Tie Dye Instructions and techniques

You probably already know the internet is a very valuable source of tie dye instructions. Many web sites have information from buying the right fabric to washing your new tie dye creation properly.

I have decided instead of repeating information that is already available on the internet I will just direct you to web sites with useful tie dye instructions, lessons and patterns.

Firstly, I highly recommend TIE-DYE! The How-To Book, by Virginia Gleser. It's a great read for tie dye beginners with helpful information and set by step photos of some nice designs.

Paula Burch's, How to tie dye - Complete Instructions . This is a huge site full of info, galleries, pictures and more. Definitely worth a visit. 

Dharma Trading is always a great place to purchase tie dye supplies. They also sell clothing blanks and free tie dye instructions.

Punk Rock Tye Dye (cool YouTube video. Super fast and easy way to make your own tye dyed t-shirt). 

Tie dying is really a simple process:

  • First, wash and spin out the white item to be dyed (make sure it's a natural fiber product like 100% cotton, hemp or rayon. Not polyester!). 

  • Next, soak it in a soda ash solution for 30 minutes or until fully saturated (1 cup to 1 gallon water). Then, ring out excess chemical water or turn the water off on your washing maching and spin out excess soda ash water. 

  • Tie it up any way you like using rubber bands, string, etc. (design ideas can be found in tie dye books, DVD's and on the internet)  
  • Then dye it with Procion MX dyes (info on mixing dye and the ratio of how much dye to water is available on the Dharma Trading web site) 

  • Once item is saturated with dye wrap in plastic or set on table to cure for 24 hours (make sure it stays wet so the dye can react to the fabric). 

  • Unwrap, rinse in cold water and wash in Synthrapol soap 3 times to remove excess dye. Dry in a dryer or hang to dry.

Tye Dye tip: Watch your color combining!  Remember the color wheel?

A good beginners rule to dying is to apply colors next to each other in the following list.  


After you get some experience with color combining you may want to try putting opposite colors together or side by side to create earthy shades to high light your design.