Tie-Dye Designs: Hidden Mickey Pattern

T-shirt tie-dyed with hidden mickey mouse pattern.

New and different tie-dye designs are always fun to make.  As a tribute to the Hidden Mickey icons you can find throughout Disney theme parks and in Disney movies, here is a DIY tie-dye project that hides Mickey icons in your tie-dye designs.  Just follow these instructions for a step-by-step guide and you will learn how to make a tie-dye shirt with scattered Hidden Mickey icons.


Tie-Dye Designs: DIY Instructions for Hidden Mickey Icons


Step 1: Print the Mickey head template.

Mickey Mouse Icon

Click this link for a Mickey head icon template that you can print.  You can adjust the size of the template by changing the scale before printing.  The example shirt was made using the template printed at 85%.


Step 2: Draw the Mickey heads on the shirt

Preparation for tracing Mickey icon on t-shirt for tie-dye patterns.

Place the Mickey icon template under one layer of the shirt.  Use the template to trace the shapes onto the t-shirt using a washable marker.  Repeat this process to make multiple Mickey icon outlines scattered around the shirt.  You can scatter them in orderly lines or randomly around the shirt.


Mickey icons drawn on t-shirt in preparation for tie-dye.

The example shirts were made using the designs on diagonal lines.


Step 3: Tie the Mickey head patterns

Preparing artificial sinew for sewing tie-dye.

The Mickey icon patterns are tied by sewing.  Cut a length of about 18” of artificial sinew (pictured) or heavy duty synthetic thread.  For artificial sinew, use 2 strands thickness.  Artificial sinew on the spool consists of multiple strands, so gently separate 2 strands.  If you are using thread, synthetic is better than cotton because it will not be dyed, and will be easier to remove.

Thread the artificial sinew strands or heavy duty synthetic thread through a needle.


Mickey icon sewn with artificial sinew for tie-dye pattern.

Sew around the Mickey head outlines, going twice around the pattern to allow adequate tying.


Mickey icon sewn and tied in preparation for tie-dye.

Pull the end threads until they are as tight as they will go.  This process must be done gently to avoid tearing the shirt.


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 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,  turquoise, blue, green, and yellow dyes were used.


Step 7: Dye the t-shirt

Applying dye to t-shirt with hidden mickey tie-dye pattern.

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

Many dying options are available for this type of shirt.   Use your own creativity to make a tie-dye shirt that is all your own.   The example shirt was created by slightly scrunching up the shirt and then spotting on yellow, turquoise, blue, and green dyes.


Step 8: Allow the Dye to Set

Setting Dye for Mickey Icon Tie-Dye Pattern.

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.


Have fun wearing your new tie-dye t-shirt!

DIY Instructions for Cool Tie-Dye Patterns