It’s not difficult to tie-dye T-shirts and other clothes, and even children can do an excellent job of getting the color on the fabric. On the other hand, getting particularly brilliant, bold colors on your tie-dyed garment can be more difficult. Here’s how to make your T-shirts the most colorful and vibrant in your neighborhood.


  • T-shirts and other cotton-based clothing
  • A washing machines
  • Detergent
  • Water
  • String or rubber bands
  • Bucket
  • Soda cinders
  • Urea
  • Dye that binds to fibers
  • Jars
  • Put on a dust mask.
  • Funnel
  • Bottle with a squeezable cap
  • Sodium alginate sodium


Make sure your fabric or apparel is 100 percent cotton, as cotton absorbs fiber-reactive color the best. Pre-wash and dry the garment in hot water. Then, in one of the many ways that tie-dye artists utilize, fold or tie your garment/fabric. Many books and DVDs are available on that will show you how to fold and tie your clothing. The spiral tie, which involves twisting the cloth from the center into a spiral and then securing it with string or rubber bands, is a popular tie-dye.


One gallon of warm water should be added to the bucket. Stir in 1 cup of soda ash (sodium carbonate) until completely dissolved. If you’re using store-bought washing soda, multiply the amount by three. Soak the knotted clothing or fabric for 5 to 15 minutes in the soda ash. Remove them from the bucket and set them aside to drain and dry out. Excess water will dilute the dye if the plants are too moist when you apply the color. When you apply the dye, they should be at least slightly moist. The cloth should not be untwisted.


Make a decision on the colors you want to utilize in your shirt, and prepare ahead to avoid muddy hues. When you mix hues that are opposite one another on the color wheel, such as green and red, you get a muddy color. If you put these colors on your shirt next to each other, they will bleed into each other and turn brown where they overlap. Try to pair similar hues (colors that are next to each other on the color wheel), such as red and orange, together. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a lot of colors in your tie-dye; just make sure they’re in the order of the rainbow, and you’ll be OK.


While the fabric is draining, mix your dye solutions. 1 tablespoon urea + 1 cup of warm water 3 teaspoons of dye into a jar while wearing the dust mask. Slowly pour the urea water over the dye, swirling with a tiny whisk or fork to completely dissolve the colour. Using the funnel, pour the dye solution into a squeeze bottle.

To thicken the color solution, you can add some sodium alginate. Because the dyes don’t mix as much, your tie-dye will have sharper edges. Follow the sodium alginate package instructions for mixing the dry powder into the coloring solution.

An estimate of 12–20 ounces of dye per garment is a good one.


Put the things that have been drained and tied on a plastic sheet or garbage bag. Using a squirt bottle, squirt the dye onto the tied bundles, keeping complementing colors apart. Squirt extra color on the tied bundle by turning it over. Fill a plastic bag with the bundles. Keep them in the plastic bags for 24 hours at a temperature of at least 70 degrees.


Fill a washing machine with hot water and detergent. Rinse the bundles with cold water using a hose and bucket while they are still knotted. Untangle the bundles while rinsing them in warm water. Place the dyed fabric in the washing machine once the excess dye has been rinsed away. Do not overcrowd the machine, as part of the color will fall out. You may wish to wash the item a second time to ensure that all of the excess dye is removed.

Sarah Poe, a hippy enthusiast from Kentucky, shared her stories with us.

It’s difficult to brighten garments that have already been dyed; if this is the case, toss them in a sink of hot water with a cup and a half of bleach. Soak them for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the colors have lightened considerably. You may either wash them and re-dye them, or you can soak them in vinegar first, but this rarely works.

If you haven’t previously, grab some or manufacture some soda ash this time before dying. If you need me to, I’ll write a how-to on this. Soak the clothing for 30 minutes in warm water with 1/2 cup of soda ash per gallon of water. After that, rinse them out and color them when they are only a little moist, not soaked. (For example, if you wring things out again, you don’t want water trickling out of them.) Your colors will be brighter, and your drawings will be considerably neater as a result.

How do you make tie dye vibrant?

Also, make sure your dyes aren’t too thin; they should have a darker hue and a thicker consistency. After you rinse them, they’ll be at least 2 shades lighter than the dye. Allow at least 4–6 hours for them to sit before using them. It’s impossible to keep them in for too long, but it’s possible to take them out too fast.

If you’re new to this and can’t wait to see how they turn out, toss them in a dish of shallow water, making sure both sides are moist, then microwave them for 1 minute at a time. You don’t want to start a fire, but you do want to get the dye to react with the fibers when hot enough. (It’s so hot that you can’t hold it with your hands.)

Once they’re ready, mix a 35/75 vinegar/cold water solution and soak them for at least 10 minutes. This dramatically improves the brightness of your colors while also preventing them from blending together. Rinse them in water that is the same temperature as your dye after that. Remove the ties and take a look at your lovely creation.

Have a good time!

Watch: Brighter Tie Dye in 6 Easy Steps

Read more:

Can You Wash Multiple Tie Dye Shirts Together?

Can Mica Powder Be Used For Tie Dye?

Can you tie dye a black shirt?

Can you tie dye a grey shirt?

What is the best fabric to tie dye?

How do I make pink for tie dye?