Make Tie Dye With Fruit and Vegetables

Turn fresh fruit and vegetables into natural dye for beautiful tie-dyed t-shirts.

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Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Tie Dyed T-Shirts with Natural Dyes

Brighten up your wardrobe with these tie-dyed shirts made from fresh fruits and vegetables.

Gather the Materials

You will need: 100% cotton T shirts / rubber bands (optional) / marbles or small stones (optional) / fruits and vegetables for dye such as berries, beets, onion skins, etc. / other natural dyes such as herbs (mint, parsley) / spices such as turmeric/ water.

Make a Floral or Sunburst Pattern

Place a large stone or ping pong ball at the center of your desired design. Secure it in place by gathering fabric around the bottom and wrapping a rubber band around it several times. Note: for best results use wider rubber bands. Next evenly distribute six smaller stones, marbles or balls around the larger stone. Secure them with rubber bands in the same manner as the large one.

Make a Concentric Circle Pattern

Place a large stone or ping pong ball in the center of the shirt. Gather the fabric around it and secure with a rubber band. Gather the remaining fabric together and place rubber bands around the fabric every 1-2 inches. 

Making a Wide Band Pattern

Begin by making single knots in each of the sleeves. Next, gather the fabric together lengthwise. Tie a single knot at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom.

Soak the Shirts

Submerge each shirt in a bowl filled with water and dye materials. Soak 24 hours before removing. If necessary, keep shirts submerged by weighing them down with a plate or large bowl.

Blueberry dye

Make the blueberry dye by adding 1 cup of blueberries for every 3 cups of water. For a medium or large men's t-shirt you will need about 12 cups of water and 4 cups of berries. To enhance color you can add blackberries. Bring the berries and water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place t-shirt in a large bowl and strain out solids to cover with the water/dye.

Make the Beet Dye

Make the beet dye by adding 1 cup of beets for every 3 cups of water. For a medium or large men's t-shirt you will need about 12 cups of water and 4 cups of beets. To enhance color you can add raspberries. Cut the fresh beets into large chunks. Bring the beets and water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place t-shirt in a large bowl and cover with the water/dye.

Make the Onion Skin Dye

Make the onion dye by adding 1 cup of onion skins for every 2 cups of water. For a medium or large men's t-shirt you will need about 12 cups of water and 6 cups of onion skins. To enhance color you can add turmeric. Bring the onion skins and water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place t-shirt in a large bowl and strain the dye over the bowl to cover with the water/dye.

Finishing touches

After removing the shirts from the dye, wring out excess liquid and remove bands and marbles, stones, etc. Rinse the shirts in cold water, wring out the excess water and dry.