How To Bullseye Tie Dye
If you are looking for a super easy, versatile and bold pattern then the bullseye tie dye design is for you. It’s great for beginners and kids. You can have as many or as few colors as you like. It just depends on the number of rings you create with the rubber bands. The center of the bullseye can also be wherever you want on the shirt. There is no right or wrong place to put it.
For the bullseye design I am going to show you I used 7 colors. I am also using an Adult Medium 100% cotton t-shirt, but any size shirt will work. The dye kit I use is Tulip’s one step dye which I love for its ease of use and bright colors.
Ready to see just how easy it is to create the bullseye design? Let’s get started!
FOR MORE TIE DYE 101 BASICS: HOW TO TIE DYE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
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Bullseye Tie Dye
What you’ll need:
- White Shirt
- Rubber Bands
- Dye Kit (Which Includes Rubber Bands, Gloves, And A Plastic Sheet)
- Plastic/Rubber Gloves
- Plastic Covering For Work Surface
- Painter’s Tape (optional)
- Baking Tray With Rack (optional)
- Paper Towels/Rags
- Gallon Plastic Bag or Plastic Wrap
CREATING THE Pattern
1. Start with a damp, but not wet, shirt for this design. The shirt could be fresh out of the washing machine. If you washed it a different day, like I usually do, then just dunk the shirt in a bucket of water or sink and wring it out before starting.
2. Lay the shirt flat on your work surface. Using your fingers, pinch where the center of the bullseye design should be and pick the shirt up.
3. Wrap your first rubber band securely around the center of the bullseye.
4. Continue to create additional rings down the shirt with rubber bands until you have reached the end of the shirt.
Dyeing The Shirt
Baking sheet/rack versus just a workspace covered in plastic: I have dyed MANY shirts on just a covered workspace. As long as you have a ton of paper towels and are careful, you will be fine. It is, however, MUCH easier and more environmentally friendly (i.e. paper towel usage) if you use a baking sheet and rack because any excess dye goes directly onto the pan, away from your shirt, and you barely need to use any paper towels. If you plan on tie dyeing a number of items now or in the future I strongly suggest the investment (and the ones I purchased are not expensive).
5. Set your shirt on the baking sheet/cooling rack or covered workspace and put on your gloves. Start with the color of the center of the bullseye and add the dye to the end (where you put the first rubber band). Make sure to add extra dye and let it soak in, so it can get to the center of the shirt. Turn the shirt when needed to cover the entire tip.
6. Add the second color to the ring next to the center. As with the last color, turn the shirt when needed and be sure to let extra dye soak in. NOTE: Letting the extra dye soak in is especially important for this technique. It can be a bit tricky getting the dye all of the way through the shirt, so there aren’t large chunks of white left, so take your time and really let the dye soak in.
7. Continue adding color to each ring until the shirt is completely dyed.
8. Once all of the shirt has been dyed, carefully place it in the gallon plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Personally I prefer the plastic bag as you can easily seal it, label it (if you are dyeing more than one item) and move it if needed without worrying about dye leaking out.
9. Let the shirt sit for minimally 6-8 hours and up to 24 hours max, so the dye can cure. This will help produce the brightest colors.
Rinsing And Washing
Once the dye has cured, it’s time to rinse and wash the shirt. This is an important step as, if done in the wrong order or rushed, it can muddy up the nice colors and pattern you created.
10. Take the shirt out of the plastic bag and put it in a sink or bucket (something that can get dirty and won’t stain). We have a stainless steel kitchen sink, so I use that. You can cut/take off the rubber bands and then rinse the shirt in COLD water. The cold part is critical because it allows excess dye to wash out slowly while not dyeing the remaining white parts of the shirt.
11. Repeat this rinse process several times until the water is fairly clear.
12. Once the water is fairly clear, repeat the rinse process once more, but with luke warm water (not HOT). This should get the last bit of excess dye out before putting it in a washing machine.
13. Once the shirt is thoroughly rinsed, you can wash it in the washing machine either by itself or with several other rinsed tie dye items. If I’m tie dyeing a bunch of shirts, I will put up to 6 in one load. Wash on warm or cold with a bit of detergent.
14. Dry the shirt(s) in dryer or let air dry. Personally I prefer air drying as it extends the life of the dye color (as they will eventually fade a bit with washing and wear).
NOTE: Wash the shirt by itself or with other tie dye items for the next few washings before adding it in with your other clothes.