Easy tips and tricks from Etsy's Trend Expert on how to DIY tie-dye

By Sarah Ball
May 14, 2020 03:54 PM
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With celebs like Gigi Hadid, Katie Holmes and Sofia Vergara sporting tie-dye and a search increase of 146% on Etsy, it's no denying the psychedelic print is the season's biggest trend. Even though it's been seen on the runways of Versace, Dior and Alberta Ferretti, you can easily recreate the must-have look yourself. We reached out to Etsy's Trend Expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, for a few DIY tips.

Choose Your Item Wisely

Make sure to pick clothing or home items made of natural fibers like cotton, cotton jersey, linen and denim. These work best for dyeing, according to Johnson.

What You'll Need

First thing's first. Get prepared. Here are key items you'll need to become a tie-dye pro.

(Depending on what your kit provides)

  • Rubber gloves
  • Rubber bands or hair ties
  • Plastic bottles with nozzles
  • Bucket of water
  • Trash bags or other protective covering for your work space and to store your wet tie-dyed item
  • Tie-dye kit
  • Item you want to tie-dye

Shop these two best-sellers! Indigo Dye Kit, $55; etsy.com, Tulip One-Step Dye Kit, $29.99; amazon.com

Step 1: Prepare Your Space and Materials

"Tie-dying can be quite messy, so start by laying out trash bags or any other protective covering for your workspace," says Johnson. "Next, prep all of your dyes and keep them close by for easy access and dampen your fabric with water."

Step 2: Choose Your Desired Pattern

Swirls:

Pinch your item where you want the swirl pattern and twist the item in one direction until the item is in a circular shape. Add rubber bands diagonally to secure – your rubber bands should mimic the look of a sliced pizza. Add different colored dye to each “slice," or alternate using dye on every other slice if only using one color.

Crumple:

Scrunch the fabric into a mound (like a messy accordion fold) and squeeze dye throughout. Carefully flip the item and add dye to the backside as well.

Sunburst:

Pinch where you want each sunburst to appear in the design, and secure with an elastic (it should look like a mini mountain). Add your dye to the shirt and to the peaks of your mini hills.

Freestyle:

Add elastics in a random pattern and add dye throughout. Be sure to flip the item and repeat on the opposite side.

Step 3: Allow Your Item to Dry

Place your item(s) in a plastic bag and allow it to dry for 24 hours for maximal color. This will ensure that the dye saturates the item. The shorter it rests in the bag, the less bright the colors will be.

Step 4: Rinse and Clean The Items

To ensure all excess dye is washed off rinse the item(s). Remove rubber bands and rinse the items under cold water until the water runs clear. Clean your item in a regular washing machine, dry, and your item is ready to show-off!