How to Tie Dye Long Sleeve Shirts

Three Parts:Preparing Your Tie Dye StationWrapping Your ShirtDying Your Shirt

Tie dying turns a white shirt into a bright spiral or pop of color. Choose white cotton fabric and use bottles of dye to experiment with the process. Tie dying long-sleeve shirts is similar to dying short-sleeve shirts, but it requires plenty of care to be taken during the wrapping process if you want to create a particular pattern.

Part 1
Preparing Your Tie Dye Station

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    Buy bottles of dye at your local fabric or craft store. Bottles are much easier to use than mixed dye, because you can apply them more exactly to sections of the shirt. If you want a rainbow tie-dye shirt, look for a kit that contains all the shirts you need.
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    Read your tie-dye instructions to see if you need to use soda ash to fix the dye, or if it can be used without soaking. Purchase soda ash, or washing soda that is made of sodium carbonate. Purchase rubber bands.
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    Lay a plastic drop cloth on your table. It will protect the table, but it also allows the t-shirt to be wrapped more easily. Keep a plastic bag and a bucket nearby so that you can transport your shirt to the laundry room.

Part 2
Wrapping Your Shirt

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    Practice the wrapping process while the shirt is dry. Then, you can repeat with a shirt soaked in soda ash and water.
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    Smooth out the shirt on the plastic drop cloth. Move the tips of the long sleeves so that they are gathered next to the body of the shirt. Try to keep them close if you want them to form a pattern with the rest of the shirt.
    • Keep them separate if you want a different pattern on the sleeves than the body of the tee.
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    Find the imaginary line that connects the two armpits through the center of the shirt. Pinch the shirt in the middle of that line, in the center of the chest.
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    Twist the shirt. The shirt will start to form a spiral. Use your other hand to continue twisting the shirt.
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    Feather the shirt before you finish your round spiral. This means that you will create extra lines, or folds, in the shirt between each turn.
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    Make sure that the long sleeves travel along the length of the body as you make your spiral.
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    Stop when you’ve made a tight spiral that is in the shape of a circle. Take rubber bands and open them with your hands. Slide them under and over the circle until they are tight on opposite ends.
    • Avoid picking the shirt bundle up, since it can change the shape you’ve created. Instead, slide the rubber bands across the drop cloth.
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    Secure the circle with rubber bands going perpendicular. Then, do diagonal lines. The end result will look like it has several pizza slices.[1]
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    Repeat with a shirt soaked in a mixture of soda ash and water.[2]

Part 3
Dying Your Shirt

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    Put on some food preparation gloves before you start to handle the dye.
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    Tip the first dye bottle upside down. Apply just enough dye to soak the fabric in a pie slice-section, but not to create excess dye on your drop cloth. When in doubt, use less dye.
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    Follow with colors of the rainbow to blend. You can also alternate colors to create a color-blocked spiral. Repeat until you’ve dyed all the pie sections.
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    Flip the shirt over onto its backside. Repeat the process of applying bottle dye to each section. Match up the right color from the front with the color on the back.
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    Place the shirt inside a plastic bag. Let it sit according to the dye instructions.
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    Soak the shirt in cold water after it has sat for enough time. Remove the rubber bands.
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    Run the shirt through two cold water cycles in the washing machine. Do not use soap.
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    Place it in the dryer on medium heat. It will help to set the dye further. Your shirt is ready to wear or wash as desired.[3]

Tips

  • The tighter you place the rubber bands, the more likely it is to create a white stripe down your shirt. When making colored spirals, try to get underneath the rubber band to ensure there aren’t stripes.
  • You can choose a random pattern in place of the spiral. For example, you can push the shirt into long, thin bands and then secure it every few inches with rubber bands before you dye it. You can also roll it or grasp small sections and secure them in loops with rubber bands.

Things You'll Need

  • Tie dye bottles
  • Rubber bands
  • Long-sleeve white cotton shirt
  • Soda ash
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Bucket
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Plastic bag
  • Food preparation gloves

Article Info

Categories: Fabric and Clothing Decoration