8 Tie-Dye Patterns With Step-By-Step Instructions

Elevate your basic tie-dye to make groovy swirls, stripes, polka dots, and more. Click through for eight tie-dye designs with easy-to-follow instructions.

A boy with a tie dye t-shirt lies on top of a bunch of other tie dye t-shirts.

Lauren Lee / Stocksy

01 of 08

Bull's-Eye Pattern

Tie Dye Bullseye Pattern
Jim Franco

This tie-dye pattern looks like a target or bulls-eye! Here's how to make it:

  1. Lay the T-shirt flat.
  2. Pinch the center of the garment and rubber-band both layers, about 1 to 2 inches from the center.
  3. Continue applying rubber bands in this pattern about 1 inch apart.
02 of 08

Nebula Design

Blue tie-dyed t-shirt atop bed of black-eyed Susans
Allie Cottrill. Allie Cottrill

Even very young kids can help make this cosmic tie-dye design. Here's how:

  1. First, wet the shirt and lay it flat.
  2. Then, scrunch and wrinkle the fabric with your fingers, gathering it into a tight disk.
  3. Finally, wrap several rubber bands around the disk. The tighter you bind it, the more white there will be in the final shirt.
03 of 08

Diagonal Stripe Design

Diagonal Stipe Tie Dye Design
Jim Franco. Jim Franco

Consider these multi-colored diagonal stripes if you're looking for a unique tie-dye shirt pattern. To make it:

  1. Lay the T-shirt flat and fold it accordion-style from the bottom corner.
  2. Once folded, wrap with rubber bands every 1 to 2 inches.
04 of 08

Polka Dot Pattern

Red t-shirt with white dots
Allie Cottrill. Allie Cottrill

Here are step-by-step tie-dye instructions for this polka dot design:

  1. Gather a handful of plastic beads or dried beans.
  2. Cut plastic wrap into squares that are about four times larger than the beads or beans.
  3. Place a bean or bead inside the shirt, then place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the shirt.
  4. Working with just the front layer of the shirt, wrap a rubber band tightly around the plastic- and shirt-covered bead or bean, as shown.
  5. Repeat to make more dots.
  6. Wet the tee before dyeing it.
05 of 08

Rosette Pattern

Rosette Tie Dye Pattern
Jim Franco. Jim Franco

This tie-dye idea ends up looking like fun, funky flowers. Here's how to do it:

  1. Start by laying a T-shirt flat.
  2. Next, pinch a 2-inch section through both layers and rubber-band it.
  3. Finally, push your finger down through the rubber band to make a donut shape.
  4. Repeat as many times as you want.
06 of 08

Sunburst Design

Yellow and white sunburst t-shirt
Allie Cottrill. Allie Cottrill

This spiral pattern (shown on the yellow shirt) will have you and your kids doing the twist. To make it:

  1. Choose a spot in the center of the shirt, between the armpits.
  2. With your thumb and forefinger, press down and twist the fabric clockwise. Try to keep the resulting folds at approximately the same height, creating a shape like a flat cinnamon roll.
  3. Wrap the shape tightly with rubber bands, as shown. The tighter you bind the shirt, the more white there will be in the design.
07 of 08

Sailor Stripe Design

Blue tie-dye-striped t-shirt
Allie Cottrill. Allie Cottrill

Tie-dye doesn't always mean groovy spirals and circles; you can make straight-line stripes too. To get this effect, follow these steps:

  1. Starting at one side, gather the T-shirt to create accordion-like folds that run vertically from neck to hem.
  2. Wrap a rubber band tightly around the shirt.
  3. For more stripes in the tie-dye pattern, add rubber bands as shown.
08 of 08

Ringer Design

Boy in brown t-shirt with white circle
Allie Cottrill. Allie Cottrill

This circle shirt couldn't be simpler to create. Follow these steps for the ringer effect:

  1. Pinch the top layer at the center of the T-shirt between the armpits.
  2. Pull the fabric up to a point, letting the rest of the shirt fall away.
  3. Smooth the fabric evenly from your pinched point, creating a skinny cone shape.
  4. Wrap a rubber band tightly around it. Move the rubber-banded ring up or down to make the circle smaller or larger. For a wider line, wrap a few bands around the same spot. Or create a bull's-eye by adding bands above and below the first one.
  5. Wet the tee before dyeing it with this creative tie-dye technique.
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