Interested in combining tie-dye with graphic tees for an at home t-shirt business? Check out my other blog for starting your very own graphic t-shirt/apparel business from home! Start An Online T-Shirt Business From Home
Color Trends for DIY Tie-Dyeing
Instead of simply using the bright rainbow tie-dye you are used to seeing, try to use trendy colors for this season. This will help you style with current clothing items you already own and help you market to consumers if you plan to sell. A great place to start planning color schemes for this season is Pantone’s Spring-Summer 2020 Colors. Pantone Color Institute Color Experts say the Spring/Summer 2020 colors are meant to give a sense of ease and of the familiar while “highlighting elements of humor, modernity, and entertainment.” For most of us that’s a bit much for a color explanation lol …. Regardless, the palette is a combination of classic and fun colors in line with current seasonal trends.
If you are like me and enjoy bold, bright colors along with pastels, take a look at the Spring/Summer color recommendations from POPSUGAR. The article features colors like sky blue, pistachio green, lilac, and poppy red which are some of my favorites anyways. When choosing colors for DIY tie-dye it’s important to keep in mind the type of fabric as well as the pre-existing color of the fabric you will be dyeing. This will affect how the dye actually appears on the cloth. For example the same dye color will look different on a white shirt vs a light blue one. The same thing applies for 100% cotton vs. synthetic or a blend. Some fabrics take more easily to dye and produce a deeper or brighter color.
Choosing the right Dye
Now that we’ve looked at some DIY Tie-Dye color trends, the next step is choosing your dye products. You have probably seen one of the most well known and easy-use dye brands, Rit Dye. Not only do they offer a wide selection of colors for natural fibers, synthetics, and professional use, but their site has great info and tips on different dyeing methods/techniques. For any natural material, (cotton, linen, wool, silk, ramie, rayon) you can use the Rit All-Purpose Dye. Even if your garment is mostly natural, anything containing 35% or more synthetic material must be dyed with the Rit DyeMore Synthetic FiberDye instead. Believe me you are going to be dissatisfied with the results if you don’t abide by this rule. So it goes without saying that all synthetics (polyester, acrylic, acetate, nylon) will need the DyeMore Synthetic FiberDye. There’s quite a few more color options for natural fibers than synthetic, but you can easily mix colors together. Check out the Rit Color Formulas page for the how to combinations for hundreds of additional colors. It’s up to you whether to use the liquid or powder dye. Both equally good, but the liquid is more concentrated and equivalent to 2 boxes of powder dye. Some like the powder dye better for a mess-free application though.
For anyone wanting to dye an item containing spandex, the dye will adhere to the other part of that blend which may be nylon/lycra. Since the spandex fibers wont absorb the dye, plan on the color be slightly lighter than anticipated. Usually the percentage of spandex in an item is minimal so it won’t affect the color too much. Lastly, there is the Rit ProLine which is great for larger projects or those with a DIY clothing store. The ProLine can be used on both natural and synthetic fibers.
Get More Artsy with It:
Jacquard Dyes have quickly become one of my faves and for good reason. They make many different specialty/alternative dyes that produce amazingly vivid colors. From acid dyes to silk dyes to solarfast dyes, they really have it all. Although Jacquard Dyes seem to cater to artsy professionals, I promise anyone can use them with ease. I recommend trying their Procion MX dye (cold water dye) for stunning tie-dye results. Note that you should soak the garment in soda ash(sodium carbonate) before applying a fiber-reactive dye like Procion MX. This can be purchased off Amazon or from other craft stores. But just follow the instructions from the dye manufacturer and you will be fine.
MOST Minimal Effort DIY Tie-Dye:
If you really want to get down to business with the least amount of effort possible, I recommend a pre-made dye kit such as the Tulip 18-Color Tie-Dye Kit. The kit includes everything you need and yields really great results. So it really can’t get any lazier, I mean ugh.., easier than this…
Please remember to follow all given instructions on your dye packets/bottles/kits*
Classic DIY Tie-Dye Techniques
We all know and love the classic spiral, shibori, and crumple tie-dye t-shirts. Your mom had one, your grandma probably had one, and classic retro is all the rage. These methods are super easy and you can create a bunch of different tie-dye items in a short time.
Here’s a short and easy step by step video from Highsnobiety for the spiral, crumple, and shibori tie-dye techniques.
