How to Tie-Dye Your T-Shirt

Tie-dyeing allows you to express your personality by taking a plain white T-shirt and creating your own design. It’s a good activity for groups of preteens or even younger, as long as your provide adequate supervision. Provide a good variety of fabric dye colors so each child can pick just the right combination for her personality.

Put on rubber gloves and prepare the fabric dye according to package directions. You may want to prepare the dye in a large metal bucket or wash tub.

Gather up the T-shirt fabric and add rubber bands on the T-shirt to create designs. For lines, put rubber bands around the whole shirt, which is twisted as if you are wringing it out. For circles, pinch up a section of the shirt and apply a rubber band. For sunbursts, grab a large section of T-shirt and apply a row of rubber bands.

Place the T-shirt in the bowl of dye for at least 15 minutes. The longer you leave it in, the darker it will get. For a multi-colored effect, only place part of the shirt in each dye at a time.

Rinse extra dye out of the shirt before moving to a second color.

Use a scissors to carefully remove the rubber bands.

Run T-shirt under cold water until no more dye comes out of the fabric.

Machine wash shirt and dry by hanging or in a dryer.


If you want to have more control over the application of various colors, put the fabric dye into squirt bottles. Squirt color where you want it instead of soaking the shirt. This method might be better for younger children.

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