how to tie dye

Tie-dye is making a huge come back this year!  I’m literally seeing it EVERYWHERE! So, how to tie-dye?  It’s actually a lot easier than you think, no kits or boiling needed.

Though there are still lots of bright tie-dye items out there, I’ve fallen in love with dreamy pastel tie-dye tees, sets, and sweatshirts. These are so easy to make at home.  You can totally buy these but they are usually either expensive or made of polyester materials if cheaper.  I prefer cotton items that are breathable so I decided to order a bunch of t-shirts and make tie-dye tees for my daughter and me!

pastel tie dye tshirt

How to Tie Dye

Because I’m going for a pastel tie-dye, it’s really forgiving and easy to do.  One of my friends told me that back in the day when your tie-dye came out pastel, it’s because you were unsuccessful!  But fast forward to 2020 and it’s EXACTLY the effect we are looking for.

pastel tie dye tee


Cotton or Cotton Blend T-Shirts 

I bought kids sizes – Check Prices,  and men’s sizes, Check Prices, for matching Mommy and daughter tie-dye tees!  You can also use any old white t-shirts you have in the house too!  Just make sure they are at least a cotton blend and not polyester.

Rit Dyes – Check Prices

You can buy Rit Dyes at any Michaels store!  I actually already had some because I use it to dye my paper flowers!  The color I used was Fuschia but Rose Quartz or Petal Pink would work too.  You would just dilute it less.

Rubber Bands

The rubber bands are the tie up the fabric with.  I actually used hair ties because I didn’t have enough rubber bands.  You can also use any string or twine.

Squeeze Bottle –  Check Prices

The squeeze bottle is great for squirting the dye onto the shirts!!  I guess you could splash it on there, but the squeeze bottle really gives it that nice splotchy effet.  And plus it’s so fun for kids!!

Bowl or Bucket

Any container is fine, this is for when you do the dying so it doesn’t get everywhere.

Gallon Ziplock Bags

You can use any bag really this is to store the wet tee.

How to Tie Dye T-Shirts

Take your Rit Dye and dilute it to the desired color.  I did this by pouring a bit of the Rit Dye into my squirt bottle and adding water.  Then I tested the color on a paper towel.  I kept adding a little bit of water at a time until I got the soft dreamy pastel I was after.

Wet your t-shirts then wring out the excess water, then place in your container.

how to tie dye t shirts

Scrunch up each of your t-shirts and secure with rubber bands as you scrunch.  

tie dye tees

Now here comes the fun part!  Take your squeeze bottle and start squirting on the color!  Turn the bundled up t-shirt and squirt it all over.  

pastel tie dye

After I finished squirty the color I undid the rubber bands just to see the design.  I had a few blank spots so I made a small scrunch, held it, then squirted more color on that section.

diy tie dye

Then I placed the t-shirts in a ziplock back and let them sit overnight for the color to set.

tie dye tutorial

The next day I rinsed the tees with just a bit of detergent until the water ran clear.  I let them hang dry and they were ready to wear!

Tie-Dye with Kids

Pastel tie-dye is a perfect project for kids!  My 4 year old loved it!!!  Pastel tie-dye is kid-friendly because it’s super easy and forgiving.  It’s really hard to mess up because the colors are so light.  Make it even more fun by using more than one color.   Plus the mess rating is low because you dilute the color so much. 

I hope you try this fun project at home and make beautiful dreamy tie-dye tees!

Looking for fun activities with kids?  Check out Butler’s Orchard for pick your own, or visit these sunflower fields in Maryland that are totally kid-friendly, or visit this epic corn maze at Gaver Farm.