Everyone loves tie dye, but hates the mess it takes to make it. Buying and handling the dye, buckets of dye that splatter and stain the floor and rugs. All the wringing and soaking and hanging. It's a pain! However, there is an easier way! You can get a similar effect as tie dye from using colored permanent markers. You can use them on just about anything cotton or poly/cotton; a t shirt, beater, canvas shoes, cotton skirt, denim, blouse, scarf, gloves, hat, anything goes. The technique is simple:

Say you want to dye a t shirt. You will need:

Permanent markers, like Sharpies
Rubbing alcohol
Eyedropper or squirt bottle with very narrow hole
Small craft brush (about 1/2 inch)
Spray bottle (optional, but really can make a cool design and speed things up)

1. Lay your t shirt out flat on a table. Make sure to cover the table with a towel or something in case the marker bleeds through.
2. If you don't want the marker to bleed through the fabric and on to the back side, you should put a plastic garbage bag in between the front and back.
3. Take your markers and begin your design. Remember, the image is going to smear and bleed, so don't make your drawings detailed. Lines, geometric shapes, swirls, zig zags, and so forth.
4. Start in the middle of the shirt and work your way outward, evenly, leaving room between your designs to allow for the bleed effect.
5. When you have finished your design, pour the alcohol in a small cup and start experimenting. Different items create different looks. You can take the eyedropper and drop droplets of alcohol on the designs and it will partially dilute the color and make it run and spread. The more you do this, the colors will run together and cause new colors. You can dip your craft brush into alcohol and swab over the design, and pull it a certain way, make the bleed effect take a certain shape. You can also load the alcohol in a spray bottle and distribute the alcohol that way, but you must be careful, if you use too much, it will destroy the design and it will all run together and make a mess. Use the spray bottle sparingly. I like to use mine around the bottom of the shirt and around the bottom of the sleeves, I think it makes an interesting effect in those areas.
6. Once your get the pattern the way you want it, you must hang the piece up to dry for 24 hours.
7. After 24 hours toss the item in the dryer on medium high heat for 30 to 45 minutes to set the pattern.

Note: DO NOT put the item directly into the dryer without letting it air dry for 24 hours first. Alcohol is flammable, and there is a chance that the dryer could set it on fire, if it is not completely dry before you put it in.

Washing Instructions: Wash with a very gentle detergent, or design will fade. Dry in a clothes drying to keep the pattern set.

I hope you have fun with it and make yourself some pretty stuff!

Image by Author


Some of my other articles you may enjoy:

Foot Impressions - www.bubblews.com/news/339858-how-to-make-baby-or-pet-foot-impressions
T shirt Gift Bags - www.bubblews.com/news/1130367-how-to-make-a-gift-bag-out-of-a-t-shirt
Making a Paracord Bracelet - www.bubblews.com/news/1207394-learning-to-make-a-paracord-bracelet