Easy Peasy Batik Dyed Shirts – Summer Craft!


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Easy Peasy Batik Dyed T Shirts from Southernplate

Although technically, this is a craft for the kiddies to enjoy, it is the one thing I look forward to doing most (in terms of crafts) each summer. I have way too much fun making these shirts for my kidders each year. They are so easy and fairly economical, I feel sure you’ll enjoy them as well!

Of course, they aren’t just for kids. Teens and even adults have get into the swing of things with this super easy and incredibly creative tie dye method.


You’ll need: Clean white cotton t shirts.

When you wash them, don’t use fabric softener. This will help the dye to be absorbed easier.


You’ll also need washable school glue. Any old brand will do but I’d opt for the bigger bottle because it’s easier on the hands to squeeze. The glue MUST be washable for this to work!


And a little table salt, a trigger squirt bottle, and some old hangers you don’t mind ruining.

Of course, you’re gonna need your dye…


We need a dye that doesn’t require boiling water so that leaves the traditiona RIT brand out. I get Dylon brand and find it is fairly easy to locate. Michael’s, Wal Mart, and even Hobby Lobby carries it. Dylon is made in the UK so I figure it is likely easy to find over in their neck of the woods too. These are two different package designs so you should be able to find at least one fairly easily. I think the one on the right is their new design.

I like to use two colors but you can certainly use one if you prefer – or ten for that matter.

I find that one packet dyes about one and a half shirts. For this project, I am dying three shirts so using two packets. Color choice is a matter of preference but the colors fade considerably so I would encourage you to start with darker colors.

A word of caution: Red WILL be pink, one way or another. If not now, then after a washing or two. If you have a child who isn’t so fond of pink, you might want to avoid using red.


Place some old cardboard in between the layers of your shirt.

Using your bottle of glue, paint a design of your choice onto one side.

I find that thicker lines and generous helpings of glue yield the best results.


Allow to dry completely before turning over and painting a design on the other side with glue as well. I am using the cardboard shirt forms you can get at Hobby Lobby for t shirt crafts but most of the time I just cut up an old box and stick that inside.


Pour about a tablespoon of salt into your bottle.


Pour in your powdered dye.

Note the scissors in the background. I suggest using those to open your dye because it tastes horrible and if you try to bite it open you WILL end up tasting it – as well as having a green or blue splotch on your lips. Don’t ask me how I know this.


This is all of our powder in the bottle. Now we need to fill the bottle halfway with warm water, about two cups.


Give it a good shakearoo!

(I think that’s an Australian term. I’m getting ready to meet one of my Australian readers when she visits the U.S. in October so I gotta start learning the lingoroo!)


Add about two more cups of water and let it sit until the water cools to room temperature.

This is important because you need warm water to dissolve the dye and salt but if you spray it on your shirts warm it will actually melt part of the glue and won’t have a bright white effect when washed. It took me a few years to figure out what I was doing wrong when some of my shirts came out a bit less brilliant than others!


Hang all of your shirts up outside and make sure you have clothes and shoes on that you don’t mind getting messed up a bit.

I also keep the hosepipe close by because you’re going to need to wash your nozzle out every now and then when it gets clogged up. Trust me, it will get clogged up.


Begin spraying in fluid motions, saturating each area you want the color to appear on.


You’ll have to turn them around to get the front and the back.


I like the two tone look myself and I left a bit of white in between the fade to add to the “coolness” factor.

Make sure you lift up the sleeves and get under the arms of your shirts, too!

If your spray bottle stops working, wash out the nozzle with the hosepipe.

You’ll have to do this a few times while making these shirts.


You want to leave these outside for as long as you can but bring them in before you go to bed and hang up to finish drying overnight.


The next day, wash them together with warm water and detergent like you normally would.

This will remove the glue and everywhere that the glue was will be white!

Easy Peasy Batik Dyed T Shirts from Southernplate

Easy Peasy Batik Dyed T Shirts from Southernplate

These would also be great for family get togethers, vacations, scouting, Vacation Bible School, anything you can dream up!


This is the shirt I made Brady forever ago. I used a foam brush to paint my glue on for the design. He still wears this and it is at least three years old. Can you tell I tend to buy my kid’s clothes on the large side? If you’re just now tuning in to the fact that I’m cheap, where ya been? ~grins~


I hope you are having a wonderful summer and have time to enjoy making these t shirts for someone in your life. A few of my reader’s have posted facebook pics of their children helping out with Southern Plate recipes at home!

I’m so proud to see these great kids in the kitchen!


This is one of my little readers, Sarah, putting up tomatoes for the freezer with her Mom this past weekend!

I have a few others folks have sent me via facebook but couldn’t find them! Please send me any pics you have of your kiddies making up SP recipes! www.facebook.com/southernplate or christy@southernplate.com (Facebook is preferable. Simply tag me in the photos if you’d like me to use them!). Please only send ones that I am allowed to post on southernplate.com!


