Make a Block-Tie-Dye T-Shirt

comments (1) April 22nd, 2015     

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CraftStylish_Editors CraftStylish Editors, contributor
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Charlotte Styles Tie-Dye & Bleach Paint booklet can be purchased in our online store.
Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

Tie-dye is a fun way to add a little color to your wardrobe. If you want a design that really stands out, try the Block Tie-Dye technique described in this excerpt from Charlotte Styles' Tie-Dye & Bleach Paint.

This is a technique that makes great use of white space (there may actually be more white on the shirt than there is color!). Using a block gives the shirt a really crisp design, leaving more of the shirt blank to achieve some interest through contrast.



  • White T-shirt
  • Wide rubber bands
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dye, two colors
  • 2 squeeze bottles
  • Plastic bag
  • Dye fixative or dye-fixing detergent


1. Dampen the T-shirt with water and arrange it, face down, on a flat surface.

2. Fold the shirt as directed in "Accordion Pleat Fold" (see below). Smooth out the wrinkles as you work.

ACCORDION PLEAT FOLD: Fold the sleeves in and the neck and shoulders down to create a rectangular shape. Turn the T-shirt right side up. Starting at the top of the shirt, fold approximately 2 in. of the shirt down, then fold the next 2 in. under the shirt, accordion style. Fold the next 2 in. over the shirt again, and continue this way until you get to the bottom of the shirt. Smooth out wrinkles as you work. Holding one end of the folded shirt, start folding in the opposite direction: Fold about 2 in. over the shirt, then fold the next 2 in. under the shirt. Continue folding this way to the end of the shirt. Using wide rubber bands spaced equally, bind the accordion-folded T-shirt twice along the width and twice along the length.  

3. Cut two squares or rectangles, slightly smaller than the folded T-shirt, out of stiff cardboard. Tightly wrap each piece in foil. Sandwich the T-shirt between the pieces of cardboard.

4. Using four wide rubber bands, secure it twice each way.

5. Prep the workspace. Wearing rubber gloves, prepare the dyes according to the manufacturer's instructions and pour them into the squeeze bottles.

6. Saturate the outer portion (about one-third of the bundle on each side) with color A, and saturate the middle portion with color B. Place the T-shirt in a plastic bag and let sit for 2 to 3 hours.

7. Remove the T-shirt from the bag, undo the rubber bands, and remove and discard the cardboard. Let the shirt dry.

8. To set the dye, apply a dye fixative or launder the T-shirt with a dye-fixing detergent.

TIP: Once you're set up, this project is super easy-so consider doing several T-shirts at a time. Try different color combinations to vary the look.

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posted in: threads selects, tie dye, bleach paint

Comments (1)

roselynbette writes: I have a light blue shirt. Will it be okay if I try this with red and yellow? Or green and very light blue?
Posted: 10:05 am on April 23rd
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