How to Set Tie Dye in Fabric


How to Set Tie Dye in Fabric

Before you wear and wash your tie dye projects, use this how to set fabric dye tutorial to ensure that all your beautiful colors do not run.

How to Set Tie Dye in Fabric
How to Set Tie Dye in Fabric

Since tie dye projects involve lots of wear and tear after the fact, the aftercare of a tie dye project is almost as important of a skill as those crazy, cool tie dye techniques you use to create stunning tie dye designs. If you cannot keep your tie dye from fading, it can be hard to show off those artistic skills. While it is important to learn how to wash your tie dye shirts after the fact (and for the rest of their brightly-colored lives), these techniques can prove fruitless if you do not know how to set fabric dye into your tie dye projects after you've learned how to tie dye.

In general, if you are using quality tie dye product for your projects, fading should not present too much of an issue. Despite this, it is still a smart idea to take precautionary measures. This is especially true if you are creating tie dye projects with kids. Kids can wear out clothing quickly and with gusto. They also become attached to things they created on their own. Using these methods to prevent tie dye from fading can save you some heartbreak down the line.

Luckily for you, this process is insanely easy and takes minimal effort. Follow the instructions below to learn How to Set Tie Dye in Fabric and prevent your tie dye patterns from fading. The full tutorial below tells you everything you need to know about post-tie dye rituals. In addition to setting the dye, be sure to check out some of our favorite tie dye techniques here.

How to Prevent Tie Dye from Fading

Setting tie dye is easy. All you need to do to set tie dye into your projects and prevent your projects from fading is soak the project overnight in vinegar before washing it in the machine. Follow the how to prevent tie dye from fading instructions below to set your fabric dye perfectly.

  1. Fill a large bucket with 1-2 cups of white vinegar depending on the size of your garment and bucket.

  2. Add cool water to the bucket, leaving a few inches at the top.

  3. Swish the water around a few times to make sure the vinegar and water combine.

  4. Place your tie dye project into the bucket.

  5. Allow to soak for AT least 30 minutes. 

  6. Remove the garment from the bucket. Wring out.

Washing Tie Dye Projects for the First Time

Wondering how to wash a tie dye shirt for the first time? Vinegar is your friend here, too. Wash your tie dye project in the washing machine with ½ cup of table salt and 1 cup white vinegar to further set the dye.


  • Wash each and every tie dye project alone for the first time. Do not combine several tie dye projects in the washer in hopes of saving time and money. The projects may run and blend dyes in the machine, causing an unattractive brown shade
  • In general, if you are using a high quality tie dye like Tulip that is specifically designed for this process, this setting process is simply an extra measure. These dyes are especially designed to set into your fabric chemically and should remain bright and beautiful.
  • Now that you have learned how to set your dye, check out our taking care of tie dye tutorial. This tutorial tells you exactly how to wash your tie dye projects from first to last wash. If you want to prevent your tie dye from fading, this tutorial is a must-have: How to Wash Tie Dye Shirts and Projects

Unique Tie Dye Patterns

Sensational Shibori Dyeing

Although people often think tie dyeing is exclusively for clothing, it's also great for home decor! With this shibori tie dye pattern, you'll have colorful pillows that'll brighten up the room.

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Darling Dyed Infinity Scarf

Do you have an old and plain scarf sitting in your drawer? Instead of throwing it away, revamp your scarf with this tie dyeing tutorial. This tie dye pattern is so subtle that it matches any outfit.

Get the Pattern

DIY Tie Dye Shoes

Canva shoes are a staple piece in everyone's wardrobe, but after a while, these shoes start to look a little boring. So, make your shoes a little more exciting with this tie dyeing technique!

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Tie Dye Tea Towels

Did you know that you can even tie dye your tea towels? We did, and it's so much fun! Check out this tie dyeing tutorial if you're looking for a fun and stylish way to decorate your kitchen.

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Tie Dye Hoodie

Whether it's winter or spring you can never go wrong with tie dye. With this video tutorial, you can learn to make a cool tie dye hoodie that's perfect for every season!

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Bleached Tie Dye Fringed T-Shirt

If you have a pile of old clothes in the attic, it's always best to refashion them rather than throw them out. With this tie dye technique, you can transform your old t-shirts into a hip and trendy shirt!

Get the Pattern

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Test, test test! I tested this on a couple of samples of natural dyed cotton knit (t-shirt, oxidized deep rust red turmuric and earthy pink avacado pit skins) and the vinegar solution changed the color, drastically in the case of the red turmuric! Water only rinse is rust red-orange. Vinegar is mustard yellow! Avacado water rinse remains deeper pink, vinegar lighter, washed out peachy-pink!br /Maybe it works with synthetic dyes or other natural dyes to "set" it, but this did the opposite for my test strips!

This information is inaccurate and this technique will not actually do anything. The only thing that sets fiber reactive dyes, which are the best dyes for cotton, is soda ash. Otherwise, you are just putting vinegar on your clothes for no reason. http// == dye-instructions.html?lnav=techniquestiedye.html

Thank you so much for all your effort, time and invaluable information and tools! This site is a great tool and friend for craters and artists! #FaveCraftsTieDye

So much useful information available! What a great site! #FaveCraftTyeDie

Thanks so much for all the information you give on the individual crafts projects... Love it when I'm a first timer to try some of your listed projects and you give step-by-step instructions on how to do them! And would love to try to Tie-Dye also and with a few friends would even be greater and a lot of fun! Good luck to everyone on the Tie-Dye Party contest! FaveCraftsTieDye

didn't know about salt!!! I have to try this because a shirt I dyed last year has started fading already - ( FaveCraftsTieDye

This is great. Mine would have faded if I'd not read this. First time tie die time. FaveCraftsTieDye

It is really helpful to know how to get it to permanently set. Thanks for the info. FaveCraftsTieDye

Great tip to have! 3 FaveCraftsTieDye

I really need this one. FaveCraftsTieDye.

Great tips. Love the suggestions! These are great for anyone who hasn't done tie-dye before, like myself. FaveCraftsTieDye

Thanks for this information. Would hate for a project to fade!! FaveCraftsTieDye

Good to know that it will be permanently set. FaveCraftsTieDye

FaveCraftsTieDye. these are great! I can redo my whole closet

This information is SO helpful! After all the work on a garment, I would really hate to have it fade. Thank you FaveCrafts!

Oh, how I wish FaveCrafts had existed back during my high school tie dye phase! It was always so, so disappointing when I spent a bunch of time working on a tie dye design and I wasn't able to get the dye to set. Now I feel brave enough to try again.

FaveCraftsTieDye. This is definitely the best instruction to save me from wasting all the time designing my projects. Thanks.

You know I have been looking for the perfect tie dye fabric everywhere I can think of and have not found the perfect one because it is not what I wanted. I did not even think of making my own any color or design I want. I have tie dyed T-shirts in middle school years ago but never fabric. I wondered if the dye would come out. Is there any fabric you can not use? Which fabric is the best? Now that I know how to set the dye in I will try it. Thanks.

Hi, The best fabrics are natural ones like 100% cotton, wool, bamboo, silk, etc. If you want to tie dye on synthetic fabrics there are certain dyes that will work on that type of fabric. Check the instructions on the container before you buy. You can also do a search for natural dyes that are made from foods, etc.


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