I am truly honored to have my kitchen featured on a great new website, www.wherewecook.com. The interview was a lot of fun! Head on over there and read my interview when you can!

I’ll be bringing you a tour of my kitchen soon!

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain… And most fools do.”

~Dale Carnegie

To submit your quote, please click here.


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  1. nicole says

    We are always looking for fun shirtideas to make for cousins camp with my sisters’ kids and mine. I am looking forward to trying it. Thanks for a fun idea and the warning to cut with scissors and not my teeth.

  2. Lisa from Madison says

    Hey Christy,

    What a neat idea!! I think this would be a nice craft for my 13 yo and her friends for her birthday. They could all make matching shirts!

    How much drying time do you need between steps–for the glue and for the dye?


    • says

      Hey Lisa! I have thoguht about doing this for slumber parties and such myself. The thing is, you really need a day (all together) to get the glue dried and on both sides of the shirt. Then you need another day for the shirts to dry before you can wash them.

      So what I was thinking was that I’d do the glue designs myself a few days before hand, then let the kids spray the dye on them first thing when they got there (careful with the overspray). They can then dry overnight and be washed first thing in the morning and worn that day!

      P.S. hope this helps!

  3. lindsay mizer says

    Ok, that’s pretty darn cute! I might try this out with the wonder twins.

    Does the dye run in the wash when you do laundry? I mean, in the future, after the first solo wash? I love tie-dye, but I don’t want the rest of my clothes tie-dyed!

    • Courtney says

      Lindsay, you could get some of those Shout color catchers and put in with the laundry with the other clothes to catch the dye as it comes out of the shirts for a while. I use them when we buy new clothes (especially dark ones or jeans) because they tend to bleed even with cold water and they work quite well for me.

      • says

        Hey! Sorry to be so late on this. life is crazed right now!

        I wash them that first time in warm water and have never had a problem with the dye running after that. I just toss ’em in with my lights!

        I need to look for some of those thingamobobers Courtney talked about though, they’d come in handy!

        • Courtney says

          Yes Christy they do come in handy! They are great!

          On a little side note, you need to add in a disclaimer that you should wear gloves when spraying down your shirts or your hands will come out looking like the color of your dye (in my case purple). Don’t ask me how I know…ok I’ll tell you… I wasn’t so quick on the up swing to think about things like this before walking outside and then figured “Ah it shouldn’t be so hard to get off my hands if it is still wet” HAHA! I’m purple. So yeah a disclaimer for those not smart enough to think about these things, like me would be a good thing LOL

  4. Melody says

    Very cool! That looks like a great Bible school project, or even an elementary school project. My husband has made patriotic tee’s with 3rd graders by arranging star stickers in a rectangle shape, applying masking tape for the stripes, and then painting over the stars with blue fabric paint and over the stripes with red fabric paint. When the paint dries, you peel off the stickers & tape for a cool flag tee.

  5. says

    This is great! I might try this using a very light color shirt with very dark color dyes. I like that you have control over the design rather than being totally surprised when you take the rubber bands off. Thanks for yet again another wonderful idea. Hugs to you and yours.

  6. Candis says

    Very cool!

    Here’s another idea that is also easy peasy… reverse tie die.

    Use a colored shirt. Create a design with masking tape. Spray the shirt with bleach water. The area underneath the tape remains the original color and everything else fades. Very quick results. Use care with the bleach water that it only sprays where you want it to!

  7. Sheila M. says

    Oh, that’s a great project! My dad’s from Indonesia so we have a lot of actual batik cloth. But I think this is way easier than the whole “put wax on, transfer dyes layer by layer, melt wax away, do next layer, etc. etc.” Uh… washable glue for me, thanks. If I wasn’t headed out of town this Wednesday, I would do it now!

  8. Trixie says

    Oh wow. I remember the messy tie dyed shirts. And goodness this is so much easier. I have ten Grands and would love to have a get together, and do up some shirts like this. Would be a lot of fun.
    Thanks for yet another great thing for us, christy.
    Have a happy summer.

  9. Su says

    SHAKEAROO?!?!! hahaha

    Oh no Christy. I am sorry to tell you, but all those Crocodile Dundee movies have you all fooled. lol
    We don’t talk like that, at least I don’t, maybe some ‘outback’ (hint hint Terri! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) speak that way, but I don’t know those people. hehe

    I went to Malaysia last October and I went to a batik factory in one city called Penang. The fabrics were so beautiful (and so expensive). Like Sheila M said, they do it with wax but it’s a time consuming process. Maybe you should tell them about the glue? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yay! It’s almost October!!!

  10. Kelly says

    Yes, I love summer projects. This is a new one for me and I thank you for enlightening me. I have a vacation coming up in August and this looks like fun. Thank you Christy!!!

