How To Make Mickey Mouse Tie Dye Shirts

Planning a trip to a Disney Park?   Make a set of these Mickey Head Tie Dye shirts for your whole group & stand out from the crowd!     This fun project will make for some wonderful photos at the parks as well.

A few tips before you begin:

*Choose tshirts that are 100% cotton.   Synthetic blend shirts will not hold the color well.

*Be sure to include the Soda Ash step indicated below even if the brand of dye you choose doesn’t say to use it.   The Soda Ash helps set the colors.

*You don’t have to spend a fortune on dye.   There are numerous dye choices online & they all proclaim to offer the best, professional dye jobs.  We have always used Tulip brand dye because it’s what I could find at Hobby Lobby. I was worried that buying a “craft” brand of dye would result in less bold colors, but as you can see in the photo above, that’s not the case!

*Ignore the number of shirts your dye packet says it will make.   You will need more dye for this project.   Assuming you are using two colors for your swirl, 1 bottle of each dye color will do about two adult shirts, OR 3-4 children’s shirts.   For Mickey’s head, you will just need 1 bottle of dye for all of your shirts since it’s such a small part of the shirt.

*Don’t limit yourself to a white t-shirt as your starting point!   I saw an adorable Mickey Head Tie Dye shirt that started out as a baby blue tshirt & they used a royal blue dye with a dark red Mickey head (head was a dark shade of purple becase blue shirt + red dye=purple!).

*Buy a little more dye than you think you’ll need.   The first time I made a set of shirts, I ended up running back to the craft store with purple fingers because I ran out.   You can always return any unused dye.

*VERY IMPORTANT:   When choosing your color palate, think of the color wheel & choose accordingly!   If you choose red & green for your swirls, consider what mixing  those colors  will give you….BROWN.   Any place they overlap, you’ll end up with muddy colors.   I would suggest sticking with colors you know mix well (yellow & red, blue & red, yellow & blue, etc).     For the shirts above, I used two shades of blue for the swirls (turquoise & royal blue) and fuchia for the head.     Black dye does not produce a strong black color & I would suggest staying away from it.

Now…onto the fun part!   Here’s how to make your tie dye shirts:

Supplies you will need:

*1 tshirt per person (100% cotton)

*bag of rubber bands

*waxed plain dental floss & needle

*tie dye mix

*Soda Ash (found with tie dye supplies)

*plastic wrap

*squirt bottles (most dye kits come with these already)

Here’s how to do it:

(1)  Trace your Mickey head pattern on the tshirt with a pencil.

(2)    Use a basting stitch & sew around your traced Mickey head with the dental floss.   A basting stitch is just up-down-up-down-up-down.   Super easy!   Be sure to leave about 4″ of string hanging out when you begin, because you will pull the two ends together for the next step.

(3) Pull strings tight so Mickey is puckered & tie floss in a knot.

(4)   Use rubber bands & band the area below Mickey’s head tightly.   You want your rubber bands to create about an inch-long border.

(5)  Soak shirt in Soda Ash for 20 minutes.   Remove & wring out.

(6)  Lay shirt flat on a table with Mickey’s head pointing up.   Using your puckered Mickey head, grab about where the rubber bands are & start twisting.   Keep going until you end up with a “danish” roll shape.   It’s OK if it’s not perfect or if little parts are sticking out.   Just tuck them in…


(7)   Using  4  rubber bands, create  pie sections  on your tshirt danish.     When it’s time to dye, you’ll alternate colors in the sections.   Pull Mickey’s head up through the rubber bands in the middle so his head is sticking out above the danish.

(8-10)  Lean your shirt over a sink, so that Mickey’s head isn’t touching any other part of the shirt.   Saturate the head until it’s dripping, then cover that part with plastic wrap.   You may end up with a spot or two of dye on the shirt, but try to keep Mickey’s Head color away from the rest of the shirt.

(11)   Dye the rest of your shirt.   Using two or three complementary colors, dye alternating sections of your “danish pie”.

