Tie dye is really popular right now and it is easier to learn how to tie dye than you might have expected. We have a collection of the best tie dye patterns, tie dye techniques, tie dye designs and instructions that are so easy they are the perfect first tie dye project for kids of all ages. Tie dye is such a fun and creative activity you can do with your kids all year long, but especially during the summer months.

Fun Tie-Dye Design Ideas with a Mermaid tank top, dip dye shirt, tie-dye party favor bags, Mickey Mouse tie-dye shirts, tie-dye masks, Fourth of July tie-dye shirt on boy, Captain America tie-dye shirts on little girl and boy, ombre tie-dye shirt, tie-dye shorts, permanent marker tie-dye designs, tie-dye tote bags, tie-dye watermelon dresses on little girls, and tie-dye shoes.
Try some new tie dye techniques & make these fun tie dye patterns!

Tie Dye Ideas for Kids of All ages

Recently, I’ve seen some really groovy tie dye designs and patterns online and in magazines. Both kids and adults are embracing the tie dye trend, creating unique tie dye patterns with different tie dye techniques like dip dye which is trending!

Check out this list of 20+ tie dye projects!

When I think of tie dye, what comes to mind first is shirts. Probably because growing up, I tie dyed A LOT of t-shirts in Girl Scouts. But the truth is you can tie dye nearly anything.

  • Things to wear: Shirts, dresses, pants, shoes, socks, bandanas, face masks
  • Things to carry: Lunch bags, tote bags, backpacks, phone carriers, towels

Many of these posts include tie dye folding techniques with pictures and step instructions – especially handy if you’ve never tie dyed before. You’re sure to find at least one idea that will inspire you to tie dye something in your closet or around your home.

Tie Dye Designs

Tie dyeing can be a fun way to express yourself. Recent advances in materials, dyes and technologies have opened the door for a new generation of tie-dye. The lower the concentration of dye, the lighter the stain will be. Quality tie-dye should look like an advanced watercolor painting.

Tie Dye Techniques for Anything

You literally can tie die anything. Anything made of a fabric or foldable material that will take on the dye coloring. If you are not sure if it will, do a test with a sample or unseen corner of the material to make sure it can be tie dyed.

Our favorite thing to tie dye with kids are white t shirts, but don’t overlook things made of natural fibers like pillow cases, tote bags, fabric string backpacks and even socks!

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Tie Dye Supplies

You can get all your tie dye supplies in a kit which is best for beginners and each project may need a slightly different list of supplies, but in general you will need:

Tie Dye Patterns For Beginners

If you are looking for a first tie dye project, I recommend a dip dye or a spray dye project because those can be completed with the least amount of knowledge and effort! Using a liquid dye seems easier for a first project vs. dye powders or even bleach tie dye. While all are good fiber-reactive dye alternatives, ease of use and clean up are easier for the liquid or spray dyes.

But most tie dye projects are not complicated and even if they are not perfect, they will be cheerful and colorful!

What are the steps to produce a good tie dye design?

  1. Plan your project.
  2. Gather your supplies.
  3. Pre-wash the fabric you will be dying to remove the sizing and get it prepared for tie dye.
  4. Cover the work surfaces to protect them.
  5. Follow the instructions.
  6. After it is done, wash according to instructions for best results.


1. Make a Personalized Tie Dye Beach Towel for Each Kid with Spray Dye

tie dye idea - homemade tie dye towel shown with rainbow colors and the name ANDREW etched out with white showing through - Kids Activities Blog
This tie dye design uses tape and spray tie dye.

This simple tie dye towels technique is one of our very favorite summer craft ideas for kids. Headed to the beach or pool? Each member of the family can have their own name written in tie dye across their towel…oh, and it is a really easy first tie dye pattern to follow that makes simple vertical stripes with a spray tie dye technique.

2. Mickey Mouse Tie Dye Pattern with Crumple Tie-Dye

Three blue tie-dye shirts hanging on a fence with a red Mickey Mouse head in the center of each.
This Mickey Mouse design is perfect for your family trip to Disney!

Create this Mickey Mouse tie dye shirt for your next Disney trip! This makes a great group shirt for a family or organized group to identify each other at the park. Try using different colors of fabric dye for a fun way to quickly locate someone you know. It is a cool modification of a spiral design.

