles to apply the dye. This bottle set will allow you to use up to six different colours of dye at once.

Soda ash

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Amazon

Jacquard Soda Ash Dye Fixer

If it’s not an ingredient of the dye itself, you’ll need to purchase soda ash to help prepare your clothing so that it will fully absorb the dye colour as you tie dye. However, some dyes have soda ash included, in which case you won’t need to buy it separately.

Tie Dye Kit

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: Amazon

LOYO Tie Dye Kit – 18 Colours Tie Dye Set with 3 White T-Shirt and Socks

Alternatively, and to save time, you could opt for a tie-dye kit that includes all the basic materials you need. We love this kit especially because it comes with shirts and socks ready to dye.

Read also:
We’re obsessed with these spring/summer 2023 fashion trends

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: PexelsTeona Swift

Step 2: Prep your clothing

Before dyeing you’ll need to pre wash your clothing. If your dye doesn’t include soda ash, now is the time to pre-soak your clothing so the colour lasts. (Tulip brand dyes already have soda ash as part of their formulation, so no need to pre-soak!)

If doing a soda wash soak, make sure to follow all safety precautions listed on the product.

Regardless of whether you’ve done a soda ash soak or not, at the end of this step you should havea clean and slightly damp piece of clothing — we’re using a t-shirt for our example.

Step 3: Prep your workspace

Make sure to cover your workspace with a plastic sheet or do your dyeing outside (still possibly with a plastic sheet).

Now is the time to add water to your powdered dyes and mix well to dissolve any powder clumps. You may find it helpful to mix and store the dyes in squirt bottles. Also pay attention to any safety precautions listed on the dye mixes.

Make sure you’ve got an idea of what design you want and have your rubber bands ready.

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: PexelsTeona Swift

Step 4: Time to dye

Arguably the most fun step in this whole process, it’s time to get creative and diy your own uniquely coloured clothing.

Choose from a wide variety of patterns like the spiral or swirl, the fold, the bullseye or even simply crumpling the fabric. Use the rubber bands to keep it all in place.

Depending on what you want your finished product to look like, add large or small amounts of different dye colours to your now-rubber banded item. The more dye you use, the less white space you will have left on your finished garment. Do, however, be mindful of which colours will bleed together (which may or may not be part of your dyeing technique).

Step 5: Let it set

Patience, young tie-dyeing padawan! Most dyes take at least six hours to set, though you’ll get better results the longer you let the dye sit in the fabric.

After up to 24 hours, you’ll want to rinse out your dyed creation in the sink before running it through the washing machine — on its own, of course. Once you wash and dry your garment, you’ll be able to enjoy its unique colour combinations.

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: PexelsTeona Swift

How do you tie dye socks?

Tie dyeing socks requires the same process as a shirt or dress or most any other clothing item. However, one thing to consider with socks is whether you want them to match each other.

If so, just make sure to fold, twist, tie and dye your socks the same way. They’ll still both be a bit unique, but by paying careful attention, you can get them to match relatively well.

How do you tie dye a shirt with bleach?

Tie dyeing with bleach, also known as reverse dying, involves taking a dark coloured fabric and treating it with bleach instead of dye. The bleach lightens the fabric, changing the colour (for example black turns to orange when bleached).

The process for tie dying with bleach is very similar to normal tie dying, except you’ll use bleach after tying instead of dye. Bleach also works much faster than dye, so you’ll only need to leave your clothing for a matter of minutes before washing.

It’s also another chemical that needs to be handled with care; make sure to follow safety precautions for handling bleach.

Rinse your bleach-dyed clothing once it has reached the lightness you desire, then consider placing it in a neutralising solution like hydrogen peroxide mixed with water before running your clothing through the wash — again, on its own.

All the basics you need to know for how to tie dye

Photo: PexelsTeona Swift

So, how hard is it to tie dye?

Learning how to tie dye isn’t hard at all. With just a handful of materials — or just a simple tie dye kit with t-shirts and socks included — and a few step-by-step instructions, you can easily make colourful clothing and fun memories with friends and family.

If you want to get a bit fancy, mix your own dye colours and try out various folding and swirling patterns — just make sure you have enough strong rubber bands to hold it together.

And even though it takes a bit of time to let the dye set, once you unwrap it from the plastic bag or cling film and put it to wash, you’ll be amazed by the results.

Related Posts