How to Tie-Dye T-Shirts

Aug 21, 2013

Tie-dye T-shirts are a simple, creative and fun craft for kids to make. Do it outside for less mess!

What you need:

  • shirt in your child's size (craft stores often sell them for under $5.00)
  • tie dye, various colours (you don't need a whole kit; you can buy just the bottles of dye)
  • gloves (to keep the dye off your hands)
  • rubber bands
  • plastic sheet or garbage bag

1. Lay the T-shirt out flat, then pick it up by the front (centre of shirt). Twist a rubber band around the shirt, leaving about an inch of shirt exposed. (You're forming a kind of little ball with the material.)
2. Align the rest of the shirt into a tube (as pictured) and attach rubber bands at intervals. Wherever you place the bands, the dye will not penetrate (or not as much) - this is what makes the starburst pattern.
3. Lay the T-shirts onto a plastic sheet or a garbage bag (this will cut down on the mess factor!). Let kids help and experiment with squeezing the different dye colours onto their shirts.

You can get fancy with patterns, but in my experience, you can't really go wrong just letting kids enjoy the process. There is no "right" way for a tie-dye shirt to look - they are all unique!4. Lay the shirts out in the sun to let the dye set. We left ours out for a few hours, then removed the elastics and hung up the shirts to dry.Look at the amazing patterns we created!Related crafts on
Hawaiian shirts
Handprint and footprint shirts

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