Tie dye is a favorite summer activity because it’s known for being super messy, the kind of craft you want to do outdoors. But what do you do if you want to dye something when it’s cold outside or if you don’t have a yard? Like if you’re crafting in a dorm room? This alternative dyeing technique is a fun way to add some DIY to your wardrobe. Tie dye can be hard to get just right too, but you can do this even if you’ve never done a craft before in your life- it’s that easy! You just need a few unscary supplies.
And ps? Using orange, yellows and greens are great if you want a neon dyed shirt. This technique brings out the pinks and lighter tones from the ink.
a few jars
Lay your clean and dry t-shirt out, sliding a piece of cardboard in between the layers of your shirt to prevent bleed through. Place a jar (or a few) between its front and back layers, and put a rubber band over the shirt around the mouth of the jar.
With permanent markers, draw where the shirt is stretched over each jar.
Fill a dropper with rubbing alcohol, aim the dropper over the center of one of your designs, and drip several drops of rubbing alcohol onto the t-shirt. Don’t go crazy – the rubbing alcohol will continue to bleed along the fabric outward toward the edge of your jar even after you stop dripping rubbing alcohol on it. The rubbing alcohol will bleed past the rubber band and down the jar if you apply enough. If you apply a lot of rubbing alcohol quickly, rubbing alcohol not absorbed by the t-shirt will drip through the fabric and into the jar below.
Carefully remove the rubber band from around your jar, move the jar to a new position, and repeat the rubber banding, drawing and rubbing alcohol steps until you’re happy with your design.
Remove all rubber bands and jars, being careful not to spill any rubbing alcohol inside the shirt, and let your shirt dry, cardboard intact. Unless you went totally crazy with tons of rubbing alcohol, your shirt should dry pretty quickly.
I learned this dyeing technique in high school science class (I have no clue what the heck we were supposed to be learning in that unit), and I still have the shirt I dyed back then. The ink will fade over time, particularly if you use harsh detergents, so keep that in mind if you want your shirt to stay nice and bright. And by keep that in mind, I mean wash it in cold water and don’t use bleach. :-)