Adventures in DIY Tie Dye

Don’t think of this as a tutorial because, if you do, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Think of this as the anti-tutorial. You can learn from my mistakes how to achieve better results.

There are many DIY projects and crafts that I excel in. Tie dye is not one of them.

But isn’t this a kids craft?


My parents tie dye days were long behind them by the time I arrived, so, this was not a craft in my home until three kids and a car note later. And I did a far better job at tie dying myself than I did my kid’s shirts.

Gloves? We don’t need no stinkin’ gloves. (By the way, yes, you do need gloves.)

Four days later, my nails are still varying shades of the rainbow. Nope. I don’t wear polish and, fortunately, now I don’t even have to.

In true elementary school fashion, this project was sprung on me last minute. There could be no other way! 

As it turns out, it was spirit week (with a themed costume each day) for the schools anti-drug campaign. Apparently, tie-dye achieves that message. I mean, I don’t know any hippies who might have chosen to partake in a little experimentation.

That was just a sugar cube ― she was clearly hypoglycemic.

Step One: Gather Supplies


• White Shirt
• Tie Dye Kit
• Washable Marker

The tie dye kit comes with dyes, gloves, and rubber bands. The essentials.

Easy peasy.

Step Two: Draw (Heart Only)


If you attempt the heart design like I did, you will need to draw a half of a heart with a washable marker.

If you are choosing to do the spiral, or any other design, you can skip this step.

Step Three: Bunching


You will need to pleat fold as close to the shape of the heart as you can manage. Continue bunching around the heart and secure with a rubber band once complete.


Continue adding rubber bands down the length of the shirt.

For a spiral design, pinch the middle and swirl like the photograph below.


You will end up with a circular shape once complete and you will need to add 3-4 rubber bands across the shirt.


Step Four: Add Dye


Get creative!

Step Five: Plastic Wrap

In order to not to dye everything in your house that these touch, it is suggested that you wrap the shirts in plastic wrap.

This is not my genius. This was what the box told me to do.

Allow it to sit for 6+ hours. The longer, the better – basically.

Step Six: Wash & Dry

You will need to wash this by its lonesome for at least the first couple of times as the dye does bleed.

Dry as normal and voila!



Enjoy your new hippie-esque shirts!

my kiddos new threads:


9-5 11

MEET THE Models:


The one on the left looks shady AF because he is, but don’t let the other two fool you. They’re equally as mischievous.

If you love DIY projects with a hippie flair, check out my Dreamcatcher + Suncatcher Tutorials!

Do you have any tie dye tips + tricks? Let me know in the comments!

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