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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
8h00

An easy way to fix up an old tee.
I've never been a tie dye type of girl, but combine it with stripes, and I'm sold. This is a great way to fancy up a basic tee or make an old stained tee wearable.

Posted by Sara R. from Bowling Green, Kentucky, United States • Published See Sara R.'s 8 projects »
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  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 1
    Step 1

    Here are the things you will need. It's really, REALLY important to cover your work area, as this is a pretty messy project. That's what the trash bag is for.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 2
    Step 2

    Technically you should probably wash whatever fabric you are using before you get started. (I am impatient and bypassed that step with no ill effects.) Dampen the front of your shirt with the spray bottle then flip it over and give the back a good spray too. A slightly wet shirt will soak up dye a lot quicker/easier than a dry one.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 3
    Step 3

    Now for the folding process.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 4
    Step 4

    If you ever made a paper fan as a kid, then you already know how to fold the shirt. If you never made a paper fan as a kid, then I can't help you. Just kidding. Do an image search for 'accordion fold' and you'll get the idea.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 5
    Step 5

    Finished folds.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 6
    Step 6

    Use the binder clips to hold your folds in place while wrapping the bands.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 7
    Step 7

    The bands need to be nice and tight to keep the dye from sinking into the parts that will remain lighter or white. My stripes turned out a slightly lighter blue than the rest of the shirt; if you want whiter stripes, use wider rubber bands. Place a band wherever you want a garment-colored stripe, removing the binder clips as you go.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 8
    Step 8

    I stopped before I got to the top of my shirt because I wanted to leave that part white.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 9
    Step 9

    I still put a few rubber bands on the top part just to keep the top of the shirt from flopping around too much.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 10
    Step 10

    I also wrapped that portion in plastic wrap. Some dye will still bleed into that area, but the plastic wrap will keep any dye splatters from getting on the part that is to remain white. Secure the plastic wrap to the shirt with a few more rubber bands.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 11
    Step 11

    Mix dye according to the directions it came with. Mine didn't come with instructions for dying with a bottle, so I put half the dye packet and about a teaspoon of salt in the condiment bottle, filled it with hot water and shook it to mix everything together (be sure you put a finger over the bottle opening). This was easily enough dye for two shirts.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 12
    Step 12

    *Be extremely careful with the dye packet! The powdered dye will stain anything it comes in contact with! Skin, countertops, hair; this stuff does not discriminate!!*

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 13
    Step 13

    Squirt the dye directly onto the tee, making sure to flip the shirt over from time to time to really work the dye into all areas of the fabric.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 14
    Step 14

    Then wrap the entire shirt in plastic wrap and let sit for six to eight hours (less if you want a more muted hue of whatever color you are using). I left mine over night and ended up with a nicely saturated navy. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of this step, but all that really matters is that none of the die leaks out.

    Put on gloves and rinse the shirt. If you left a white bit at the top, rinse from the top down. I left the bands on until the water ran clear, then removed them and continued rinsing. This was the result.

  • How to dye a tie dye t-shirt. Nautical Tie Dye Tee - Step 15
    Step 15

    All that's left is to wash and dry the shirt according to the directions on the dye (I washed in warm water and hung it to dry). This is the final result. Pretty sweet for a $2 tee.

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