3. Fourth of July Tie Dye Design with Crumple Tie-Dye

Boy in a red, white, and blue tie-dye shirt with a leafy background.
Red, white and blue cool tie dye technique.

Tie dye fourth of July t shirts are easy and fun to make! And transform a fabric item like a cotton t-shirt or bag into a patriotic design for a holiday celebration.

4. Ombre Shirt with Dip Tie Dye Techniques

Shirt being dip tie-dyed in purple dye.  Dipped tie dye technique is an easy beginner idea.
Fabric is dipped in the dye solution.

Learn how to dip dye tees for kids.  It is an easy way to get started with tie dye at home in hot water and then rinse in cold water for best results. If you have never done it before. It is like easy tie dye for beginners!

5. Colorful & Bright Summer Designs

Collage of watermelon tie-dye shirt, tie-dye tennis shoes, tie-dye group of shirts, rainbow tie-dye shirt, and ombre green, yellow, and pink tie-dye shirt.
Oh so many patterns to choose from…I can’t wait to get my first project going.

Try these fun tie dye projects – especially in the summer months. I love the watermelon pattern, the rainbow shoes and the traditional tie dye bag. All these different patterns inspire me to get out bright colors of dye!

Learn tie dye techniques from the pros! via Tie Dye Your Summer This has many ways on how to tie dye including specific ideas and instructions for each of these which do not have to be soaked in soda ash prior to dying:

  • Two-minute tie dye technique using colors of your choice
  • Spiral pattern design which is a traditional methods where you use rubber bands
  • Reverse tie dye pattern <–this is a twist on the spiral tie dye pattern!
  • Shibori technique
  • Accordion fold method or fan fold
  • Heart design
  • Ice Dye technique
  • Rainbow pattern
  • Spider design
  • Kaleidoscope technique
  • String technique
  • Crumple technique
  • Stripes pattern
  • Ombre technique
  • Bullseye pattern
  • Sunburst design
  • Folding technique
  • Watercolor design
  • Chevron technique
  • Galaxy pattern

6. Tie Dye Art Design with Non Washable Marker

Tie-dye circles on white fabric with permanent markers in background.
Love these bright and colorful ink designs!

This is a great way to create serious pops of color with this permanent marker tie dye technique! via Kitchen Table Classroom


7. Easy tie Dye Pattern: Bullseye Tie Dye Pattern

Tie Dye Patterns: Bullseye tie dye pattern technique shown with colorful finished bullseye t-shirt in red and blue colors and the way you fold and use rubber bands on the white t-shirt
This Bullseye Pattern is surprisingly easy to do with kids

Read on for some helpful tips and tricks for completing several colorful tie dye projects including this bullseye tie dye pattern that works great for tie dyeing with kids! via Happiness is Homemade

8. Colorful T-Shirts with Tie Dye Ice Cubes Technique

Tie Dye Pattern: Ice tie dye technique shown in a baking dish covered with a cooling rack with a crumple tie dye technique covered with ice cubes with dye of rainbow dolors on top
Whoa! This Ice Tie Dye Technique is Pretty Cool…Get it?

Looking for different ways to tie dye? Check out this tutorial for tie dyeing with ice or snow! via Bre Pea

9. T-Shirt With Water Balloon Tie Dye Idea

Tie dye t-shirts with water balloons at your next summer party! via Kimspired DIY

10. Captain America Tie Dye Design

Tie Dye Patterns: Little girl and little boy together in Captain America tie-dye shirts in front of grass.
Love these Captain America tie dye t-shirts made at home!

Create Captain America tie dye shirts. via Simply Kelly Designs

11. Mermaid Tie Dye Technique

Tie Dye Patterns: Blue mermaid tie-dyed tank top on sand with seashells surrounding it.
The watery scales that are created by the ink makes this so lovely!

The mermaid lover in your family is going to want to make one of these tie dye shirts! via Doodle Craft Blog

Cool Tie Dye Patterns

12. How to tie dye a random pattern?

If you want a random look, then start by scrunching and folding without thinking about being symmetrical. Once you have that first step competed, take a look to make sure that your random pattern…is a little bit symmetrical! That may seem like an opposite instruction, but truth is a random pattern looks best when it is still a pattern and there is some symmetry to it.

