DIY Tie-Dye Tips, Tricks, & Product Picks — Straight From A Pro

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What do the free-spirited ’60s, temporary yin-yang tatted ’90s, and fashion week runways of 2019 all have in common? Two words, one hyphen (and looks pretty groovy on a T-shirt): tie-dye. The colorfully patterned technique has made its style mark over several decades, and we’re currently living for its most recent resurgence. We not only love the nostalgic technique for making us feel like carefree camp-kids again but also because it’s an easy and affordable trend to DIY on just about anything. To prove it, we rounded up the best tie-dye kits with matching what-to-dye buys that Amazon has to offer and consulted an expert on beginner-technique advice. Shabd Simon-Alexander, designer, activist, educator, and author of Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It, shared just how easy it is to do at home.

Aside from wetting fabric, tying it, and then dying it, more specific tie-dye techniques can be broken down into two categories: bath dying or applying to fabric. “Dyeing clothes in a bath is best when you’re going for a monochromatic look — think the strong contrast indigo and white Japanese shibori look. Applying color directly is best when you want a multi-colored effect. When you do that, you can use squeeze bottles, paintbrushes, spray bottles, any tool to get the color onto the fabric,” Shabd explains.

She suggests sticking with natural materials (like cotton, linen, or hemp) for a consistent end result and staying away from harder to dye polyester fabrics. Shabd also recommends opting for the cold water and fiber reactive MX dyes commonly found in craft kits, because while still non-toxic they are ultimately less involved than going the more “romantic” natural dye route. “You can use anything to bind the fabric – rubber bands are easy and reusable, string has a different effect,” Shabd shares. “You can also tie the garment in knots, sew patterns into it, fold it, clamp it in between boards, anything to create a design!”

“There’s a lot of different techniques, materials, and aesthetics — tie-dye has been practiced all over the world for hundreds of years — but the basic concept always remains the same.” And according to Shabd, the basic concept of tie-dying looks a lot like the easygoing pattern itself: “Experiment. Have fun. The accidents are always the greatest successes.” Scroll on to embark on your own tie then dye adventure with our favorite DIY essentials ahead, from breezy clothes to Shibori kits and Shabd’s instructional guide.

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Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit

Get your tie-dye station stocked and mess-proofed for action with all the fundamental essentials; this DIY kit includes 12 different dye-squeeze bottle options, rubber bands, plastic gloves, and a protective plastic tablecloth.

Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit Super Big 12 Colors, $, available at Amazon

High-Waist Cotton-Spandex Bike Shorts

Our new go-to summer shorts: this 95% cotton and spandex-blend pair of white bike shorts treated with our very own DIY tie-dye pattern.

TheMogan Cotton-Blend High-Waist Bike Shorts, $, available at Amazon

Jacquard Funky Groovy Tie Dye Kit

Let this psychedelic box take you back to the ’90s — where you may or may not have been wearing a henna choker and crafting a paper fortune teller. This bold kit comes complete with rubber bands, soda ash, gloves, and dye bottles with pre-measured dyes (yellow, magenta, and turquoise) for up to five shirts.

Jacquard Funky Groovy Tie Dye Kit, $, available at Amazon

100% Cotton Cloth Napkins

Easily tie-dye up a batch of 100%-cotton tea towels as a stylish summery accent for your own space or as affordable bespoke gifts to dole out to friends.

Urban Villa 100% Cotton Cloth Napkins With Mitered Corners, 12, $, available at Amazon

Cotton-Linen Double Layer Maxi Skirt

Just over here dreaming about all the groovy pattern and hue possibilities this cotton-linen skirt is waiting to be tied and dyed with.

Ezcosplay Cotton Linen Double Layer Elastic Waist Long M, $, available at Amazon

Made Kits Indigo Dye Kit

If you’re looking to ease into the trend, try going for a subtler indigo look. This shibori dye kit includes pre-measured indigo, thiox, and soda ash with two reusable acrylic squares, rubber bands, gloves, and easy instructions on how to start dying your 15yd-fabric of choice.

