How to Master Tie-Dye

Nino Hernandez

Nothing says summer quite like the neon colors and vibrant swirls of tie-dyed clothing! Make like you're at summer camp by creating your own tie-dyed masterpieces using these easy instructions from URJ Crane Lake Camp, a Reform Jewish summer camp in West Stockbridge, MA.

You'll need:

  • white shirt
  • gloves
  • drip tray
  • fixer (one cup of soda ash per gallon of warm water)
  • rubber bands
  • dye color (1 quart of water per 8 teaspoons of dye and 1/4 cup of urea) in squeeze bottles 
  • plastic bag

Tie-dye in 10 easy steps:

  1.  Spread your shirt out and pinch it wherever you’d like the center to be. Then, twist the shirt as if you’re making a cinnamon roll.
  2. Use rubber bands to wrap the shirt so it looks like a pizza pie.
  3. Soak your shirt in fixer (soda ash and water) for 15 minutes or more. This help the shirt soak up the dye.
  4. Squeeze out excess fixer and place the shirt on top of a drip tray.
  5. Put on your gloves! On each piece of the pizza pie separated shirt, squirt a different color of dye (a mixture of dye, water, and urea). Flip the shirt over and dye an identical design as the other side.
  6. Put the shirt in a plastic bag. This slows down the drying process.
  7. Let the shirt sit for six hours.
  8. Untie the shirt and squeeze out excess liquid. Rinse.
  9. Put the shirt in a washing machine and wash with tie-dye detergent (Dharma professional textile detergent can be used as a pre-wash and an after wash). Dry normally.
  10. Rock your shirt!

Nino Hernandez, originally from the Philippines, is the arts and crafts director at URJ Crane Lake Camp. He is a painter, musician, teacher, and athlete.