13. How do you make a tie dye swirl?

easy tie dye patterns - colorful fabric wrapped with string in rainbow colors wadded up and on a grate to dry

Learn how easy it is to make rainbow swirl tie dyed shirts! via Crafty Chica

A tie dye swirl pattern is created through movement of the fabric in a whirl like fold. Start where you want the middle to be with your thumb and index finger and pinch and twist like you are twisting a knob until it starts to pull more and more of the fabric closer to your fingers in a cyclone technique. As you twist you will pull upward just a little to straighten out the fabric and you can use your other hand to guide the remaining fabric into a circle. Secure the fabric in this position by wrapping with rubber bands.

Folding Techniques for Different Tie Dye Patterns

With these tie dye tutorials, you can learn DIY tie dye folding techniques to transform anything! Try folding a T-shirt, or tote bag or a scarf. Most people think of the dye and colors to be the foundation of tie dye patterns, but it is actually the folding technique that allows the colors to be in the right place to make the unique patterns appear!

What is the Best Method to Tie Dye

The best method for tie dye will be dependent on what tie dye pattern that you use. My favorite tie dye is the spray tie dye which works great for some effects, but doesn’t work for everything! If you are just getting started, read through the tutorial and choose something simple for your first project.


14. Make a tie dye face mask

Stack of blue, pink, purple, and white tie-dye face masks.
Face masks are the perfect place for a little colorful tie dye design!

Learn how to tie dye your face masks! via 5 Little Monsters

15. Sharpie Tie Dye Technique

Did you know you can tie dye your shoes with Sharpie pens? via Fun Loving Families

Tie-dye socks on a pair of kids feet on a carpeted floor.
Use Sharpies as your tie dye ink for both socks and shoes!

You can tie dye your socks, too! via The Tiptoe Fairy

16. Watermelon Tie Dye Pattern

Two little girls in watermelon tie-dye dresses eating watermelon in front of a pool.
This is one of my favorite tie dye patterns — make watermelon dresses!

This watermelon tie dye dress is so cute! Your daughter is going to want one this summer! via Paging Fun Mums

17. Pillowcase Patterns

Make personalized tie dye pillowcases! via Hometalk 

18. Tie Dye Bag Designs

Four tie-dye party favor bags full of sunglasses and notebooks on grass.
What colorful and cool goodie bags for a sleepover!

Create these fun tie dye party favor bags! via Ginger Snap Crafts

19. Tie Dyed Tote Bag Ideas

Five different colored tie-dye tote bags laid out on the ground.
Love all the colors and designs of these totes!

Tie dye a tote bag for you or a friend! via Doodle Craft Blog

20. Lunch Bag Patterns

Your kids will love tie dyeing their lunch bags, too. via Fave Crafts

Different Tie Dye Patterns FAQ

Is it better to tie-dye wet or dry?

Most tie dye techniques will start with a damp fabric which allows the dye to infiltrate the fabric in a more uniform way. You can tie dye dry fabric, and the effect is more vibrant with less control over where the fabric dye goes and how consistent the color appears.

Why do you soak tie-dye in vinegar?

Soaking your finished tie dye project in a vinegar solution can help the fabric hold the color, colorfastness.

How long do you let tie dye sit on a shirt?

The amount of time you keep dye on your shirt will depend on the depth of color you desire and the type of tie dye technique you are using. A general rule of thumb is that the longer you leave the dye, the deeper the color that will result.

How do you get the best tie-dye results?

As with any type of crafty project, the more you experiment and try, the better results you will get. The good news is that many of these tie dye project are super simple and perfect first time projects even if you haven’t tried doing tie dye before.

What tie dye colors go well together?

When you are deciding what colors go well together with tie dye, think of two things:
1. What colors blend well? Because tie dye is about how colors combine when they flow together, it is a good idea to consider what colors will be made when different colors are combined. Many times this consideration will result with the use of just 2 or 3 colors in the beginning to allow the colors to combine in a lovely way.
2. What colors complement each other? Take a look at the color wheel to choose the type of project you desire:
Monochromatic: Different shades of the same color
Complementary: Colors that sit across from each other on the color wheel
Triadic: Two colors that one away from each other plus their complementary color resulting in 4 colors total
Analogous: 3 colors that sit together on the color wheel.

More Tie Dye Ideas from Kids Activities Blog

or check out these activities

Have you done any tie dyeing recently with your kids? Share your favorite project in the comments below.

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  1. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

    1. Thanks! So glad you enjoyed the tie dye pattern information – how did your dying project turn out?