How To Tie Dye Your Own Shirt

In continuing our efforts to keep you updated on ways to improvise your shirts –and make fun craft activities, and save up – while you’re at it at it, we are sharing with you how tie dyed shirts make a stylish craft.  Here at MinistryGear “research and development” department, we created some tye-die shirts and wanted to show you step-by-step how to create these yourself.

Does this work as a group activity?

Last summer we received a call from Stacey of Christ Evangelical Lutheran church, asking us to print simple white shirts for her group. She shared her amazing idea of how to tie-dye the t-shirts. We couldn’t have been more excited for them as we imagine how fun and exciting it must be to design a shirt and yet wait for the “grand revelation” after it dries and you get to see how amazing it looks. The suspense is just unimaginable, right?  Stacey’s event was a huge success and so we thought we just needed to share this with you….  time flies, and we are just getting to it.

Melissa from Round Oak Baptist Church also shares these helpful tips.

Melissa does Tie-Dye every year on her VBS shirts with a very large group of kids.

…”for years we did the expensive stuff with lots of chemicals but the process became daunting (and I was always leading our closing services with hands that matched my t-shirt). The past few years we have used good ol’ RIT dye. I learned the hard way to pay attention to their “mixology” formulas on their website after my grey Kingdom Rock shirts looked more purple than grey. We band the shirts prior to VBS starting, and on tie-dying day we have baby pools filled with our dye. The kids pick their color, throw it in and give it a swirl. They can go on with other activities and then come back for their shirts before moving on to the next station. We have never had a problem with the shirts that we get from you guys holding color – they all still look great years later!”


We decided to create our own tie-dyed shirts here so you can see how easy it really is. Here is how to tie dye your own shirt:

Besides the fact that tie-dye shirts are awesome. you can save money by ordering white shirts with just two colors printed.  The money you save will go to buy all the supplies you need to dye the shirts yourselves.  They produced some really fun activities and students have a fun and memorable time making them. And since it is our goal to serve your ministry any way we can, we are sharing these tips and maybe you will want to give this a try for your church.

What supplies do you need to get started?









  1. Dye
  2. Rubber bands
  3. Gloves to protect your hands
  4. Plastic food wrap or Cellophane
  5. Spray bottle of water
  6. Bucket of water
  7. T-Shirts
  8. Old clothes so you don’t ruin anything nice

More color, more fun, right? But before we start with the colored dyes and get the ball rolling (or the dye-dyeing), let us make sure we prepare the rest of the materials:  You can actually purchase dye kits in craft stores, like Hobby Lobby and Michaels, or even Walmart or Target. As an alternative, for larger groups use Rit® dye. The kits are nice because they include everything you need and come with complete easy to follow instructions.  There are many online resources as well where you can easily order your supplies and have them delivered right at your doorstep. Speaking of online resources, you can also find step-by-step video tutorials on the net and show them to your class so you can focus more on the designs.  There are different patterns or designs to choose from like rainbow swirls, color-wheel patterns, horizontal layers and more. All of these you can search online and decide beforehand. We recommend that you choose the simplest and easiest pattern and get crazy with the colors.

Step 1: Order your t-shirts.

Our favorite was the shirts with white and black printed, the ink screened onto the shirts does not take the dye, so the final effect of the dye with the white ink is really great!

Step 2: Mix your dye.

Since we only did a few shirts, we used a kit from Michaels Crafts.

Step 3: Crunch your shirt.

We twisted the shirt, although you can roll, crumble, pinch the shirts.  Each producing it’s different effects.

Step 4: Hold the shirt in place with rubber bands

Step 5: Apply the Dye.

This is where things can get fun.  Make sure you have gloves on and a spraybottle of water close by.

Why you might want to wear gloves?  No worries, it comes off in about a week.








We had a hard time to get the dye to sink into the shirt because of the surface tension on the water.  We found that a spray bottle of water works wonders to fix this.  See the dye on the right without the spray bottle just sits on the surface, but the dye on the left soaks right in once it has been sprayed.








Step 6: In order to let the dye set, you want to wrap the shirts in cellophane for a few hours or overnight if possible.  This might be a great time to send the wrapped up shirts home with your students so they can each wash their shirts at home and be ready to wear their creations the next time you see one another.  Maybe placing the shirt in a plastic bag to keep it from getting things messy.  Otherwise continue on to step 7

Step: 7: If you choose to finish your project together at church the next step is to unravel the shirts and rinse them off.  Waiting 8 hours is ideal, but we had great success with waiting on an hour as well.  The dye will last longer and was better if it is allowed the full 8 hours to set before rinsing.  Using a washing machine is the most convenient way to rinse and dry the shirts in batches however we realize you probably don’t have washing machines at your disposal.  You can still do this without using a washing machine. Use a large bucket that you don’t mind staining, or if a stainless steel sink is available, that works better. 
It is actually easier if you use the sink because the space would let you maneuver the shirts (Especially if its a lot!). After rinsing the tie-dyed shirts, let the shirts air dry on the clothesline and give your neighbors a 60’s-fashion flashback.

To learn about other ways to decorate t-shirts check out this resource on VBS T