Tie-Dye Patterns: Easy DIY Instructions for Stripes


T-shirt tie-dyed with horizontal stripes.

Stripes are fun and simple tie-dye patterns to create.  Follow these easy DIY tie-dye instructions to learn how to make a tie-die shirt with either horizontal or vertical stripes.  You can also make your own tie-dye designs with small changes like folding the stripes on the diagonal.

T-shirt tie-dyed with vertical stripes.


Tie-Dye Instructions for Striped Tie-Dye Patterns


Step 1: Fold the shirt

Vertical Stripes

How to fold shirt to tie-dye vertical stripes.

In order to make a tie-dye shirt with vertical stripes, you need to fold your 100 % cotton shirt horizontally.   The image shows half of the shirt folded, so continue until all of the shirt is folded.  When the shirt is tied, the rubber bands will separate the vertical stripes.


Horizontal Stripes

Folded shirt for Horizontal Striped Tie-Dye Pattern.

In order to make a tie-dye shirt with horizontal stripes, you need to fold your 100% cotton shirt vertically.   The image shows half of the shirt folded, so continue until all of the shirt is folded.  When the shirt is tied, the rubber bands will separate the horizontal stripes.


Step 2: Tie the shirt

T-shirt Tied for Striped Tie-Dye Pattern.

Tightly wind rubber bands around the folded shirt.  The spacing of the rubber bands will determine the width of the stripes.  If you want a lot of narrow stripes, place them close together.  If you want fewer and wider stripes, space them farther apart.


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

Soaking t-shirt in soda ash fixer 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, 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.   For the horizontal stripe example (above)  yellow, orange, and fuchsia dyes were used.  For the vertical stripe example (above) turquoise, blue, and purple dyes were used.  Have fun selecting your own color scheme for your striped tie-dye patterns.


Step 7: Dye the shirt

Applying dye to make a striped tie-dye pattern.

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

Apply dye to the areas between the rubber bands.  Make sure dye gets down into the folds.  If you only apply dye to the surface, you will have a lot of white area.


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 creation!

DIY Instructions for Cool Tie-Dye Patterns