How to Tie-Dye With Permanent Markers & Alcohol

    by Thomas McNish

    About the Author

    Thomas McNish has been writing since 2005, contributing to and other online publications. He is working toward his Associate of Science in computer information technology from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla.


    Tie-dye was popularized in the 1960s and is still popular today. The unmistakable pattern can be achieved with various dyes. The easiest and perhaps cleanest method is using permanent markers and applying rubbing alcohol to the cloth which forces the colors to bleed into each other.

    Things You'll Need

    • Rubber bands
    • Permanent markers
    • Spray bottle
    • Rubbing alcohol (70 percent isopropyl)
    • Dryer

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    Gather your garment and bundle it into 1 to 1 1/2-inch sections securing each section with a rubber band. If you're tie-dyeing a sock or bandan you can simply wrap the rubber bands up and down the length of the cloth. If you're tie-dyeing something larger such as a T-shirt, you will need to tie-dye one portion at a time. Tie off a 7- to 10-inch section of the T-shirt with the rubber bands to start.

    Use two to four markers to color the segments you've created. There's no specific design to follow, just fill in the white areas with color. Don't use any more than four colors per garment or your design could come out looking more blurry than tie dyed.

    Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. Lightly spray the colored area and set it aside for 20 minutes to dry. If you're dyeing something larger such as a T-shirt, it's best to do this in small sections. Let the first section dry then go back and repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you've dyed the entire garment.

    Toss your garment into the dryer at the highest setting possible when it's finished air drying to set the colors. When washing, use cold water in the washer and tumble dry.

    • Try tie-dyeing something small and inexpensive before you try taking on a larger project.
    • Wear clothes you don't mind getting messy when tie-dyeing. The permanent markers may stain clothing.


    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images