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We’ve taught you how to clean your leathers, fold your coat, and puff your pocket square. But this time, with a dose of fun and colour, we’re here to give you a step-by-step guide on how to Tie-Dye an old tee at home. 

We’ve seen this turn into a trending DIY across the globe as it’s a great way to up-cycle an old garment. However, there’s not only the right way of doing it but a safe way as well, which we’ll be taking you through. While so, we’ll be showing you how to do it in two super-simple methods.

Here’s a list of things you’ll need

  • A 100% cotton tee.
  • Plastic sheet
  • Protective gloves
  • Fabric dye
  • Plastic squeeze bottles
  • Dye fixative
  • Medium-sized plastic container
  • Plastic bag

Before you begin

Firstly, find a spot at home you’ll be willing to dirty a bit (just in case) and spread out a plastic sheet on the surface you’ll be working the dye on. Ideally, a place like a balcony or a storage room. 

Next, you may want to change into some old clothes as we’re expecting a few sprinkles of colour here and there. Always use a clean and fresh tee for the dye. If it’s a brand new tee, do wash it once as most manufactures use a dye repellent on their products. And finally, slip on a pair of protective rubber gloves and prepare your dye, follow the instructions correctly.

Method 1: Crumpling

  1. This is where you’ll be laying down the outlines for the colouring. Crumple it as much as you can and from every side. The tighter you make it, the more patterns you’ll get. Twist and turn it into a ball and wrap it up tightly with a few rubber bands.
  2. Here’s how to Tie-Dye it right: Do not hold back, give the tee a generous splash and soak it. Flip it over and repeat the same, ensure that you don’t leave any dry patches. Feel free to experiment with numeral dye colours too.
  3. Once it’s dyed, let it sit for about six-nine hours inside a plastic bag. Let it sink in well.

how to tie-dye

Method 2: Spiraling

  1. Use a stick-like object, place it where you’d like to create a pattern on your tee and begin twisting it. Keep doing so until the entire tee gathers together in spiralled formation. Be sure to create at least six folding tangents or sections. Once done, wrap it up with rubber bands.
  2. Once you’ve created the six sections, die each of them with an alternating colour for best results. Do this on both sides of the tee and leave no dry patches.
  3. Similarly, place it into a plastic air-tight bag for six-nine hours.

how to tie-dye

Drying process

After your tee has soaked up all the colour, you need to prepare your dye fixative ready. Follow the instructions carefully and mix it into warm water, between 100° and 140° Fahrenheit. You’ll find a timing guideline for this on the product’s packaging. While doing so, don’t forget to take off the rubber bands and allow the tee to open up.

After this, gently rinse your tee in cold water. Finally, let your shirt air dry. Do remember to wash your dyed tee separately when washing it the first time, just in case it bleeds.

That’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to tie-dye your tee at home.

All images: Courtesy Getty Images

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.