How to Tie Dye a Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Add color and style to your old long sleeve tee with the Hyper V tie dye technique


If you’re looking to revamp your old long sleeve t-shirts, here's a quick, fun and easy way for you to turn your worn out, stained or even new ones into cool looking t-shirts bursting with color.

In this article you’ll learn how to tie dye a ‘hyper V’ pattern unto the fabric, it is very simple to do and you have the option to explore many different colors to best suit your needs. This can be done with kids and adults alike for a fun filled day.

So if you’re ready to get creative, let’s get into how to create this amazing pattern.

Materials needed:

Dyes

Basin

Gloves

Washer

Soda ash

Wash cloth

Rubber bands or thread

Cotton long sleeve t-shirt

Precision tip applicator bottles

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1:  Preparing the T-shirt

To get the t-shirt ready to be dyed, you have to ‘as usual’, soak it in soda ash and then take it for a spin in your washing machine. When you remove the t-shirt from the washer it should not be soaking wet or bone dry, but barely damp.

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Place the t-shirt on your work surface and then turn it inside out. You will need to center the t-shirt by tucking one of the sleeves into the other sleeve. You can do that by aligning the two sleeves inside each other along the seams and shake it out. 

Also ensure that the shoulder seems are aligned as well, so that the neckline is centered. This allows both the front and the back of the t-shirt to be in two places, and gives a much cleaner saturation when doing DNA-type designs, making them more symmetrical.

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2:  Folding the T-shirt

The next step is to grab your yardstick or something else that’s straight and big enough to make a big V-shape. A few inches from the bottom of the t-shirt, draw a line up to the center of the sleeve. 

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Once you’ve drawn that line, beginning from where you ended that first line on the sleeve… take your yardstick and draw another line connecting both. This should be down the length and middle of the sleeve to the cuffs. This will be your folding line.

The “fold line” is what will incorporate the Hyper-V into the long sleeve of the t-shirt.

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When you’ve drawn the line, rotate the t-shirt so the start of the line, located at the bottom of the t-shirt is facing directly to you. Begin to create one inch high pleats from the bottom of that line and up the length of the line and down the sleeve. If the pleats are too short, it may buckle as you add your bands or when you squeeze it to tie it. 

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Try to keep your pleats at the same height, however on the last couple of folds before you enter the sleeve, you can make your pleats a little bit taller. This is to allow you to get it as straight as possible on the turn and down the sleeve.

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Remember to make sure that the line is always running straight from the pleated folds.

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3:  Tying the T-shirt up

When you’ve pleated the entire t-shirt, it’s now time to tie it all up. Starting on the side of t-shirt with sleeves, take your thread and give it a good wrap down the center of your pleats, directly on the line. While tying your t-shirt, keep a good pressure by resting your hand on top of the pleats, push and squeeze the folds together to keep it nice and tightly tied. This will lessen the folds buckling in.

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You also want to tie it on both sides of the centerline to give it some stability, and then tie it off. Make sure that your ties are nice and tight so that it does not become loose at any moment.

Move on to the other areas of that side of the t-shirt and ensure that the pleats are aligned next to each other… if the pleats have come apart during the process just gather them back in place and wrap and tie them off. 

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At this point you can take a cuticle pusher and adjust some of your folds to prevent them from going over the top of one another. They must layer up nice and even.

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The V part of the t-shirt is where the line or the center of the t-shirt is located, from the line to the side where the sleeves are, that is where you’ll do your DNA pattern. On the opposite side of the center line and sleeves, where the neck of the t-shirt is located, you can just scrunch it up or continue with the V folds and tie it off in the same way.

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If you choose to do the scrunching method, all you have to do is open up some of the creases, and slightly scrunch up or gather the fabric up. Once that is complete, take your ties and tie it off. You do not have to do a scrunching method, you can do spider twists and many other techniques on that end, it really is up to you.

The scrunching method allows you to be able to incorporate designs to the t-shirt, like if you wanted to add your logo to the chest area, do some screen printing or if you simply want to add another color there.

And now let's get into the fun parts.

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4:  Adding the dyes

Now that your t-shirt is all tied up and ready, it’s time to add some dyes. If the line in the center has gone a bit crooked you can redraw and highlight the line at the front and back, so that you can keep things straight.

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Grab your precision tip applicator bottles with your colors already prepared, and you want to select your brightest color and apply it to the center of your t-shirt. Add the color directly on that line and off the line to the side where the sleeve is located and where you’ll add your DNA design. 

You want to ensure it’s a strong enough color to stand out. In this example the colors used for the center of the t-shirt is a mix of about 3-parts lemon yellow and 1-part turquoise, which creates a beautiful green color. 

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Choose your next color and apply it directly where your first color ended, in this example emerald green was used. Remember that this is where your DNA design is located. Continue to add your other colors, like sapphire blue and plum purple… always starting where the other color ends and continue all the way down to the sleeves. 

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Once you’ve added your DNA colors, you can grab your light turquoise or any other color that you like and add it as a base on the side of the t-shirt with the scrunches. To create the base all you have to do is dilute the dye, so adding about a quarter bottle of the turquoise dye mixture and then fill the rest of the way up with water.

When you’ve completed adding your turquoise color, give your DNA stripes a second coating and begin to add your darker turquoise color on top of the  lighter one. 

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The next step is to turn it over and repeat the process. But instead of going emerald green - sapphire blue - plum purple, try to start the other way around by moving one of your colors down, and begin with your plum purple - emerald green - sapphire blue. So in all the green spaces you’ll now add your plum purple. However, remember that the center color, or the first color you used on that line should remain the same. This will make the DNA pattern pop and give some pizzazz to your design.

On the opposite side, repeat the same method until you’re all done, remember to apply a second coating of all colors.

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When you’ve added all your colors, get a clean dry rag under the t-shirt and allow the excess dyes to seep out and into the rag. At this point you can add a bit more of the darker turquoise if you aren’t satisfied.

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5:  Batching and reveal

Allow your t-shirt to now batch for 48hrs and then cut away your thread to reveal your amazing Hyper V design.

There you have it, a fun activity you can do to turn a boring, worn out long sleeve t-shirt into a new looking, vibrant and eye catching t-shirt. 

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