How to Tie Dye.

Tie Dye will always look cool, nomatter what. Here are some simple instructions on how to do it.

You will need:  something white -like a cotton tee or whatever you got in mind, in a light colour / fiber reactive colours / squirt bottles -like an empty ketchup bottle (if you are using more than one colour) / rubber bands or string / rubber gloves.

Basic techniques: depending on how you want your garment to look like you need to tie it differently.

For Stripes:  Gather your shirt up into a tube-like shape. You can twist it for lots of white wrinkles, or leave it as is. Strap rubber bands all the way down the tube. The more rubber bands you add, the more white stripes you will end up with.

For a Centre Circle: For a centered circle on the front of the shirt, first lay the shirt out on a flat surface. Pinch a section right in the middle of the shirt and pull up toward you to make a tee-pee shape. Pull up more of the fabric for a larger circle. Close one hand around the base of the tee-pee and then tie it off with a rubber band. Twist the fabric you’ve sectioned off, and then add rubber bands down the length of it. The more rubber bands, the more circles.

Many Small Circles: If you want lots of small circles, pinch up fabric about 2-3”, insert a large marble (or Styrofoam ball) and tie it off with a thick rubber band or string so that the marble is secure.

For Sunburst: Again tie off a marble. Use your pinky to measure about ½ inch behind the last rubber band. Tie off two more sections about a pinky-width apart. Tie another section 1 finger width after the last one, and try the last one at two finger widths.

For Spirals: For a spiral design, simply pinch up a section in the middle of the shirt and twist it. Continue twisting until you have a spiral. Lay the spiral down on the shirt and curl the rest of the shirt around it like a tight nest. Take two large rubber bands and secure the nest so that it stays put.

Next you prepare and mix your dye with water, according to the instructions it comes with.

Best step is when you squirt the colors all over the shirt, paying attention to where you have tied it off. You can squirt the dye out randomly, or fill certain areas with color.  Make sure you soak thoroughly with the dye.

Most boring step is waiting. At least eight hours before you rinse. Letting it sit overnight is best. To keep the dye moist, wrap your garment in plastic wrap. You don’t want the dye to dry out or it will not properly react with the garment fibers.

Then you wash out the dye by hand in cold water until no colour comes off anymore. You should always wash seperately for the first couple of times to make sure the rest of your clothes dont end up sporting interesting colour variations.

(we don’t own any of the photos. if you do, contact us and you will be given credit.)

About Pixie and Rotter

Pixie and Rotter Zine is a 100% analog Zine supporting analog artists and DIY of any kind. Created by Emma Elina Keira Jones and Amanda M. Jansson. Feel free to contact us:


  1. xoxoxlittlej

    i’ve always wanted to try tie dye but i’m never sure what to use to put the dye in. Do i just use a big painters bucket?

  2. if you plan on dying the whole garment sort of then you can use a bucket with dye. otherwise you need these bottles mentioned and you just squirt as much colour as you want on the spots you want. good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: