How To: Tie Dye T Shirts


I hate to brag but I’m a professional tie-dyer. 


I know how to make T-shirts with dark colors that absolutely do not fade. Just don’t wash a fresh one with white clothes and all will be well. 

Step 1. Gather Supplies

Order your equipment from Dharma Trading in California. You will need soda ash, dye (reactive procion dye to be exact), urea, and rubber bands. Cotton works the best for T-shirts. 

I usually just go to Walmart and buy a six pack of undershirts for men or boys.

The primary colors at Dharma are fuchsia, lemon yellow, and turquoise. These work best for mixing to make secondary colors (orange, green and purple). 

You could also do camo, red white and blue, school colors or whatever floats your boat.

Step two.

Mix your dye According to directions. You’ll also need a bucket to mix soda ash and water.

This can be done the day before. 

The Mixture of die and urea creates an acid. The Mixture of soda ash and water creates a base. This creates a science experiment that bonds to the cotton making a chemical reaction and a permanent awesome shirt!

Step 3. Get your T-Shirt

You’ll You’ll put rubber bands on your shirt. You can make circles, you can make lines, if you want to make the traditional starburst type tie dye, pinch the middle of the shirt and spin your fingers, continue to do this until you have a circle. Next you’ll Put rubber bands around making the shirt look like a pie.

Another fun thing is shapes. If you want to make a heart, use a needle and thread to make a big running stitch in the shape of a heart. Pull the thread tight, put a rubber band around, then continue with the next step.

Step 4. Presoak

Soak the band T-shirts in the soda ash solution for about 10 minutes.

Step 5. Dye Away

Use the acidic dye that you have mixed to color your T-shirt. Make sure you get in the folds. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Let the kids DO IT THEMSELVES! They can’t mess it up. 

Step 6. Bag It! 

Put the shirt in a plastic bag overnight. You don’t want it to dry. I like to put each shirt in an individual bag. 

I wouldn’t recommend putting a yellow shirt on in the same bag with a blue one or you may end up with two green ones. I know this from experience. 💁🏼‍♀️

Step 7. Rinse your Guts Out

Use cold water to rinse your guts out. Rinse the shirt with the elastics until the water runs clear. Remove the elastics and then rinse again. Keep rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing and rinsing.

Once the water is clear, run all the shirts through your washing machine on cold setting with one cup of white vinegar.

Step 8. Wear your new Shirt ALL THE TIME!

I wouldn’t recommend making one for Andy because he will never wear it. Ask me how I know. 

Peace out friends ✌🏼

1 comment

  • Don’t worry, my husband would never wear it either!! LOL!!!!


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