Learn how to make a Heart Tie Dye or dye another shape such as a smiley face or guitar on a tee shirt. Tie Dyes make a perfect DIY Gift Idea for Valentine’s Day and Birthdays.
Here’s a quick craft dyeing project you can still finish for your love by Valentine’s Day. What says I love you more than a hand dyed heart shirt? So, let me show you how to tie dye a heart.
Check out Reverse Tie Dye Patterns with Bleach!
This was my first attempt at tie dyeing a specific shape, in this case a heart for a Valentine’s Day shirt.
It is a little more fussy than other tie dye folding techniques but I am pretty happy with the results. I will have to practice my pleating, though to make the shape neater. Someday 🙂
As I said above, this fabric folding method works great not only for dyeing a heart shape but it will work perfectly for just about any design.
I have seen lots of tie dyed shirts with shapes including mushrooms, guitars, skulls and stars so experiment!
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Basic Tie Dyeing Supplies:
- Tie Dye Kit
- Cotton T Shirt or Tank Top (white or light color)
- Washable Fabric Markers (I didn’t have one and used a pencil… didn’t work very well)
- Plastic table cover
- Plastic Zip Bags
How to make a Heart Tie Dye: Step by step instructions:
Prep Your Tee Shirt for Dyeing
Prepare your shirt according to the instructions on your particular tie dye kit. Usually, this involves pre-washing your shirt and then soaking it in water with some soda ash. This should be included in your tie dye kit, if required.
Fold the Tee Shirt
First, cover your table with some kind of plastic. These dyes will stain just about anything.
Now, take the tee shirt or other fabric out of the soaking water and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Next, you want to fold your shirt in half vertically (lengthwise). The fold will divide the heart in half to ensure your heart has two ‘equal’ sides.
Using the washable marker, draw half of a heart on the shirt, with the center line along the folded edge of the fabric.
Starting at one edge of the drawn heart, pinch both layers and gather/pleat the shirt all along the drawn heart line. This may take a bit of practice. Feel free to start over (I did many times!)
Once the entire outline is pleated, secure with 2 or 3 rubber bands.
Tie Dyeing Your Shirt
First, you will need to mix your dye powders with water. Check the instructions on your particular dye kit for exact directions.
Then, decide which color you want the heart part of the shirt to be and apply it to the inside of the gathered shape (I used fuschia). The second color (blue), I applied randomly to the rest of the tee shirt.
Setting the Tie Dyes
Carefully, pick up your tie dyed shirt and place it in a plastic bag. Close the bag so that it is airtight and then let it set overnight. The longer the dyes set, the better and brighter your colors.
Note: some dyes work differently so make sure and check your tie dye kit for exact instructions.
The next day, take the shirt out of the bag and thoroughly rinse it with cool water to remove all excess dye.
Be patient! This can take a while as cotton shirts can hold a lot of dye.
But, don’t cut corners on this step. Keep rinsing. You don’t want your dyes to run together and make your your colors muddy!
Finally, lay your shirt on some type of plastic sheet to dry.
Get the Free Guide!
Dyeing Fabric with Fiber Reactive Dyes
(PDF and Word Doc versions)
How Do You Wash a Tie Dye Shirt for the first time?
Regardless of how much you rinse your freshly tie dyed shirt, the first few times you wash it, it will bleed.
Honestly, I have used many many different dyes and they ALL bleed. So, make sure the first few times that you wash your dyed shirt, that you wash it separately and in cold water. Remove it from the washer immediately and either dry flat or tumble dry.
That’s all there’s to it! As I said, this heart tie dye tutorial shows you a technique works for just about any shape like a skull or guitar. Have some fun with it!
- - Tie Dye Kit
- - Cotton Tank or T-Shirt (white or light colored – mine is gray)
- - Washable Markers
- - Plastic Zip Bags
- - Plastic to cover table
- Prepare your shirt according to the instructions on your particular tie dye kit. (Usually, this involves pre-washing your shirt and then soaking it in water with some soda ash). Remove shirt from water and squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Fold your shirt in half vertically (lengthwise). The fold will divide the heart in half to ensure your heart has two ‘equal’ sides. Draw half of a heart on the shirt, with the center line along the folded edge of the fabric.
- Starting at one edge of the drawn heart, pinch both layers and gather/pleat the shirt all along the drawn heart line. Secure with 2 or 3 rubber bands.
- Mix the dyes according to directions. Apply one color to the inside of the gathered shape (I used fuschia) and a second color (blue) to the rest of the tee shirt.
- Place shirt in a plastic zip bag and let it sit overnight. Then rinse thoroughly with cold water. Wash separately the first few time.
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The History of Tie Dye
Tie Dyeing is related to the ancient art of shibori dyeing. According to Wikipedia,
“The earliest surviving examples of pre-Columbian tie-dye in Peru date from 500 to 810 AD. Their designs include small circles and lines, with bright colors including red, yellow, blue, and green.” Read more on Tie Dye History.