How to Tie-Dye T-Shirts: 3 Easy Methods
How to Spiral Tie-Dye:
1) Mix your dye in plastic squirt bottles for easy, mess-free application and cover your flat surface with plastic(tarp, trash bags, etc). Start with your white wholesale t-shirt laying flat on the covered surface. Pinch the very center of the wholesale tee and turn the shirt clockwise. Continue twisting and turning until the t-shirt is in a round, tight spiral.
2) Next take 3 rubber bands and wrap them around so that the shirt is divided into 6 equal triangle like wedges. Using rubber/plastic gloves, squirt chosen color within each triangle and do both sides of the t-shirt. (Try to choose colors next to each other that wont blend into a muddy brown color. Examples are red+green, yellow+purple, and blue+orange).
3) Place bulk t-shirt in a zip-close plastic bag and let sit for about 6 hours. You can choose to let it sit overnight which can sometimes yield better results.
4) Rinse 2-3 times without removing the rubber bands until the water runs clear. Then repeat once with warm water and once with hot water. This helps remove excess dye that could bleed or even stain other clothing. *To be on the safe side, separate from any stain-able clothing the first time washing it in the washer machine.
How to Shibori Twist Tie-Dye:
1) Hold your wholesale t-shirt lengthwise and twist tightly similar to wringing out a towel.Then wrap the bulk t-shirt into a spiral and flatten with other hand.
2) Use a few rubber bands to hold the shirt together and in place.
3) Apply your dye/dyes to the entire side of shirt while also flipping over to do the other side.
4) Place in plastic zip-loc bag and let sit for 6+ hours. Finally wash and dry according to dye instructions.
How to Crumple Tie-Dye:
1) Lay wholesale t-shirt flat on covered surface. Using both hands, scrunch fabric into a crumpled mound.
2) Apply desired amount of dye. Then flip crumpled mound over to apply dye to the other side.
3) Let sit for 6+ hours in plastic bag preferably a zip-close bag. Rinse 2-3 times in warm and hot water.
Again, these classic DIY tie-dye techniques are beyond easy and a fun way to spend your coronavirus self-quarantine time. If you still find this is too much work and aren’t willing to sacrifice any Netflix time, quit reading and just purchase an already tie-dyed shirt. Go ahead and tell your friends you did it yourself. At least you can pretend you did something other than watch endless episodes of Tiger King and The Office…
Best Wholesale T-Shirts for DIY Tie-Dye
For testing out different methods of tie-dyeing or if you plan on selling your creations, it’s best to purchase t-shirts from a trusted wholesaler like BulkApparel or ShirtChamp. Here you can get quality wholesale t-shirts at a fraction of retail price with most in the range of $1.50-$4 per wholesale t-shirt. Buying wholesale t-shirts in bulk can also get you bulk order discounts as well as free shipping over a certain dollar amount. Check out these great picks for my fave soft and comfy bulk wholesale t-shirts!
The G500 Gildan 5000 wholesale t-shirt is pre-shrunk 100% cotton and comes in 70 different colors including white.
This super soft 100% airlume-combed cotton wholesale unisex t-shirt is well-fitted and available in 98 fun colors including white.
DIY Bleach Tie-Dye and Reverse Tie-Dye Techniques
Limiting yourself to white t-shirts for DIY tie-dye is a thing of the past. Experiment with your fave colored t-shirts or with the dozens of vibrant wholesale colored t-shirts available. Be a frontrunner in the DIY tie-dye game with these trendy bleach tie-dye and reverse tie-dye techniques.
How to Tie-Dye with Bleach:
This is an awesome example of DIY Bleach Tie-Dye from Hey Wanderer. Check it out!
DIY bleach tie-dye is great since you don’t have to buy dyes or dye kits and most likely already have a bottle of chlorine bleach around the house. You can use this technique on any colored shirt or garment that’s of a natural-fiber fabric(cotton,linen,rayon,etc.). If the fabric is synthetic or contains polyester for example, the color might not discharge and could degrade the material. Some of you are hard learners and will try bleaching polyester anyways…. If you absolutely must try and use a polyester/synthetic garment (rolling my eyes) you could give fabric color removers a shot instead of bleach. However, chances are its just going to lighten the color and not remove it. Now, moving on…
1) Choose a well-ventilated area and wear rubber gloves. Twist your colored shirt or garment into desired pattern(spiral, crumple, roll, etc.) and secure with rubber bands.
