How to Dye Fabric and Clothes


Dyeing clothes is easy, easier than you might think! I bought this shirt from Anthro’s clearance rack a while back – though, I love the shirt I never wear it; it’s white. Me and white don’t get along. As careful as I may be when wearing white, lunch will wind up all over my clothes. Do you have an issue with light colored clothes? So there is sat in my drawer, it was going to be my “it’s been a long weekend of shopping/errands and now I am ready to settle in with some chocolate, a cozy blanket and this oversized soft feminine shirt”.

The couple of times I wore it I didn’t enjoy it because I obsessively watched over it “hey now, don’t don’t come too close with that red soda” “step away from the shirt – no, no 10 more feet ought to be good”. Yeah, no. Out came the dyes.

I’ve played around with natural dyes made from leaves and flowers – which is quite magical might I add, but I’ve never used anything like Rit dyes. I wanted something intense so Rit was my best bet, it didn’t hurt that I already had them on hand. I did a test run on a white piece from the thrift store and decided I was proficient enough to go ahead and dunk my favorite shirt.
I love the dip dye look so I took the plunge. Get it? Plunge? OK, maybe it’s not funny.

How to Dye Fabric and ClothesHow to Dye Fabric and Clothes

Dyeing clothing is so easy I didn’t feel a visual was really necessary and though my kitchen sink isn’t bad, sinks just gross me out and I couldn’t stand to take pictures of it.

Make sure, make sure you read the directions on the dye!!!


  • Dye
  • Spoon
  • Bowl or sink
  • Water
  • Salt for cotton fabric (read dye directions for other suggestions on other fabrics)
  1. I winged it and filled my sink halfway with hot water and dumped the entire bottle of dye in with a cup of dissolved salt.
  2. I soaked the shirt with water and gently wrung it out.
  3. I submerged all but a few inches of the top of the shirt into the dye.
  4. Almost immediately I pulled a few inches out of the dye and let it hang over into the other side of the sink.
  5. Make sure you don’t overlap the dyed fabric with the portion that you don’t want dyed – just straighten it and keep it separated the best you can. You will notice that the hanging dyed portion will bleed into the undyed areas – you want this.

Now this would be a great time to have someone that can set and reset a timer for you – not necessary, but nice.

  • Every three minutes pull up a few inches of fabric straightening it the best you can and continue to keep that undyed portion out of the mix.
  • Continue the step above until you run out of fabric.
  • When you’re done, empty the sink and gently wring out the shirt continue to keep the undyed portion separate.
  • Hang the undyed portion over the sink and rinse the rest of it with cold water gently wringing between rinses.
  • When the water is generally clear you can pull the rest of the shirt in to rinse.
  • If you want the white to remain, you will need to hold it out of the water otherwise it will become light pink like mine is.
  • Now give the shirt a wash in the washer with warm water and detergent…DO NOT do double duty and wash clothes with it – it WILL bleed. Hey it’s something that’s in my nature to do, so I figured I would stop you if you are like me!
    Once it’s done give it a dry and you’re good to go! Ready to sport your newly dyed clothing where ‘er you might desire!
    How to Dye Fabric and Clothes

Picking things up at the thrift store is a great way to test and get the art down.
If it’s a preworn piece of clothing it may dye blotchy.
The bottles says mix constantly – mix CONSTANTLY.
This can be done outside in a big bowl, but if you have pets that go outdoors you might want to make sure you can dispose of the dye where they can’t get into it.
Use only items that you won’t be using with food.

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How to Dye Fabric and Clothes