If you’re looking for a fun tie dye pattern that is easy to make and not one of the typical ones you see, take a look at the chevron tie dye pattern. This zig zag design is quite simple to create and varies greatly depending on how many colors you use and rings you make.
For this chevron pattern I am going to show you I used 4 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, bright colors, and quality of dye.
Ok, let’s create this fun zig zag design!
FOR MORE TIE DYE 101 BASICS: HOW TO TIE DYE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
TO SEE MORE ITEMS YOU CAN TIE DYE WITH THIS PATTERN: 30 THINGS TO TIE DYE
Chevron Tie Dye
What you’ll need:
- White Shirt
- Rubber Bands
- Washable Marker (I like to use my kids’ Crayola Washable Markers)
- 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
DYE COLOR TIPS: Just like with most tie dye projects you can add as many or as few colors as you like. For a chevron pattern, pick at least 2 and they should contrast enough that you can clearly see the zigzag lines. For my shirt I actually chose a few pops of color in the pink and cobalt blue and then the purple and black for some contrast.
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, front side down. Fold the shirt in half vertically.
3. Fold the top half of the shirt back over about a third of the way (A) and then fold it back again on itself (B). By now you should have the body of the shirt (of the one half) folded up. Fold the sleeve back and forth until its folded on top of the body (C & D).
4. Now for the tough part. Gently flip the shirt over, keeping the one side folded. TIP: If you have a large shirt or you are having a hard time keeps the folds together, use clothespins to hold the folds together while you flip it over. Be sure to take them off after the shirt is flipped.
5. Repeat the folding from step 3 on the second half of the shirt.
6. Once the shirt is folded, it’s time to add the lines as guides for the rubber bands. Using a ruler or just free hand, draw lines with your marker at an angle. Be sure to keep them evenly spaced and on same angle. NOTE: You can create as many or as few lines as you like. This will determine the number of zig zags you will get.
7. Starting at one end, wrap each line in a rubber band. (Pardon the pic, I adjusted the lines when I started.) Be sure to try to keep the rubber band on the line that is on an angle. This will create the chevron pattern that you are looking for (and not just stripes).
8. Continue wrapping each line 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).
9. Set your shirt on the baking sheet/cooling rack or covered workspace and put on your gloves.
10. Start with the lightest or weakest color (pink in this instance) and add the dye to that ring. 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. 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.
11. Continue adding color to each ring until the shirt is completely dyed.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Repeat this rinse process several times until the water is fairly clear.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
And just that easily you’ve made this fun zig zag patten! A colorful chevron tie dye shirt, made by you and one of a kind!! GREAT JOB!!
FOR MORE TIE DYE PATTERNS TO TRY: Tie Dye Patterns