2) Its really up to you how you want to bleach it. Try some different things and get creative. Apply bleach mixture using a plastic squirt bottle, a plastic spray bottle, or even dip parts of your garment in the bleach mixture(1/2 chlorine bleach,1/2 water.) If you dip the bottom few inches in the bleach it will create an ombré effect. A heavier application of the bleach will lighten fabric more.
3) Let sit about 8-10 minutes then rinse in cold water. Remember not to leave the bleach mix on for too long or it could damage the material. Before wearing it make sure to put it through a wash cycle with mild detergent.
4) And there you have it! Lookin’ sexy in your bleach tie-dye!
Check out this great YouTube video from TheDanocracy for DIY Tie-Dye with bleach.
3 Fun Ways to Tie-Dye shirts with bleach
This bleach tie-dye method actually looks super cool on hoodies or sweat suits. Definitely one of my favorite DIY Tie-Dye Trends of 2020! If you have some time for a laugh or two (pausing Netflix won’t kill you) and want to see the how to of bleach tie-dyeing your sweatsuit check out this video from Lindy Goodson.
lookin’ fly on a budget//DIY bleach tie-dye sweatsuit
How to Reverse Tie-Dye:
Basically the technique of reverse tie-dye consists of bleaching the areas of the garment you want and then applying dye to those areas later. By later I mean after washing the garment post-bleach.
1) Pinch or pull shirt into desired shape (spiral, twisted tube, crumple, etc.) then secure with rubber bands to create different sections. Pulling the shirt into a tube shape looks great with this technique as seen in this TulipColorCrafts video.
Reverse Bleach Tie-Dye Technique
2) Use spray or squirt bottle to apply bleach mixture of 1:1 bleach and water to your bulk t-shirt.
3) Let sit for 8-10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
4) Take your damp bulk shirt and lay flat on a covered surface. Use squirt bottle to apply your colored dye or dyes to the areas of the garment that have been bleached.
5) After letting the dye process for 6-8 hours you are ready to wash and wear your new tie-dye shirt!
DIY Pastel Tie-Dye and Ombré Tie-Dye
Watercolor or pastel tie-dye reminds me of clouds and unicorns and spring/summer perfection. So yeah pastel tie-dye might be more popular with the ladies, but don’t be afraid guys to get on the pastel train. After all, real men wear pink! With high-end designers like Prada and Stella McCartney showcasing pastel tie-dyes on the runway, this top 2020 tie-dye trend is only gaining traction. The hot trendy items for DIY pastel tie-dye are going to be wholesale crop tops and anything wholesale athletic-wear like sports bras, hoodies, and sweat pants. There’s a few different ways to achieve pastel coloring in your tie-dye endeavors. While some dye brands already offer pastel dyes, most colors are going to be brighter or darker. You can easily lighten the dye application by simply diluting the dye mixture with more water and leave it on for less time. Another method that works great to achieve pastel colors is the ice-dyeing technique. Not only does it create a super unique pattern, but the ice itself helps dilute the dye. However, I recommend diluting your dye mixture with extra water anyways if you aren’t starting out with a paler color.
Blogger brit_harvey posted a super cute example of a pastel tie-dye sweatshirt.
How to Ice-Dye with pastels:
1) Find a grate or rack and place a baking sheet or bucket, etc. underneath.
2) Wet your white or light-colored garment completely.
3) Pull, squish, crumple, etc. your wholesale clothing item into whatever shape you choose and place on top of rack.
4) Now cover the item entirely with ice (very generous amount of ice).
5) Apply your diluted or pre-made pastel dye and then wait until all the ice has melted.
6) Rinse garment completely until water runs clear.
7) Lastly, dry in the sun or dryer. (This is important to set the dye). And that’s it!
For all you visual learners, youtuber Angelynn did a great video on making pastel watercolor shirts.
Swirly Pastel Watercolor Tie-Dye T-Shirts
Most likely you are already familiar with the all too popular style of ombré. DIY Ombré tie-dye looks absolutely stunning on any type of clothing and produces pastel coloring in the process. I personally think the smoothest ombré look comes from the ombré dip-dye technique as seen in this video from the OnlineFabricStore.net.
Ombré Dip-dye Technique
You can experiment with multiple colors or just one and make it as light or dark as you want.
