How to make a 'marbled' tie-dye shirt

Things You'll Need

  • A light colored pre-washed cotton t-shirt
  • Rubber gloves
  • A large bucket or sink (about 3 - 5 gallons)
  • Long handled stirring utensil
  • Salt (makes the dye appear more vibrant on the finished shirt)
  • One bottle of your choice liquid fabric dye (I reccomend using RIT brand)
  • Old rags
  • Cleaning solution such as: kitchen & tile with bleach
  • Old newspaper
  • Plastic bag
  • American Beauty by The Greatful Dead
  • An open mind

Current popular opinion believes that the grand ol' hippie days are now long over. Bell bottomed jeans, bandannas, and tie-dyed shirts have been cast aside in the post modern world we call the 21st century. Those of us trying to get back to the summer of love, but aren't sure where to start, should begin by adding some color back into their lives. I suggest familarizing yourself with the ancient art of tie-dyeing. Come along with me as we turn on, tune in, and drop some shirts into the dye tub.


Crumple up your chosen t-shirt into a tight ball, and hold it in place.


Now place rubber bands tightly around the shirt so that it keeps its shape. This will require several rubber bands. The more you use, the more lines you will see in your tie-dye design.


Begin filling your large bucket or large sink with hot water (at least 140ºF).


Once full, add your dye of choice; Use 1/2 cup of liquid dye for every 2 gallons of water.


Mix in 1/4 cup of salt.

Drop in your tied shirt; Using gloves, hold it under the surface until the air leaks out and will sit on the bottom of your dyeing vat unattended.


Begin playing side one of The Greatful Dead's landmark album American Beauty.

After 30 minutes in the dye remove the shirt and carefully place it into your plastic bag for clean transportation.


Choose a safe and unobtrusive spot to lay down your old newspaper.

Remove your shirt from the bag and place it on the newspaper for drying.


Begin side two of American Beauty.


Give the shirt about 12 hours to slightly dry before unwrapping.

Unwrap and hang to dry.


  • The longer you leave your shirt in the dye, the darker the color. If you are going to have more than one coloron your shirt, be sure to start with the lightest color first.


  • Keep your cleaning solution nearby, accidents do happen. The same goes for your hands, keep your gloves on at all times, or else you will spend the next 5 days explaining to your coworkers why your hands are purple. When washing your newly dyed clothing be sure to use the cold water setting for the first few times to keep the dye from bleeding onto other articles in the wash.