Tie-Dyed T-Shirt

Japanese tie-dye, or shibori, is more than 1,000 years old. Peasants used the technique to brighten up old clothes. Tie-dye was also fashionable among royalty.

Photo: A girl wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt


Ask for a parent's help and permission before you start this project.

Caution! Dye can stain anything, even the sink. Cover your work area with plastic and read the instructions on the dye package. Always wear rubber gloves.

YOU WILL NEED

  • White, 100% cotton t-shirt (prewashed)
  • Rubber bands
  • Large pot
  • Hot water
  • Fabric dye (any color)
  • Large bucket
  • Tongs
  • Water- and heat-safe rubber gloves

HERE'S HOW

1. Dampen the t-shirt. For a random pattern, twist and scrunch the fabric, using rubber bands to hold the t-shirt in that position. For a circular pattern like the one above, grab part of the t-shirt and twist it into a long, skinny rope. Tie several equally spaced rubber bands around the fabric. Each rubber band will form a circle.

2. Ask a parent to boil water in the large pot. Using the measurements on the dye package, ask your parent to pour the hot water into a bucket and stir in the dye.

3. Dunk the shirt into the water with the tongs and stir constantly for about 10 to 15 minutes. (The t-shirt appears slightly darker when it's wet.)

4. Rinse the shirt under cold water. Then remove the rubber bands and rinse until the color runs clear. Dry in a clothes dryer to help set the color.

Text by National Geographic Kids staff
Photograph by Mark Thiessen/NGS Staff. Tie-dyed t-shirt created by Linda Janklow
National Geographic Kids magazine