Rep your country with these two amazing tie-dye techniques

Celebrate the 4th of July or any other celebration with these quick and easy tie-dye t-shirts

Whether it be for the holidays, a birthday or any other celebratory occasion, you may be wondering how to get gifts on a budget for everyone?

Well fear no more! You can bring back the spirit of country and pride with these amazing tie-dye DIY shirts, for only a few bucks.

The process will require a bit of extra love, but it’s great fun, plus the appreciation you’ll receive will make it worth the time… After all, there is just something about getting a handcrafted gift that shows care and attention that transcends the material value.

So if you love a good patriotic themed t-shirt, you’ll love the pride of the red, white and blue being depicted on these t-shirts. These are ideal for the 4th of July celebrations, but you can choose to mix and match your colors to suit your needs.

The focus will be on two classic tie-dye techniques, the spiral and spider method. The spider method is also great for new years celebration, since the design itself does look a bit like fireworks. 

So if you’re ready, let’s get right to it!


1. Work surface

The first thing you want to have is a leveled workstation to lay your t-shirts flat to prepare them for tying, but before you do so, you need to choose the technique you’ll be starting off with.


2. Spiral technique

For the first, or couple of t-shirts you can start off by using the spiral technique. Begin by pinching the center of the shirt and using your fingers and free hand, twirl the fabric around in a circular manner very tightly. 


Once the entire fabric is in a circular ball, with the folds resembling a spiral, use your thread to wrap and tie the fabric multiple times. The tighter it is tied, the more it will resist the dye. You also have the option to vary the tightness of each tie, so that the patterns are more interesting.

As a recommendation, before you tie the t-shirts, try to soak them in soda ash and spin them off, this way they are a bit damp before dyeing. 


3. Rubber bands

Still using the spiral technique, if you’re out of thread or you want to make your ties a bit loose, or maybe you want to create a slightly different outcome, you can use rubber bands as alternatives. 

You can also use the rubber bands as dyeing lines in this instance, this will help you to know where you’ll be adding the various colors. With a couple of strong rubber bands, you can divide the fabric easily into eight identifiable sections, which will allow you to clearly see where you can add each color.

In this scenario two of the opposing sections will be in red, two opposing sections in blue and the other four sections in white. Now remember you have the option to use any colors you desire. However, if you’re an American and want your t-shirt to reflect that, or to be used as 4th of July gifts, then you can stick to these colors.


4. Spider technique

Once you’re through twirling and wrapping the number of t-shirts you wish to have done in the spiral technique, it’s time to move on to the spider technique which will give you that fireworks effect.You want to start by tucking one sleeve inside the other to fold the t-shirt in half, this will ensure that you’ll get a nice and even saturation on the front and the back, as they will be side by side. While they won’t be exactly the same, it will be nice and even.


To begin, start on the opposite side of the sleeve by imagining a line from the armpit of the sleeve moving outwards.


You want to then pinch right across from the sleeve, right in the middle of the chest and twist it going down. Doesn’t matter if it’s up or down, you can try and see what you like best.

What this technique does is that it allows the front of the t-shirt to be all in one place. When the dye is applied to those areas, you’ll have equal saturation inside and out because it’s together.

If the t-shirt is just folded in half, then half of the front will be on the back half, with two pieces in the middle, hence the saturation won’t be as even.


Once you’re through twisting, tie it nice and tight because you want one side red, the other side blue and the middle to stay white. Tying it tight helps the dye not to spread too much to the middle of the t-shirt. You can use kite string to tie it down.


After you’re through tying, tuck down the creases to make it nice and even as you will only be  dying the surface, with the folds. If it’s too uneven, the result won’t be as great. Take your time and straighten it down as much as you can. To do that, use the smooth edge of a cuticle pusher.


5. Add dyes

Now, it’s time to add the dyes!

Choose the t-shirts that you want to dye using the same dye application method.

In this article two out of three of the t-shirts will be dyed using the same method. One with the spiral technique and the other the spider technique.


What you want to do is to add a light even coat of red (or any color of your choice) on the top. Cover the entire area evenly and leave a bit of white down in the center of the t-shirt. You also want to add a bit along the sides, leaving some white areas.


On the opposite side, apply a nice even coat of blue dye, but try to leave a bit of space between the red and the blue. Set these aside, preferably with the blue side down since it’s the darker color.


Moving on to the other t-shirts that were separated into eight sections by the rubber bands. For this method you want to use your red and blue dyes with plain water, and squeeze the dyes deep into the folds so that the dyes will spread a bit more.


For each section, a great recommendation is to dye the two opposite sections in the same color and leave the white spaces between them.

To help stop the colors from bleeding into each other, add plain water on the white spaces. When there are dry spots on the fabric, the liquid dye will always try to creep into it. You can prevent or limit this from happening by applying plain water, to help the surrounding dyes to stay in place.


6. Rinsing the t-shirts

Once you’ve completed adding dyes to your fabric, allow them to sit for 48 hrs and then rinse in cold water to get rid of the soda ash. You want to continue to rinse the t-shirts until the water runs clear, and then using a pH neutral soap in hot water, wash the t-shirts. The soap will help to prevent any excess dyes in the water from being activated and sticking your t-shirt. 


Allow your t-shirt to completely dry and there you have it!A beautiful set of t-shirts fit for your 4th of July celebrations or any other occasions you see fit to give them as gifts, you can even make a few bucks selling them, who knows!

Don’t forget to try new techniques and get creative with your tie-dyes.

Tie-dye techniques Spiral tie-dye technique Spider tie-dye technique How to tie-dye