How to Tie-Dye

Barbara J. Feldman

Tie-dye is a technique for dying fabric using folds and rubber bands to create patterns by hiding some of the fabric from the dye. The tied fabric can either be dipped into liquid dye, or the dye can be applied directly with squirt bottles or syringes. Being a child of the sixties, it’s great fun to see my teenagers interested in making and wearing tie dyes. I hope today’s picks inspire you to try your own hand at tie-dye artistry.

  • Dharma Trading: Tie-Dye Information4 stars

    Dharma Trading sells textile craft supplies, and offers several pages of instruction on how to use reactive fiber dyes (not the kind of dye you can buy at the grocery store) and direct paint application to make tie dye masterpieces with vibrant colors that won't wash out. Best clicks are Simple Instructions, Group Instructions and Dye Chemistry (the science of dyeing.) "With experience, the end result can be predicted and controlled to some extent, but surprise is part of what makes tie-dye an exciting and interesting art form - and there will be plenty of surprises."

  • Expert Village: Tie-Dye Videos4 stars

    This set of fifteen videos from tie-dye artist Alvaro Fernandez may be just what you need to get started. The short videos demonstrate dip dyeing, a variety of folding techniques, and tips for better results, such as ironing your tie dye after its initial rinse for longer lasting colors. He does not recommend any specific dye, and reminds us to follow the manufacturer's mixing instructions.

  • Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing5 stars

    Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing is my tie-dye pick of the day. Hers is the go-to site for technical information about dyes, instructions on using fiber reactive dye, how to do low water immersion dyeing, and how to dip dye. Best clicks include her photo gallery and the chemistry of dyeing. But wait, there's more! If you have preschoolers who can not be trusted not to eat their art, her instructions on how to tie-dye with sugarless Kool-Aid are a must visit.

  • Rit Dye: Tie-Dyeing4 stars

    Tie-dyeing with Rit is a quicker process than using fiber reactive dye for several reasons, not the least of which is that the stuff is available at most grocery stores. Rit's site is excellent, with basic instructions on dip dyeing, and eight patterns explaining how to create spirals, sunbursts and other popular designs.

  • Tie-Dye Wiki4 stars

    A wiki is a collaborative site where articles are contributed and edited by members, so not all the sections here are of equal quality. The best are How to Make a Tie-Dyed T-Shirt, and the sixteen Fold Tutorials. Other clicks to enjoy (found at the top of the home page) are the Tie-Dye Gallery (wow!) and the Tie-Dye Forum. Popular forum topics at the time of my visit were Tie-Dye Project for a Crowd and Star Mandala Tutorial.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "How to Tie-Dye." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 25 Jul. 2007. Web. 9 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/how-to-tie-dye/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published July 25, 2007. Last modified July 9, 2014.

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