How to Ombré Dip-Dye:
1) Prepare your work space with plastic covering. Wet your garment completely before dyeing.
2) Heat a large amount of water to almost boiling and make sure its enough to fill a medium/large bucket or tub. Then add your dye to the container of hot water. The amount of dye will depend on your desired level of color as well as the specific brand instructions. (Optional: Add salt to the water to help natural fibers absorb dye better).
3) Hold the part of the item that will be lightest at the top. The bottom will be darkest and thus in the dye the longest. Start off by submerging entirely in the dye water for a few seconds. Do not dip all the way in if you plan to add a second color later.
4) Dip most of the fabric in and out in small motions. The idea is to continue slowly moving down the shirt inch by inch until the bottom of the shirt is finally pulled out of the dye.
5) Rinse with warm water and then again with cold water until water runs clear. Hang dry in sun or use dryer.
*If you are going to apply a second color, you would rinse out the first color and then repeat this same process on the other side that has not been dyed yet. Overlap the first color slightly to create the perfect blend. Rinse again and heat dry in sun or dryer.
If you have read this far you deserve what’s coming next…. I’ve saved the best for last folks! Without further adieu I give you the DIY Tie-Dye Painting Technique! Not only can you accomplish pastel or ombré tie-dye with the paint-method tie-dye technique, but your options are limitless. Paint designs or images freehand, use stamps or sponges dipped in dye, or even stencils and outlines. What better way to create absolutely unique DIY Tie-Dye items than with the paint-on method. Especially if your intention is to market your clothing brand and sell your creations, uniqueness is key! For the sake of this how to article though let’s just keep it simple for all my non-artistic people. Since all you ladies seem to want a pastel/watercolor tie-dye hoodie with sweatpants lets start with that.
How to Pastel Watercolor Tie-Dye with Paint Method:
1) Make sure your wholesale hoodie and wholesale sweatpants are wet before dyeing. Lay garments flat on covered surface. Mix+Dilute your dyes to desired shade. For pastels, your dyes should look very translucent.
2) Take your paintbrush and apply your pastel watercolor dyes all over as desired. Go crazy with it, tie-dye is meant to have your own unique flare to it! To avoid any murky brown coloring try to avoid overlapping certain colors such as yellow+purple, red+green, and blue+orange.
3) Don’t forget to flip over and paint the back.
4) Rinse until water runs clear and then dry in sun or dryer.
Check out this fun and informative video from The DIY Designer.
How to make the Rihanna Watercolor Tracksuit
Now you may be wondering where to purchase very affordable hoodies, sweatpants, and other blank apparel for all the DIY Tie-Dye techniques you want to try. Both BulkApparel and ShirtChamp sell high-quality wholesale hoodies, wholesale sweatpants, and a large variety of other wholesale blank apparel for a fraction of the retail cost. I highly recommend taking advantage of the bulk discounts for larger orders! I’ve linked my top picks of wholesale apparel for re-creating the tie-dye athleticwear trend!
This womens wholesale hoodie fave is super soft and cozy and comes in 4 cute colors to choose from. Bone white would be great for pastel tie-dye and black or black camo great for the bleach or reverse tie-dye methods. The Blush color could be used for a subtle bleach tie-dye or maybe add some different tones of purples and reds.
These wholesale sweatpants are incredibly comfy and affordable and come in 11 colors including white. I really like the Jerzees 973MR for its unisex sizes S-3XL, makes it easy to accommodate men and women alike. Since these sweatpants are 50/50 cotton poly you are going to want to use a synthetic dye as specified above.
This Bella-Canvas crop tank is so adorable and comes in white for pastel or bright tie-dye or black for either the bleach or reverse tie-dye techniques. Again, this wholesale crop tank is 52/48 cotton/poly so make sure to use the synthetic dyes.
The G185 wholesale hoodie is great for both men and women and available in 39 colors including white. There’s so many different DIY Tie-Dye techniques you could use this for!
We’ve now reached the end of my DIY Tie-Dye like its 2020 blog tutorial. I hope this info inspires you to create some trendsetting tie-dye items for yourself or maybe even start or add to your online clothing business. Enjoy and start tie-dyeing!
For other top wholesale hoodie picks check out my blog Top 5 Wholesale Hoodies!
Want to tie-dye wholesale long sleeves? Save on Bulk Long Sleeve Tees for Spring!