Friday, September 2, 2011

Sharpie Tie Dye

This is the CLEANEST tie dye project EVER!  Stinky, but clean!

All you need is:
plastic cups
rubber bands or hair ties
rubbing alcohol
medicine dropper

I had all the windows open in the living room, but the smell still got to me, so you might want to do this outside.
Start by laying out your shirt and deciding where you want your "spots" to be, then place a cup under each "spot" location, and place a rubber band over the shirt and around the rim of the cup.  (You can place both layers of the shirt over the cup, or just do the front, I chose to do both at once, I'm impatient!  If you double the  layers keep in mind the back of your design will have less definition.)  Do this until you you're satisfied with the look.  Have your alcohol and pens ready.  I used a medicine cup and dropper to hold the alcohol.  It worked well.

Next you're going to draw designs on your "spots".  Draw whatever you want.  The alcohol will spread the ink so keep that in mind when you're drawing.
Once you've finished all your circles take your dropper, suck up some alcohol and begin in the center of a circle with a few drops.  Watch as the alcohol spreads and then add more drops as needed.  I really wanted my colors to bleed over the edge of my cups to allow for a more traditional tie dye effect.
I did a first round of "spots" and decided I wanted more color, so I turned the shirt over and did more on the other side.  Here is the finished product:
I love it!  And like I said before, NO MESS!  And my hands aren't discolored!  Woo hoo!  Before I started the second side I made sure to let the alcohol dry, to speed that up I put the shirt in the sun, still bound to the cups, until it dried.  Before throwing it in the wash at the end I ironed it, I read somewhere the ink will set if you use heat before washing, we'll see.

Now go, create, have some fun!

Love ya,


  1. what an great idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I am going to have to remember this technique!!! :o)

  2. This is a really neat idea. I'll have to file that in my list of things to try. Thanks!