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Which tie-dye kits are best?

Tie-dye is a creative way to add a splash of color to your wardrobe or harken back to the flower power fashion of the 1960s. Tie-dye kits come with everything you need to create this vibrant look at home, but when faced with so many similar products, which kit should you choose?

Before making your purchase, there are several factors to consider, but for a simple starter kit with easy-to-follow instructions, the Tulip One-Step 12-Color Tie-Dye Kit is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a tie-dye it

What clothes can I tie-dye?

Almost any article of clothing can be tie-dyed, from shirts and handkerchiefs to hats and even pillowcases. Fabrics like cotton and linen are commonly used with a tie-dye kit because they absorb most, but nearly any natural fiber can be dyed.

How to tie-dye clothes

Always follow the instructions included in your tie-dye kit, as exact application steps can vary. 

  1. Clean your work area: The dye found in tie-dye kits can easily stain tabletops and furniture, so take the kit outside or prepare your area by laying down newspaper or plastic bags. Gloves are also recommended, so the dye doesn’t stain your hands. 

  2. Pre-soak the garment: Most kits come with a soda ash solution used before dying to help set the ink. Read the instructions for exact pre-soak times. 
  3. Twist and tie: Once your garment is pre-soaked, twist the fabric tightly and secure it with rubber bands. The twisting is what produces the iconic tie-dye look. 
  4. Use the dye: Prepare the dye by following your kit’s instructions and use an applicator to add color. 
  5. Allow your dye to set: The exact time needed to set the dye typically depends on the quality of your kit.
  6. Rinse and enjoy: The final step is to rinse any excess dye and admire your colorful creation! For best results, air dry your finished garments.
  7. Soak in vinegar (optional): Many fans of the craft recommend soaking your new tie-dye garments in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water to lock in the color. 

What to look for in a quality tie-dye kit

Items in a tie-dye kit

Tie-dye kits almost always have everything you need to make colorful clothing at home, but the exact accessories and tools can vary. Look for a kit that includes at least some of the following items:

  • Dye: While every tie-dye kit should come with at least a few dye options, some products will specialize in certain fun colors like pastel or neon. The more you’re willing to spend on a kit, the more colors you’re likely to receive. 
  • Applicators: These small bottles hold the dye and usually have a pointed tip for design precision. 
  • Ties: Often found in the form of rubber bands, small ties are used to secure the twisted fabric during the dying process. 
  • Instructions: Every product is different, so make sure your kit contains detailed instructions to achieve the best results. Instruction booklets can also include fun design ideas and patterns. 
  • Soda ash solution: Also known as fixer, a soda ash solution is used to soak the fabric before the dying process begins. Many modern kits don’t require this solution, so don’t worry if your kit doesn’t have it.

How much you can expect to spend on a tie-dye kit

Tie-dye kits are usually affordable, but prices can vary slightly depending on accessories and how many dyes are included. Most people can expect to spend around $10-$30 for a solid kit with multiple colors of dye. 

Tie-dye kit FAQ

How do I wash tie-dye clothing?

A. The first time you wash your tie-dye garment, run it through a cold cycle with no other items and hang it to dry. After that, you can wash the garment with your regular loads of laundry. 

Can kids use a tie-dye kit?

A. Yes. Tie-dying clothes can be a fun activity for any kid over the age of eight. To avoid a mess, wear gloves and spread newspaper or a plastic tarp onto your work surface. 

What’s the best tie-dye kit to buy?

Top tie-dye kit

Tulip One-Step 12-Color Tie Dye Kit

Tulip One-Step 12-Color Tie Dye Kit

What you need to know: This popular kit comes with twelve dyes and easy-to-use applicator bottles. 

What you’ll love: Great for small parties and gatherings, this simple tie-dye kit only requires water to activate. No soda ash pre-soak is needed. The instruction booklet also comes with eight design ideas. 

What you should consider: The applicator bottles are a little small, and colors fade more quickly than advertised. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top tie-dye kit for the money

Just My Style Pretty Pastel Tie Dye Kit

Just My Style Pretty Pastel Tie Dye Kit

What you need to know: Pastel dyes can be tricky to find, so this affordable kit is popular among tie-dye artists.

What you’ll love: Including fun pastel colors like pink, orange and teal, this affordable kit produces tie-dye garments that hold on to color for a longer time than comparably-priced kits. The instructions are fully illustrated and include design ideas. 

What you should consider: The pastel dye may produce lighter colors than what some users expected. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Tie-dye kit worth checking out

Kool Krafts Tie Dye Kit

Kool Krafts Tie Dye Kit

What you need to know: This versatile starter kit comes with a lot of dye and four cotton shirts. 

What you’ll love: This easy tie-dye kit is huge, featuring twelve non-toxic dyes, including uncommon colors like black and light blue. There are tons of bonus accessories like two disposable tablecloths and a dozen gloves, and the instruction manual is loaded with tips and tricks. 

What you should consider: Some users felt that the included T-shirts were of poor quality. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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