How to tie-dye a t-shirt - Shred Like a Girl

How to tie-dye a t-shirt

Ever wished you could be like one of the cool kids and rip about in a sick tie-dye t-shirt? Have you held yourself back from having a go at tie-dying because you don’t know how, aren’t “creative” enough or think it’s just for kids?

Well let us stop you there and say that you CAN do this. 

We love a bit of tie-dye here at Shred Like a Girl HQ, (you can check out our creative genius here), but we want to encourage you to have a go yourself. It’s really easy and so much fun and doesn’t cost the earth.

We have put together a step by step guide on how to create your own masterpiece. (Check out the videos we did on our Instragram profile). Before you know it you'll be scouring your wardrobes and drawers for anything that can be dyed. Watch out socks! 

Tie dye and bleach dye tshirts - Shred Like a Girl

Step 1

Choose your clothing, we love re-purposing old tees or tote bags from the bottom of the drawer, but if you’re feeling fancy, get yourself a new one like our white Shred Like a Girl Freeride Tee. Perfect for tie dying.

Step 2

Assemble your tools. You will need:

  • T-shirt(s) 
  • Dye - We use the Tulip dye kit from amazon and also Dylon individual dyes. The kits come with bottles, gloves and rubber bands so are very handy.
  • Bottles
  • Gloves
  • Rubber bands or string (strings from old gift tags or clothing hang tags are perfect for this)
  • Kitchen paper or an old towel / cloth for emergency spillages
  • Protection for your surface
  • A bag to allow the tee to sit in overnight (preferably home compostable ones)
Tie dye kit with womens MTB tshirt - Shred Like a Girl
    Step 3

    Mix your dyes according to the instructions, the Tulip and Dylon kits just want warm water which is why we love them. Hold the top of the bottle when you shake, yes, we have had a disaster when we didn’t do this. 

    Step 4 

    Decide what tie dye pattern you’d like, google will give you lots of options, try not to get caught up on what to do, there is no room for perfectionism here.

    We’re using the *twist it into a sausage method (*not the correct term).

    Lay out your damp t-shirt on the flat surface, decide where you want the centre of the pattern to be, pinch the material between your fingers and start twisting. The material will start to coil, keep twisting it until you have a sausage shape, don't worry about it being perfect.

    Grab your repurposed string or bands and start tying them around sections of your tee. Space them out however you want. Tie them as tight as you can.

    Tie dye spiral womens MTB top - Shred Like a Girl

    Step 5

    The part you have all been waiting for.. It’s tie-dye time! 

    Protect your surface with the compostable bags and put your tee on top. Don your protective gloves, choose your first colour and let’s go.

    Pick a section and squirt your dye on it, keep it within the strings ideally, it will probably leak through but that’s ok. Go through each section and dye it with whatever colour you fancy, you can leave sections white too. Let the dye soak in and then add some more, the more you add the stronger the colour.  

    Lift the tee up and turn it over, place it down on a different part of the bag so you avoid the pools of dye, and then dye the other side with the same colours.  

    Step 6

    Place the t-shirt inside a bag and fold it over so it is semi air tight. Place on an old towel and leave to sit overnight. After a sleepless night you can now reveal your masterpiece. Don your plastic gloves again and take the bag straight over to the sink and remove your tee. Cut away the strings, being careful not to flick dye everywhere (yes, we’ve done this too).  

    Hold your breath and unravel it, marveling at how AMAZING it is.

    Step 7

    Before you start taking photos of it you will now need to rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear. This can feel BORING as you just want to wear the damn thing, but be patient.

    Get rid of the excess dye and then put it in the washing machine.

    Set it to a high heat as this will set the dye and make sure it is in there alone, or with the other 36 items you have dyed in the same colours. Put a tiny smidge of washing powder in and no softener. 

    When the cycle has stopped you can take it out and look on in awe, again. Now you can take photos and videos and tell everyone how amazing you are.  

    Let it dry and hey presto, you have yourself your very own tie-dye t-shirt. Wear it with pride and don’t forget to tag us on socials. Be warned, you will never look at a white item of clothing in the same way again.

    Spiral tie dye womens MTB top - Shred Like a Girl 

    How to bleach dye a t-shirt

    Psssst…… If that sounds like too much for you, what about having a go at bleach dying a t-shirt?

    For an even easier way to create awesomeness you can substitute dye for bleach. Any old household bleach will do. You don’t need to worry about protecting your sink’s surface and it doesn’t need to sit overnight.

    Just make sure you dampen the tee first (we're using the Pink Freeride Tee here), scrunch, knot, twist, whatever you want; no tying needed, blob the bleach on, wait until you’re happy with the colour (this can be a matter of minutes up to an hour), rinse in cold water and then put on a wash. Ta daaaa. You can bleach dye any colour clothing too, so there’s really no stopping you!

    If you’re after some inspo, check out our bleach dye t-shirts here

     Bleach dye kit and womens MTB tshirt - Shred Like a Girl

    Pink bleach dye womens MTB tshirt - Shred Like a Girl


    Now you know how to tie-dye and bleach dye t-shirts, why not give it a go yourself?! We’d love to see your creations, share it with us by tagging @_shredlikeagirl on Instagram. 

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