How to tie dye a t-shirt

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a Tie Dye T-Shirt? Our very own BIG W Textile Designer, Sarah Smith will show you how in just a few simple steps. And you don't have to stop at Tie Dye, get creative and have fun by adding some beads, different colours, or a tassel look to your design.

Don't forget to share your wonderful craft creations on social media using the hashtag #bigdaysathome

What you'll need

A white shirt
Plastic containers Rit dye
Rubber bands Rubber gloves
Cooking salt Hot water
Squeeze bottle Scissors
Ziplock bag  
  1. Learning how to tie-dye is really easy and fun for the whole family to enjoy. The process, once you have the right materials, is not difficult at all
  2. First, you will need to pre-wash your cotton shirt in the washing machine, once washed soak in water and squeeze the excess but don't wring it
  3. Lay your wet shirt out flat and starting from the centre twist the shirt until you have a spiral shape
  4. Hold the design in place with rubber bands. The more rubber band you use, the more white there will be in your finish design
  5. Make sure you are wearing gloves and start preparing your dye. For each colour dye you use, you will need to mix 2 tbsp of Rit liquid dye, 1 tbsp of cooking salt and 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water. Mix each dye in a plastic container until the salt dissolves, and then transfer into a squeeze bottle
  6. Do this next step over a laundry sink… we don't want to make a mess!! Using your rubber bands as section markers, cover each section completely with dye front and back
  7. Once covered in dye place the shirt bundle into a ziplock bag and leave for 30 minutes
  8. Keeping the rubber bands in place, rinse the shirt under cool (not cold) water, until the water runs clear of excess dye
  9. Once the water is clear carefully take off each rubber band
  10. Put your shirt through a rinse cycle in the washer machine and hang out to dry. So there you have it! In a few simple steps, you too can make your own tie-dye shirt. And why stop there? Experiment with different colours or decorate with beads
  11. To decorate your shirt with beads, using fabric scissors cut up from the hem about 10 cm. Repeat this step all around the hem leaving approximately 1cm to 1.5cm in between each strip
  12. The jersey material of the fabric will naturally curl in on itself, allowing you to thread 3 to 4 beads on each strip, and secure at the bottom with a knot. Repeat this step all around the hem, until all the strips have been beaded