Tie dying your own clothing can be  fun.  You can easily tie dye T-shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, socks, cloth fabric purses, sheets, curtains and anything else you can think of.  These instructions are written with a T-shirt in mind but can easily accommodate other garments.

You will need:

  • An old bucket or other container with a capacity of between 3 to 5 gallons. It is best to use a container you won't mind getting stained.
  • Rubber gloves to keep from staining your hands.
  • Long handled utensil or BBQ fork or tongs will do fine.
  • Plastic squirt bottle for applying dye.
  • Salt.
  • Plastic garbage bag to protect work area.
  • News paper.
  • Powdered cleanser for cleaning up spilled dye.
  • Paper towels or rags for quick clean up.
  • Baking soda.

The kind of dye you decide to use will depend on which of the above items you will need.  Read the directions on the dye box and follow them very carefully.


  • Have your design already in mind before you begin.
  • Cover your work area with plastic garbage bags then cover the plastic with newspapers for better protection.
  • Lay your garment as flat as possible before you begin.
  • Wearing rubber gloves, prepare your dye exactly as directed by the manufacturer.
  •  Cotton material will give best results.
  •  Follow dye directions carefully.  

If the proper method is not taken it could result in bleeding, running, or fading of colours.   Whether it is old or new, the garment you use should be washed before you begin.

Instructions for a Spiral Design:

  • Lay the garment flat and pinch up a bit of material between your thumb and finger where you want the center of the spiral to begin.  Twist the garment starting with the material you pinched up. Keep twisting until the garment is completely twisted up and it looks like a fat circle. Tuck in any loose ends.
  • Now take 3 or 4 rubber bands. Put the first rubber band around the circle of shirt from one side to the other so it crosses the center. Take the remaining bands and do the same thing, crossing the bands over each other in the center of the circle. When you are finished the garment should look like a pie cut into wedges.
  • Use the squeeze bottles to apply dye to each of the pie shaped areas. Apply the same colour dye to the top triangle as you do to the bottom adjoining triangle.
  • Read the dye instructions for how to treat your finished garment.
  • Add a half cup of salt or a half cup of vinegar to a cold water wash for the first three or four washings unless otherwise directed by the dye manufacturer. Using salt or vinegar in cold water will help set the colour to prevent running.