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Virtual Family Art Night

Tie Dye with Natural Plant Dyes


color wheel

Learn how to tie dye a shirt using color from natural plants in this video tutorial by artist and OMAM gallery coordinator Michelle Davidson! 


  • 3 rubber bands

  • 100% cotton white shirt

  • 3 large cooking pots

  • gloves, optional

  • plant dye of your choice (see color wheel)

  • vinegar

  • strainer

  • measuring cup & measuring spoon

  • water

  • stove top

  • hot pad, potholder or oven mitt

"Natural Tie Dye" Art Tutorial Video

Natural Plant Tie Dye Instructions

  • Step 1:

    Find a 100% cotton white shirt that you can use to dye.

  • Step 2:

    Lay out shirt flat on a table. Find 3 rubber bands. Follow directions on how to tie a spiral design

  • Step 3:
    Step 3:

    Gather natural plant dye material. You can use plants, spices, and vegetables you have around the house. Refer to dye color wheel to choose desired color. For this project I am using turmeric powder, yellow and dried hibiscus flowers for pink.

  • Step 4:

    Preparing dye fixative: Put a large cooking pot on the stove top. Measure 3 cups vinegar and 12 cups water and put into pot. Put burner on high and let mixture come to a boil. Add shirt into pot and boil under medium heat for 1 hour.

  • Step 5:

    Preparing natural dye. On another burner put a large cooking pot and add 12 cups of water. Put on high. Decide on a plant/dye color. Cut up plant or vegetable material. Use 6 cups material and add to water pot and bring to a boil for 30 minutes. If using spice powder use 15 tablespoons to 12 cups of water.

  • Step 6:

    Get another large cooking pot and put in sink. Put strainer over pot in sink. Take dye mixture off stove top with a hot pad and pour through strainer. Dispose of plant ingredients in strainer.

  • Step 7:

    Once shirt in fixative solution is done, take off stove top with a hot pad and pour out liquid in sink. Rinse entire shirt in cold water. Ring out extra water. Be careful shirt might still be hot.

  • Step 8:

    Add shirt to the pot with natural dye liquid. Put on stove top on medium heat and simmer for an hour. Once adequately dyed, place shirt into plastic bag and seal. Let shirt set in bag overnight.

  • Step 9:

    Take shirt to a sink or hose outside. Rinse with cold water about three times removing excess dye.

  • Step 10:

    Remove or cut rubber bands and hang to air dry completely

  • Step 11:

    Then to further heat set the dye, run the item through the drier on high for about an hour.

  • NOTEWash your natural tie-dyed shirt by hand only with a very mild detergent.

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