  11. Rachel says

    Hi – just tried this but the glue stuck to the cardboard one it dried…really BAD! I had to rip the shirts off the cardboard and tonz of pieces are sticking to the inside of the shirts. Did this not happen to you? Or does it come out in the wash? The shirts look wrecked. Need help. Thanks.

    • says

      Don’t worry, it will all come out in the wash. Just go ahead and dye them as usual and then when you wash it, the cardboard will all come off. I sometimes have this happen as well. I think it just depends on the box you use. The ones I did for this tutorial actually had that happen some.

      Hope this helps!
      Christy :)

  12. Maryb Erwin says

    A similar project I have done is to buy some dark colored t-shirts from a thrift store and load a spray bottle with bleach. Put a piece of cardboard in between the front and back. I have my students cut out letters (or those plastic magnetic letters work well, too) and other shapes-bugs, animals, etc. Arrange the letters and animals on the shirt and spray with the bleach. Everywhere the bleach hits it lightens up. Where the letters and animals are, the color stays dark. After it dries you can turn it over and do the same thing on the front. Wash and viola, cut new t-shirts!

  13. Lisa Botts says

    OMG! I just read this again (saw it last year) and realized you used the word “hosepipe”. I get made fun of all the time for using that word and I mean by people born and raised here in Chitlin (Chilton) county, smack dab in the middle of the state! I’m so glad to find a kindred soul that talks like I do.

  14. Darlene Ross says

    Neat project. However, think twice about putting a youngster’s name on their shirts. My daughter could have been abucted when she was about 5 years old because she was wearing a baseball cap with her name on it. An older man called out to her and said “Sue, come here a minute”. She thought he must have known her because he knew her name. She started to walk towards him but luckily I was close by and called her back to me. Needless to say, that cap went into the trash that very afternoon. Just a word of caution!

  15. April says

    Very cool post! I remember tie dying my very first shirts when I was in grade school, my mom & I actually did them in the washing machine, lol. I remember taking rubber bands around the part I wanted designs they came out really cool I made some for all my friends. This sounds like so much fun and I’d love to get my 3 kiddos matching shirts, thanks for all the great ideas Christy you are the best!

  16. Susan says

    Awesome!! I do crafts with our kiddos every year at VBS and I started doing t-shirts with masking tape, or foam shapes, or cut out plastic mesh letters/shapes, and then spray paint (outside of course too); with our older kids with very similar effects. (It’s nice that you can lay these down and use non-stickable objects.) They dry in minutes and you turn it over and do the other side. (It’s like the “cool thing” the jr. high kids get to do that no one else does at VBS to help get older kids interested in coming to VBS). Now we have tons of tweens that want to come to VBS so they get to make the “cool shirts” at VBS with Mrs. J. I’m going to adopt the spray bottle and glue method this year, and do them early in the week and I’m going to wash their shirts for them so they’ll have them ready by Friday so they can all wear them to our closing ceremony on Saturday with a cookout and inflatable bump n jumps. I’M VERY EXCITED AND THE KIDS WILL BE TOOOOOOO!!!

  17. Jennie says

    I am very excited to try this with my kids at work…(k-5th grade) it looks like a fairly simple craft for them to do! I would like to make 1 to wear right now but sadly its almost 11 and I dont have the materials so…there is always tomorrow!

  18. Jennifer says

    I love to tie dye and after seeing your spin on it I tried it with a friend. I love this idea and it was a lot of fun. I’d love to show you the pics of the ones I made for my 4 kids so you can see what you you “helped” us craft lol

  19. Shell says

    Ladies, if you want a dye that won’t “fade considerably”, try using Dharma dyes. They give REALLY bright results. You have to order them online but it’s worth the wait.

  20. says

    I like that you spray it outside and it does not get all over the house and laundry equipment. Sooooo cute. I wonder if I can get 9 done with my grands most of whom are under the age of five. I think I will have to enlist the help of all the moms. :-)))

      • Jordanna says

        Thanks and now I have another question. I cannot afford to stuff up the other two because I need them for Sunday. The glue didn’t wash off and my colours blended together which is not what I wanted, Do you have any idea why? The glue was definitely washable school glue and I washed them in warm water.

        • says

          Hey Jordanna! I’m so sorry this happened. I’ve done 40-50 shirts like this and have never had the glue not wash out. Did you wash them in hot water? My only thought is that there must be some problem with the glue itself. The colors always blend some as you can see in my photos.

  21. Peg H. says

    You had me at batik! Thanks so much for sharing this project – our family (part of it anyway went to the zoo last week and my son & I agreed it would’ve been really nice to have matching tee-shirts on so we could keep track of the littles better. When you’re in a big group it’s too easy to lose sight of each other. You can bet this will be a pre-trip project for the next outing like that!

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