Happy Little Tie Dye Mistakes



“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Bob Ross

Sometimes when you tie dye, it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like. This is pretty much a given, if you only try this like, ever 10 years or something. You might forget the right bunching patterns, or you might not use enough dye (note: use WAY MORE DYE than you think is necessary). And then you’re left with a tie dye shirt that’s mostly white, and too ugly to get away with.

Do not despair, fellow crafter. This is not the end of your crafting career! You can easily redeem your slightly imperfect product!

So, we were trying a new technique with the dye by just squirting it onto the shirts without bunching them up. I don’t know if this’ll work…but we’ll find out!

Some of them turned out really well, but I wasn’t entirely happy with. Those ones were too washed out and not crisp enough.

Fortunately, I have some craft paint on hand (this in particular)…and I can just touch them up myself.


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So, we started by the usual soaking and binding…but this time instead of bunching up the whole shirt, we just drew on the wet shirt with a pencil, and made little bunches around the line.


Then we poured the dye onto the shirt in the sink…for anyone concerned, the sink didn’t dye at all, so it was a pretty safe situation.

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The pumpkin there is after the touch up paint. It was too blurry with just the dye, and the fabric paint helped significantly. But then I thought, hey, how about a motivational word?? So that was fun 🙂

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You can write little words on the shoulder, or turn a failed dye job into a super-artsy flower.

Yay, art!

These are my favorites, and honestly I think they turned out really well!



You Would Like To Have A Tie Dye Party, Wouldn’t You?


“Tie-dyeing was especially popular with American youth who opposed theVietnamWar (1954–75), a controversial war in which the United States aided South Vietnam in its fight against atakeoverby Communist North Vietnam. During the late 1960s American young people rebelled against the conservative rules of dress and appearance that had influenced their parents’ generation, and many began to appreciate a movement that valued arts and crafts, simplicity, and traditional ways of making things. Tie-dye was a natural outgrowth of these values, combining personal creativity and bright designs to create low-cost clothing.” (link)

The history of dying fabric goes way, way back.

But the history of tie dye is still pretty recent.

And since I was raised in the 70s, by a couple of hippies…you can bet that my home had lots of hand-made potholders, homemade dresses and tie dye t-shirts

Sometimes, we take our childhood for granted.

We certainly don’t appreciate the freedom of climbing trees in our youth as much as we do when we are adults.

We also didn’t appreciate health insurance for broken bones as much, either.

When I was growing up, we were always outside. Granted, I lived on concrete in the middle of LosAngeles, but we were still outside! Chasing bugs, digging up my neighbors tulip bulbs (Sorry Vivian), swimming…and tie dye parties.

I honestly thought everyone had tie dye parties when they were growing up. They were just a part of life.

For me.

I am finding a lot of my friends have never had a tie dye party.

In their LIFE.

I don’t even know what to say. Other than the fact that I am now having tie dye parties… mostly with their kids. My friends won’t wear tie dye shirts.

I will though.


1. DIY Tie Dye Party


You don’t need a lot for a tie dye party, but the things you do need are pretty crucial. The soda pre-wash is crucial for getting the colors nice and vibrant. Latex gloves are BEYOND CRUCIAL unless you want tie dye’d hands for the next few weeks.

2. Easy, All Materials Included, Fabulous Cored Tie Dye Kit


I’ve used this kit before, and it is really fantastic. One box includes everything you need, except the shirts, and the colors turn out really bright! We used 2 boxes, and made about 9 shirts out of what we had. And this includes two of the kids squirting each other with the dye, because: siblings.  #BathNight

3. Some Great Visual Examples Of How To Make Patterns


I really need to see how something is done before I understand how it works. Call me “visual” call me “right-brained.” Call me incredibly resourceful, because I know where all the visual demonstrations are, at this point.

4. 100 Creative Tie Dye Patterns


Not everyone wants a gigantic swirly on their chest. Some people would like a heart, or a star! There are some neat patterns in here that will break the norm of tie dye habits.

5. All Natural, Vegetable Dyes


All righty, my fellow hippie friends. Not interested in paying The Man for pre-made, commercialized dyes filled with chemicals and alien technology? Try vegetable dyes…use the purple from boiled beets, or vibrant yellows from organic cayenne! Trust me, this will be a gentle experience for your sweet, hippie soul.

6. For The Seasoned Hippy: Watercolor Tie Dye Techniques, No Rubber Bands Required


Okay, Bonus Round: Try using a brush with the dyes, instead of rubber bands.  I KNOW, RIGHT??!!