How to Tie-Dye Shirts Using Markers

    by Dawn Westin

    About the Author

    Dawn Westin is an experienced professional writer who has contributed articles to publications including "South Magazine" and "The Inkwell." She holds a BA in English and professional communications from Armstrong Atlantic State University and currently takes courses at Georgia Southern University in hopes of soon enrolling in medical school.


    Traditional tie-dye methods for coloring your own T-shirts can turn into a time-consuming and messy pastime. Skip the hassle and create your own retro tie-dye designs in an hour with the help of permanent markers. Shirts tie-dyed with markers are virtually identical to those tie-dyed using traditional methods, so your friends will never know the difference.

    Things You'll Need

    • Rubber bands
    • White T-shirt
    • Permanent markers
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Spray bottle or paper towels

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    Bunch up a section of the tees' material and wrap it in rubber bands to offset it from the rest of the shirt. Repeat with more areas, offsetting as many or as few sections as you want and making them as big or as small as you would like. The more sections you bunch, the more intricate your tie-dye design will turn out when you are finished.

    Color a few bunched sections of fabric at a time with permanent markers, making sure to get color in every groove. Stick to between two and four colors; anything more will cause the colors to run together.

    Spray the colored sections of fabric lightly with rubbing alcohol, using a spray bottle. If you do not have a spray bottle, blot the fabric with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol.

    Repeat the steps several times until you have colored all of the bunched sections. Color two or three adjacent sections during each repetition.

    Set the T-shirt aside for about 20 minutes.

    Remove the rubber bands to see the finished result.

    Iron the T-shirt or tumble it in a hot clothes dryer to set the color.

    • Wash your shirt by itself in cold water to prevent the marker from rubbing off onto other garments.