The spiral is one of the all-time favorite tie-dye patterns. Follow these simple DIY tie-dye instructions for a step-by-step guide on how to make a tie-dye shirt with a spiral pattern. Use our tie-dye designs to create a rainbow spiral tie-dye t-shirt, a rainbow and black spiral tie-dye t-shirt, or a two color spiral tie-dye t-shirt. Of course you can also use your own creativity to create your own spiral tie-dye designs.
Tie-Dye Instructions: Spiral Tie-Dye Patterns
Step 1: Twist the spiral
Lay a 100% cotton t-shirt out on a flat, smooth surface. Place a fork in the location you want as the center of the spiral, and twirl fork to create the spiral. Caution: Make sure that any forks used around tie-dye chemicals are not used for food.
Carefully work the loose outer pieces into the establish folds to complete the outer spiral.
Step 2: Tie the spiral
Using rubber bands, secure the disc.
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
Caution: Wear gloves when working with the soda ash solution.
Completely submerge your tied t-shirt in the soda ash solution. You will need to squeeze the bubbles out of the tightly wound spiral tie-dye designs to make sure that the soda ash penetrated through to all of the fabric. Allow the t-shirt to soak for 10-20 minutes. When finished, squeeze the excess soda ash solution out of the t-shirt.
Step 6: Select the colors to use
While the shirt in soaking in the soda ash, select the color(s) you wish to use. The rainbow spiral example was made using fuchsia, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, and purple. The two color spiral example was made using turquoise and purple.
Step 7: Dye the shirt
Caution: Wear gloves and an apron or old clothes when working with the dyes.
Note: When dying spiral tie-dye patterns, you will need to apply dye down into the folds of the fabric. If the dye is only applied to the surface of the disc, it won’t penetrate very well and large areas of the shirt will remain white.
Rainbow Spiral Tie-Dye Patterns
Rainbow tie-dye spiral patterns can be created by applying dye in two steps.
Dye the first side of the of the tied disc by applying fuchsia dye to a third of the disc, turquoise dye to a second third of the disc, and yellow dye to the final third of the disc.
Now, turn the disc over to dye the second side. Apply orange dye to the area opposite where the fuchsia and yellow meet on side one. Apply green dye in the area opposite where the turquoise and yellow meet on side one. Use Purple for the area opposite where the fuchsia and turquoise meet on side one. Use caution not to allow these colors to mix with one another, or else they will make brown areas. It is helpful to make a small line of turquoise to separate the green and purple, a small line of yellow to separate the green and orange, and a small line of fuchsia to separate the orange and purple.
Rainbow and Black Spiral Tie-Dye Patterns
A rainbow and black spiral tie-dye shirt is made by applying the dye in two steps.
Dye the first side of the of the tied disc by applying black dye to the entire side of the disc.
Turn the disc over, and dye the other side of the of the tied disc by applying the six basic rainbow colors to the disc. Moving either clockwise or counterclockwise, apply fuchsia/red dye to a sixth of the disc, then orange dye to a sixth of the disc, then yellow dye to a sixth of the disc, then green dye to a sixth of the disc, then turquoise/blue dye to a sixth of the disc, and purple dye to the final sixth of the disc.
Two Color Spiral Tie-Dye Patterns
A two color spiral tie-dye is very easy to create.
Apply one color of dye to the top side of the disc.
Turn the disc over and apply the second color to that side of the disc. Paper towels are helpful for controlling excess dye.
Step 8: Allow the dye to set
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 spiral tie-dye shirt!