Sharpie Tie Dye T-Shirts

One of our activities at camp last week was decorating camp t-shirts.  We had a few options — some girls used one, some used another, some used all 3.

Option #1 was Sharpie Tie Dyeing.  I found a few different versions/methods of this when I searched.  I’m just going to show you what we did.



Rubbing alcohol
Some sort of squeeze bottle or dropper
Plastic cup
Elastic bands

Start by stretching your shirt over the top of your cup.  Put an elastic around the top of the cup.


Make 6-ish dots in a circle.


You can add a different color in between if you want.


Drip alcohol into the center of the circle.


I found that maximum spreading happened at around 15 drops and that anything more than that didn’t really change the look at all.

Try some different colors.


Maybe even put them on in some sort of orderly or artsy manner, instead of all willy-nilly like I did on my test shirt.

At camp, a couple of the girls discovered that you could dye through both the front and back of your shirt at once.

So, get yourself some Sharpies and try it.  I think I’m going to do this again with my kids.


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  1. 3creativechics says:

    This is a great idea. I am going to have to try this. It just so happens that I am a Sharpie Pen freak.

  2. I have to tie-dye my daughters school t-shirts this weekend. This is amazing! We will definitely be trying this project.

  3. We've done it! The kids love it. But our red sharpie bled as pink – the 7 yr old declined to wear a shirt with pink fireworks on it. (we did it as fireworks not flowers because, well, my boys do not care for flowers but they really look more like flowers!)

  4. awe.SOME!…i love sharpies!

  5. Twins Squared says:

    What a great idea! Thanks!

  6. Neat! I love how it looks like flowers. I have some white pillowcases I've been wanting to make into dresses and this would be a nice addition to the white!

  7. Amanda Joy says:

    This is such an awesome idea. I could do this into the shape of Mickey's head for our trip to Disneyland. If it doesn't work out, what two year old would even care:)

    I wonder how it would work to put the dots in a star formation? Maybe it would look like an apple cut in half? So many combo's to do, thanks.

    • When we went to disneyworld last summer, we hung at the pool of our hotel one day for some rest – they had tie dye activities – and we made mickey and minnie mouse on ours – was easy. We used a big piece of fabric tied with the rubber band for the head in the center and then added to similar smaller pieces for the ears – doing the head first worked the best! Good lluck.

  8. Christine says:

    We made these at our camp too-isn't it genius?

  9. that looks fun.

  10. Resweater says:

    That looks great! Will it bleed when you wash it though?

    • I let mine dry over night, then “heat treated” it in the dryer before washing on cold cycle with a dash of vinegar. All those were supposed to help according to various sites I read, and they seemed to. It looked the same when it came out as when it went in, white parts white and colored parts colored. I am not sure how long they will stay, but I will just make more if they fade and have layers. =)

      • Yvonne Dunmore says:

        I like your idea about if they fade, that is so cool. I’ve just tried this on scrap t-shirts but am excited now to try the real thing. Thanks for your tips on heat treating and washing.

  11. MaryJanes and Galoshes says:

    This is seriously creative! I would also like to know how it stands up to washing that first time.

  12. Cute and fun, my girls will love it!

  13. Neat idea!

  14. Jennifer Hancock says:

    That is SOOO cool!!!

  15. MotherMotherOcean says:

    Super groovy. I am so going to try this.

  16. Kari @ Ucreate says:

    How have I never heard of this?! These are super cool!!

  17. sportzmom says:

    What a blast! Can't wait to try these out!

  18. Love, love, lovity love this idea!

  19. Jessica Percifull says:

    Great idea!! just wondering if you will be putting the other 2 ways up as well?

  20. That looks like a lot of fun!

  21. Nice. My cousin asked around on facebook today for ways to tie die with her kids and I was able to tell her this.

  22. So cool! We are definitely trying this!

  23. Another project for me to add to my ever expanding to do list! x.

  24. This was fun! I tried it tonight with my 9 year old and he really got into it. I found out Prismacolor markers work great too… also use lots of ventilation because I feel sickish from all that alcohol (we covered an entire shirt!)

  25. How fun! This will work perfect with a cute dress I found on a blog! I am going to link to this tomorrow!

  26. Ooh Sharpie!!! That's genius. Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

  27. Two Dollars says:

    I've tried and haven't had success with them staying very dark after wash- any suggestions?


  28. 農家女 Nong Jia Nu says:

    Oh! I love this project. This is the first time i see a "3D flower" tie dye project.

  29. mommy2luke2008 says:

    Very cool and simple too!! I featured this on my friday favorites!!

  30. Love this idea! It seems like it would be so much more clean that the regular dye jobs…Of course, with three boys very little ever ends up "clean."

  31. Kirby3131 says:

    I thought they were CDs when I first saw the photo. Now I'm totally in love because of the use of Sharpies :)

    Kristin – The Goat
    (by way of One Pretty Thing)

  32. How cool is that? I love it!

  33. I just did this on a lavender shirt for my daughter with a purple sharpie. I did a design around the neckline to emulate a lei or floral necklace. So cute, thanks for sharing!

  34. I envy your creativeness, I would have never been able to do anything like this if it wasn't for your advice. I made a few of these designs last week for my girls and they really loved them especially because they could pick their own colors and make each one different from the other one. Thank you for sharing this with the rest of the non creative world.

  35. Sarah Mathews says:

    I really love this idea! My husband has the soul of a hippie and we love all things tie-dye. This project will be so much easier than a traditional tie-dye kit with a four year old that loves to be messy!

  36. misscraftyfingers says:

    my god I love this tutorial! I'm gonna go home and try this tonight! :D

  37. I used to do a variation of this when I used to do hands-on chemistry activities in elementary schools – it's called chromatography. You can use water soluble markers, too, and water (although the dyes will wash out when washed). You can use strips of uncoated paper, water-soluble markers, make markings about an inch from the bottom, stand up in a cup with about half an inch of water, and watch the water go up and separate out the mixture of dyes in the ink. Black ink has the most dyes in it and it's fun to compare the different colors in different brands of black ink.

  38. Beth @ Sand To Pearl says:

    Awesome, I gave you a blogger award:

  39. OK, I am loving your blog. I am working on my daughter's costume for Halloween right now and was wondering what the heck I was going to do to the top. She is going as a modern version of an eighties teen and there is a petticoat a la Cindy lauper with a fitted tee and crazy knee high socks…oh, almost forgot the ever popular back in style allstars in dayglo green. I think she could do this one herself. If we do it, we'll post a link to you with the pics on my blog (as soon as I figure out how to do that ; ) thank you for all of your wonderful posts!

  40. Awesome idea! Want to try this too, but couldn’t find, what kind of markers you used for this project? Thanks!

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  43. I am looking to do this for a girls slumber party next weekend.. I wont have overnight to dry them.. can i set dry them with a drier and then throw them in my drier for a few? I am reading mixed reviews about putting them in drier due to alcohol being flammable..

  44. Yes! Finally something about dress shirt interview.

  45. Love the idea for this tshirt, they came out good congratulations!

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  52. Can I use colored shirts to do,this

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  1. [...] your packs of dye away these are made with sharpies.  Crap I’ve Made show you just what to do.   LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  2. […] resembling tie-dye; until now. I was super excited when I stumbled across several posts on a DIY Sharpie Marker Tie-Dye project for t-shirts. I love the flower effect of this simple, inexpensive […]

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