Tie-Dye Patterns: Easy DIY Instructions for a Heart

Tie-Dyed T-Shirt with Heart Pattern

One of the fun tie-dye patterns you can make is a heart.   Follow these simple instructions for a step-by-step guide on how to make a DIY tie-dye shirt with a heart pattern on the front and back, or just on the front.  Of course, heart tie-dye patterns could be used on other items, such as a sheets, as well.


Tie-Dye Instructions:  Heart Tie-Dye Patterns


Step 1: Make a paper heart template (optional).


Template on a t-shirt for heart tie-dye pattern.

Fold a piece of construction paper in half.  Use the folded edge as the middle, and draw the desired half of a heart shape.  Cut out the heart, and check that it looks the way you want it to.

Place the paper heart on the 100% cotton t-shirt (or whatever else) you will be tie-dying to make sure you like the size and shape.


Step 2: Draw a heart outline on the shirt.


Tracing pattern a tie-dye t-shirt with heart pattern.

To tie-dye a heart on the front and back of a t-shirt, fold the t-shirt in half vertically (as pictured).  To tie-dye a heart on only the front, fold only the front half of the t-shirt in half vertically (not pictured).  Place the folded heart on the shirt in the desired location.  Use the paper heart template to draw the shape onto the t-shirt (or whatever else) using a washable marker.  If you did not make a template, draw the half heart shape on the t-shirt freehand.


Step 3: Tie the heart pattern.


How to tie a heart pattern tie-dye t-shirt.

Carefully gather the fabric along the line you have drawn.  Have patience when working your way around the tight corner.  It may take more than one try, but it will work for you.


T-shirt with tied heart pattern ready to tie-dye.

Hold the gathered fabric in place, and tightly wind a rubber band around the line.


Step 4: Prepare dyes and soda ash fixer.

If you have not already done so, now is the time to prepare your materials.  The How to Tie-Dye page has the information you will need to prepare the soda ash fixer and the dye solutions.


Step 5: Soak the t-shirt in soda ash fixer.


T-shirt soaking in soda ash solution in preparation for tie-dye.

Caution: Wear gloves and eye protection when working with the soda ash solution.

Completely submerge your tied t-shirt in the soda ash solution, and soak for 10-20 minutes.  When finished, wring the t-shirt out well.


Step 6: Select the colors to use.

While the shirt in soaking in the soda ash, select the color(s) you wish to use.    In the example (above)  yellow, orange, and fuchsia dyes were used.  Heart tie-dye patterns will look great with many color combinations, so use your creativity to make a creation that is all your own.


Step 7: Dye the shirt.


Dye Application for heart tie-dye pattern.

Caution: Wear gloves and an apron or old clothes when working with the dyes.

Apply dye to the area that will be the heart first, and then to the area that will be the background.  In the example above, the heart was dyed with fuchsia, and the background was created by spotting on yellow first.


Dye Application for heart tie-dye pattern.

The orange and fuchsia dyes were then spotted onto the background.


Step 8:  Allow the dye to set.


Newly dyed heart pattern tie-dye t-shirt in bag.

Place the t-shirt in a sealed plastic bag for 24 hours to allow the dye to fully react.  While shorter periods of time are okay, allowing it to set for 24 hours will produce the best results.


Step 9: Rinse and untie the t-shirt.

Caution: Wear gloves when rinsing tie-dye and an apron or old clothes when rinsing tie-dye.  Take the dyed t-shirt out of the bag and rinse in the sink under running water.  Rinse a fair amount of dye out while the t-shirt is still tied to prevent white areas from being stained with excess dye, then remove the ties while continuing to rinse.  It will take a lot of rinsing to remove the excess dye, particularly blue dyes.  In fact, you will not get all of the excess dye out until the t-shirt has been machine washed several times.


Step 10: Machine wash the tie-dye t-shirt.

Your newly tie-dyed t-shirt is now ready to be machine washed.  Caution: it will still bleed excess dye for a few washes.  Make sure to wash separately or with like colors.  You can also protect  un-dyed areas and other clothing by washing with a special detergent called Synthrapol, which helps prevent excess dye from reacting with other fabric.  The amount of Synthrapol to use varies with the size of the load and amount of excess dye.  A couple of teaspoons will be plenty for small and/or well rinsed loads, while large and/or poorly rinsed loads may require up to 1/4 cup.


Enjoy your new creation!


DIY Instructions for Cool Tie-Dye Patterns