How to Tie-dye Shirts at Home

Upcycle your old clothes with these tie dye methods, and add some colour to your wardrobe.


tie dye shirt on blue background

Using tie-dye techniques is a great way to upcycle your old clothes as well as add some colour to your wardrobe and make bold fashion statements. Here are some great ways you can reuse your old clothes, including what you need, how to prepare and how to tie-dye.

When using coloured dyes in a variety of tie-dye methods, be sure to wear old clothes and keep a product like Persil ready to wash your clothes afterwards.

What do you need?

There are a few different tie-dye methods, but whichever you choose, there are basic items each of your chosen tie-dye techniques will need. These include:

  1. Clothes to dye
  2. A bowl
  3. A long-handled spoon
  4. Fabric dye
  5. Elastic bands
  6. Gloves (preferably rubber)
  7. An old newspaper or two

Preparation for making a tie-dye shirt

When it comes to knowing how to make tie dye shirts, the preparation is just as important as the tie-dye methods.

  1. Wash the shirt first using a quality detergent like Persil to remove any dirt which could affect the dying process.
  2. Cut out any manufacturer labels.
  3. Dip the shirt in hot water before tying and dying. Damp fabric will soak up the dye better.
  4. Wring out any excess water prior to dying.

How to tie-dye

Learning how to tie-dye a shirt is simple. Here are some basic steps you need to follow:

  • Mix the fabric dye according to the instructions on the packaging.
  • Fold, twist and bind the shirt using elastic bands into a pattern you wish to create.
  • Dip the shirt into the fabric dye, or alternatively use a bottle to squeeze the dye directly onto the fabric.
  • Pop the tie-dyed shirt into a plastic bag. This will keep it damp as the dye sets. The colours will be brighter after a longer period of setting.

How to make tie-dye shirts ready for wearing

Knowing how to tie-dye shirts using basic tie-dye methods is one thing, but once the dye has been absorbed, you need to get it ready for wearing. Follow these steps to get your garment ready to go:

  1. Cut the elastic bands off. Take care when using scissors so you don’t cut yourself or the shirt.
  2. Rinse the shirt in cold water.
  3. Rinse the shirt again until the water runs clear, this time using the hottest water available.
  4. Using a detergent like Persil Colour Liquid, machine-wash the shirt on a normal cycle, ensuring you keep it separate to other clothing for the first few washes to avoid colour transfer.

So now you have all the tips and tricks you need to know how to tie-dye shirts, and be able to add a dash of colour to your wardrobe. This way you can upcycle and upgrade your old clothes instead of chucking them out.     

  • Use newspaper to cover your work area and wear gloves to prevent getting dye stains.
  • Wear old clothes during any tie-dye methods.
  • Follow the mixing and washing instructions on your fabric dye.
  • Use a laundry detergent like Persil to wash your tie-dye clothes afterwards.
  • Originally published