Important tip:   You want to over saturate your shirt.   Dripping.   More dye than you think you possibly need.   You think you’ve done enough?   Do a little more.   Bury the nose of your squirt bottle down into the creases & give a huge squeeze.   If you don’t use enough dye, you will have a lot of white on your shirt & your tie dye pattern  won’t be as striking.   The first time I made ours, I thought I was going to end up with a big blob of blurred colors because “How could I possibly need this much dye!”.   Just trust me.   Go very heavy handed with the dye.


(12)  Wrap the whole drippy thing in plastic wrap & let sit overnight.   Laugh at your purple/blue/green/red hands.

The following day:


(13)  Unwrap your shirt ball & cut off all  the rubber bands.   Rinse in cold water until no more dye comes out.   This may take a little while!

(14)   Snip the dental floss & pull out of the shirt.

(15)  Run shirt through a cold cycle in the washing machine.

Check out the final results!

Here’s the back:


I have also considered putting little rhinestones around the Mickey head for a girl’s shirt.   I don’t think my son would appreciate that though…

Let us know if you make a Mickey Head Tie Dye shirt!   Think of other shapes you could use as well.   My next project will be using a cross!


  1. It is such a fun, easy project. If you try it, let us know!

  2. This is so cool! I’ve never tried tie dye at all but I would love to do something fun like this!

  3. I love it, I’ve done hearts before but I haven’t combined it with the spiral, just concentric hearts. My girls will adore this.

  4. We are going to Disney for the Holidays and I thought this would be fun for kids to help with is it a adult only project ? I wanted to do holiday colors but red and green make “yuck” and ideas ?
    Great job .

  5. I’m DOING IT. Thanks for such clear directions, and the pictures. It looks messy=fun!!! Great project for me & my girls. Can’t wait!!! Thanks again.

  6. I love this idea!!! We are going to Disney World to celebrate mine, my mother in law, and my twins birthday in just a few weeks…I am so excited to try this to wear to the park…Wonderful Idea!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. We’re taking my 4 year old son and my parents for their first trip to Disney this fall so this was a perfect weekend craft for us today! This was my first experience doing tie dye, and I have to back up what you said about the amount of dye to use. I thought I had used more than enough, but I probably should have emptied a few more bottles! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Can’t wait to make one of these- what a great summer project. I don’t have kids but I know I’ll have fun hehe! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. I love these! Love tie dye 🙂

  10. Wow! These are the best at-home tie dye I’ve seen!

  11. Disney mom says:

    Thank you for putting such great details and pictures into your description! I made 6 shirts yesterday for our upcoming Disney trip and they look great! You are so awesome!!

  12. So we tried these darling shirts this weekend. Unfortunately, the Mickey heads look like hearts! I guess I went overboard on the dye, because we didn’t end up with the white border on ours. So I guess I’d recommend that if you try these, don’t over saturate the mickey head. Thanks for posting this idea! It is so cute, I just need to try again!

  13. I tried this and our Mickey heads came out looking more like hearts. Not sure what I did wrong. Maybe the rubber bands need to be closer to the stitching. What do you think?

  14. Christina says:

    Ok…I have a stupid question for you. I have never done tie-dye so maybe that is why I am not sure. When you did the sections and dyed it with two colors, did you divide it into 4 sections of colors or 8? Thanks.

  15. I’ve tried twice and both times the Mickey head color bled and made it look like a heart. Do you have any suggestions? The second time I made the rubber band tighter and closer to the stitching and used less die, but still…it didn’t turn out. I love the idea and how awesome your directions are, but I need more help :-/

  16. We are going to disney next month and tried your shirts tonight! I waiting till tomorrow can’t wait to see the results!!
    Thanks for the great directions!

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  19. I used this tutorial to make a Pete the Cat head t-shirt and it turned out amazing! Thank you!

  20. Sarah Webb says:

    Love this idea! Do you think it would work with a beach towel instead of a shirt? I want to do personalized towels for vacation, but thought it might be neat to do something like this instead of my kids names. Let me know what you think! And thanks for sharing!

  21. I think that is a great idea! I have not done it with a towel, but think the process would be really similar. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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