How to Tie Dye for Applying Different Patterns

tie dyed green image by Steve Mann from

Things You'll Need

  • White fabric or T-shirts
  • Rubber bands
  • Marbles
  • Dye resister (sold at craft stores)
  • Salt
  • Fabric dye
  • Large buckets or glass containers

Traditional tie-dye patterns can be applied using a variety of resist items. A resist is a barrier between a fabric and dye process. Common household resist items include rubber bands and marbles. You can create an object-free resist by crinkling or twisting fabric. Craft stores sell washable resist products for fine detailed patterns like batik. Some modern tie-dye techniques do not use a resist at all, but rather dip fabric in dye to create an ombre or solid colored effect. All these applications can be used with consumer strength fabric dyes. Follow the instructions for your fabric dye to complete the process.


Choose triangle or horizontal stripes.

Prepare fabric by folding. For triangle stripes, fold fabric in half lengthwise twice. Fold the bottom corner up to create a triangle shape. Working from bottom to top, continue folding triangles until your fabric looks like one large triangle.

For horizontal stripes, lay fabric flat and use an accordion fold from bottom to top. Large folds will yield large stripes and vice versa.

Band your project. Secure your project by wrapping a band at each end of the fold, and intermittently in the middle.

Dye and rinse project, according to the dye instructions. Generally, the dye solution is prepared in hot water. After dyeing, rinse project in warm water, followed by cool water until water runs clear.


Choose design layout. The sphere pattern will have a solid color in the middle of the sphere with a white outer halo. You may choose to line the spheres in a specific area or pattern, or create random spheres.

Place marbles one at a time under the fabric where you want a sphere.

Band your project. Wrap the fabric outside around marble tightly. Secure marble with a rubber band.

Dye and rinse project. The hotter the dye solution is, the deeper the color will be when finished. Rinse in warm, then cool water until water runs clear.


Draw a pattern on the fabric. Use a dye resist from the craft store for optimal end results. Batik designs are a series of patterns that can be more detailed than banded tie-dye applications.

Dye fabric. You can use a traditional dye bath or lay fabric flat and spray with fabric paint sprayers.

Wash project. A dye resist such as Tulip Fashion Art Resist washes out in hot water. Rinse in hot, then cool water until water is clear from dye.


  • Add a cup of salt to your dye for deeper color.


About the Author

With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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