Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques

Disclosure: Today’s post is brought to you by I Love to Create and The Blueprint Social. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummerI hope you’re having an amazing summer, dear reader–I know I am! One of my favorite parts about summer is all the extra time I have to craft and create. From scrapbooking to handlettering to DIY projects to a little {easy} sewing, I love having time to express my creative side. One of the best summertime craft projects? Tie dye! The fun, brightly colored creations are perfect for this time of year–it always reminds me of warm summer sun and tropical vacations. I Love to Create sent me the Tulip® One-Step Tie Dye Kit and I couldn’t wait to get started–it’s the perfect way to Tie Dye Your Summer!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

One of the best things about tie-dye is that you can create so many different styles and effects. There are all kinds of techniques that you can use, from traditional rubber banding, to swirl technique,to ombre, and even using squirt guns to apply the dye! Today I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to use tie dye: the tie-dye painting technique.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

I love the free-hand look of tie-dye painting: you can be as precise or as free as you want to be! You can either make a template or pattern to follow, or you can just go where your heart takes you (I tend to go towards the latter).

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummerTie-dye is everywhere I look in the world of fashion these days, so who better to have a fun little tie-dye get-together with other than my sister, Angie, who has long been making her own tie-dye creations. Her fashion line features so many different tie-dyed pieces, so she was the perfect coach and tie-dye companion.

We started by covering our kitchen counter with plastic trash bags, taped down with a little painter’s tape to hold them in place.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

We spread out our white cotton tees, mixed up our dyes, and we were ready to go!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

I love how simple the Tulip® One-Step kit is–it comes with everything you need for a tie-dye project: several sets of plastic gloves, plenty of rubber bands, and pre-filled squeeze bottles full of dye. Just add water, shake, and the dye is ready to use. Super simple and NO mess!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

Once the dyes are prepped, make sure you cover up your hands with plastic gloves. This kit comes with plenty, so there’s no scrambling around to find clean gloves at the last second!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

Here’s a fun little video with some tie-dye inspiration:

Now for the process:

1. Dip your t-shirt in a large plastic bucket full of clean water. Make sure to fully submerge your shirt so it gets thoroughly soaked.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

2.  Wring out the shirt to remove the excess water, then flatten it on your workspace.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

3.  Carefully unscrew the caps of your dye bottles and set them aside.  Wet down a small paintbrush and lightly dry it with a paper towel. 

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

Dip the paintbrush into the color of your choice, then apply to the t-shirt in the design of your choice (heart, flower, star, etc).

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

When painting your design, make it a little smaller than what you actually want it to be, as it will expand and bleed out a bit on the wet shirt.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer4.  To create a little more randomness, use the paintbrush to lightly splatter the dye across the shirt. I wouldn’t get too crazy–just dip the paintbrush into the dye, then hold it over the shirt and let it drip to create random splatters.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

For a softer effect, you can also use plain water on sections of dye to blend the colors into random patterns–almost like you would when watercoloring.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

This shirt was totally inspired by my childhood, and those crazy “Lisa Frank” 1990s collectibles. I was obsessed! I painted a heart with splatters on one half and a rainbow scribble going across the side. 

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer5.  Once finished painting on your design, cover your shirt with plastic and let it thoroughly dry.  Wrapping the shirt in plastic helps the dye set better, and letting the shirt thoroughly dry will help keep the dye brighter. 

Once dry, wash and dry the shirt as you normally would by running it through the laundry (on its own of course)!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

To give this shirt an extra fashionable twist, we used fabric scissors to add fringe and cut out the neckline, then added black beads to the bottom, knotting the ends of the shirt to hold them in place. I love how Angie paired this shirt with an unexpected sequin skirt and boater hat–so cute!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

We didn’t just stop there when it came to our tie-dye party, though. Tie-dye really is perfect to just let your creativity flow!

Because our tie-dye kit was so easy to use, we also tried our hand at freehand tie-dying:

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

For freehand tie-dye, follow the same steps as above to prepare the shirt by soaking it in water and wringing out the excess. Once the shirt is on your workspace, use the squeeze bottles that your Tulip® One-Step Tie-Dye kit comes with to free hand a design onto your shirt.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

I like to think of this technique like tie-dye graffiti! You can really do anything you want with it, just squiggle the dye along the shirt, or even add a design (I added a heart). You can also use your fingertips to lightly smear or blend the dye to get a different kind of look:

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

Once your shirt is colored the way you want it, follow the same process as above to dry and wash your shirt.

Ta-da! A beautiful, free-hand masterpiece:

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

The last technique we used is very similar to traditional tie-dye–you know, rubber bands and all! We call it the “grunge” technique:

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

To use this technique, before dipping your shirt in water, you’ll want to place 6-7 rubberbands in various places over your shirt (we actually used a white cotton dress for this!). Leave the ends of the shirt pulled out from the bands (almost like little nubs).

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

Dip the shirt into water, wring out, and spread on your work surface.

Using your favorite color of dye, squeeze the dye onto your shirt, avoiding the tips of the shirt coming out of the rubber bands.

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

You can add a little dye to random ends in the rubber bands, or leave them completely free–up to you!  Wrap the shirt in plastic and allow it to thoroughly dry, then wash as you normally would.

To give this dress a little extra somethin’, we sewed a length of black fringe around the neckline. I love the rock ‘n’ roll vibe it has!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

I think you’ll love trying a little tie-dye fun this summer. What will you tie-dye first? Let me know in the comments below!

Summer Tie Dye Fun: Easy Tie Dye Techniques #TieDyeYourSummer

 

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Thanks to Angie for being my tie-dye partner in crime and modeling all our fun creations, and thank you to I Love To Create for sponsoring today’s post!

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