One-One Thousand Indigo Shibori Dye Kit, $, available at Amazon

Oversized Cotton Linen Shirt

Turn this oversized button-down into a stylish beach coverup by adding your own tie-dye color-flourish to its white cotton-linen canvas.

Minibee Oversized Cotton Linen Blouse, $, available at Amazon

Jacquard Pink iDye Poly

You can also buy single dye color packets, too, if a full-color kit isn’t your style! Jacquard offers a wide range of vibrant options from pink to turquoise, lilac, kelly green, and beyond.

Jacquard IDYE-456 iDye Poly, 14 Grams, Pink, $, available at Amazon

No Nonsense Cotton Capri Leggings

Make your very own pair of tie-dye workout leggings your fancy fitness-class attendees will covet.

No Nonsense Women’s Cotton Capri Legging, $, available at Amazon

Jerzees Boys Sweatpants

The thick cotton goodness of Jerzees has makes the potential of tie-dying a matching family affair.

Jerzees Boys Fleece Sweatpants, $, available at Amazon

Hanes Women’s V-Notch Pullover Sweatshirt

Throw a tie-dyed crewneck sweatshirt on top of those workout leggings and you’ve got yourself one stylish matching sweatsuit.

Hanes Women’s V-Notch Pullover Fleece Sweatshirt, $, available at Amazon

S-E-I Camo Tie-Dye Kit

Transition your tie-dye style from summer to fall by employing a camo-color pattern into your DIY technique — this multi-color kit comes complete with three dye bottles (green, black, and gray) set to make six to 12 projects.

SEI Camo Tie-Dye Kit, 3 Color, $, available at Amazon

100% Cotton Turkish Towel

Be the talk of your beach weekends with a one-of-a-kind Turkish towel that you hand-dyed in a groovy colorful pattern.

Cacala Pestemal Turkish Cotton Bath Towels, $, available at Amazon

100% Linen Cropped Wide Leg Pants With Elastic Waist

Whether you wear your tie-dyed pair of relaxed linen pants to bed or out on the town is up to you — but whether you choose to sport them this summer, you’ll be doing it in funky-chic style.

Ecupper Linen Cropped Wide Leg Pants With Elastic Waist, $, available at Amazon

Tulip One-Step Moody Blue Tie-Dye Kit

If your style resonates with a “moody blue” color palette then this one-step dye kit with protective gloves and rubber bands is ready to turquoise, green, and blue up your summer.

Tulip One Step Kit: Moody Blue Tie Dye, $, available at Amazon

Fruit Of The Loom Cotton Sports Bra (3 Pack)

Get your intimates’ game on point with a freshly tie-dyed mix of low impact cotton sports bras for lounging around the house in.

Fruit Of The Loom Cotton Pullover Sport Bra (Pack of 3), $, available at Amazon

100% Cotton Socks

Step up your sock drawer to new stylish levels by hand-dying a few pairs in an assortment of vibrant tie-dye patterns.

Buster Brown Women’s 100% Cotton Socks (3 Pack), $, available at Amazon

Jacquard 15-Shirt Dye Kit

This standard kit with four squirt bottles, rubber gloves, and bands will cover up to 15 T-Shirts (or other fabrics) with pre-measured dyes in classic red, blue, and yellow hues.

Jacquard Tie-Dye Kit, $, available at Amazon

100% Cotton Pom-Fringe Pillow Covers

Tie-dye is not all T-shirts bandanas, treat your home to a summery splash of the funky trend by DIY-dying this pair of cotton pom-fringe pillow covers.

Flber Pom-Fringe Cotton Pillow Covers (Set of 2), $, available at Amazon

Shabd Simon-Alexander’s Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It

If you still don’t feel comfortable DIY-dying at home, or you’re looking to enhance your style technique, then pick up Shabd’s full guide to take you from tie-dye beginner to expert real quick. Her book contains detailed how-tos on everything from dip-dye to shibori, ombré, traditional circle patterns, design secrets, color tips, and much more.

Random House Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It, $, available at Amazon

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