When I was a kid I always wanted to try tie-dye, but my mom would always say, “Noooo, it’s so messy, it will stain everything!”I’m happy to report things have changed since then. The tie-dye process these days is as easy as adding water to a bottle and shaking it. Not to mention, the added protection of plastic gloves and Ziploc bags makes it hassle-free.

And you don’t have to stick with the swirly hippie look. You can experiment with stripes, circles, graduated shading (ombre), rainbow, color blocking, and more. Dyed fabrics can be seen on high fashion runways, as well as in mainstream retail stores on everything from hats, shirts, shoes, and bedsheets.

• Any fabric that is 100% cotton (for best results): shirt, pillowcase, pajamas, socks, etc.
• Tulip One-Step Dye (This is powdered dye found at the craft store and comes in a bottle, you just add water and shake. Box includes gloves and rubberbands.)
• Plastic covering for work surface (I use a plastic tablecloth from the dollar store.)
• Gallon size Ziploc bags

Read Related: Multicultural Crafts for the Family


  1. Prewash the clothing item. Leave it damp.
  2. Fold, roll, or pinch in desired formation.
  3. Add rubberbands where you want them.
  4. Put on the gloves, set out the plastic covering, and place the clothing item on top.
  5. Add dye to the areas you want until fully soaked.
  6. Slip the item into Ziploc bag and seal.
  7. Let it sit for six hours, remove, and wash in cold water in machine. (Dye stops working after six hours, so it won’t stain your machine.)
  8. Dry as normal.

Color tips: Have fun when applying color—you can make custom shades: blue and red with make purple; blue and green will make teal; blue and purple will make violet, etc.

Kathy Cano-Murillo is a mommy, wifey and founder of the award-winning site, Crafty Chica and is the author of the novels Waking Up in the Land of Glitter and Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing.