Spray Bottle Tie-Dye

Spray Bottle Tie Dye by Crayon Box Chronicles

It’s totally tie-dye time – kid style! Using a spray bottle or squeeze bottle is much easier and a lot less messy than traditional tie-dyeing. Your child can choose their dye pattern and colors too. Up-cycle an old t-shirt into something new! Let’s explore cause and effect today!


  • Plain white t-shirts, hats, shoes, sheets, towel
  • Fabric dye in a variety of colors (RIT, box powdered)
  • Rubber bands
  • Spray bottles
  • Plastic gloves
  • Newspaper
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Tie-Dye Pattern Sheet


  1. First, let’s prepare the garment. It’s best to pre-wash your garment. First, wet your garment and ring it out completely.
  2. Next, select your pattern for dying. We chose the SWIRL. First, Pinch the garment in the middle and swirl. You can also use a wooden dowel or pencil to get a tighter swirl.DSC_0019
  3. Continue to pinch and turn until all the fabric is in a swirled shape.Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  4. Rubberband the swirl shape a few times, crisscrossing the bands.Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  5. Next, place in a gallon sized zip-lock bag. Set aside.
  6. Let’s prepare the dye. Boil 2 gallons of water per 1 powdered RIT dye box. (UPDATE: Shirts weren’t as bright as we’d like, so I’d suggest using 1 gallon of water, not 2.) The box calls for 3, but it’s very diluted that way, so we cut it down. We learned a lot along the way and I will share tips as we go. 😉
  7. Add 1/2 cup salt to water. Boil.Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  8. Add packet of dye to the large container.Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  9. Add boiling water and stir. {CAUTION} Everything will be extremely HOT! It’s best to work with at least 2 people.Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  10. Pour dye mix into the spray bottles using a funnel {CAUTION – VERY HOT} and set aside to cool. You will have a TON left over (gallon zip-lock bag extra). This method is great if a lot of kids are participating in the craft.DSC_0059
  11. Tip: Another option is using pre-made squeeze bottles – just add water and go. This method is best if only a few kids are participating in the craft. It’s more expensive (3-pack $7.00 on sale) and you get much less, but its so much easier, less messy, less clean-up, less time consuming, and you can really target your rubber banded sections better!
  12. Now, the kids part! Let the fun begin! Make sure to have the kids wear gloves!
  13. Method #1: Spray Bottles – Have the kids spray the dye onto the shirts inside the bags; rotate the garment and use 2 colors for the SWIRL pattern. Tip: It’s best to use to color in the same family, so pink/purple; blue/green; yellow/orange. This method works best for simpler patterns such as the swirl. For more complex patters, such as the bullseye, spray outside bag. Then, seal in bag overnight.Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  14. Method #2: Pre-made Squeeze Bottles – squeeze liquid onto each section – not inside the plastic bag. Using this method, you’ll have a lot more control and the freedom to use more colors. We still stuck with 2 colors for the kids. Once finished dying, then seal inside a plastic bag overnight. (UPDATE: These came out much brighter than the powdered RIT dye in the spray bottles.  These are pre-made and come in a bottle, just add water and go!)Spray Bottle Tie Dye
  15. Set aside to “dye” inside bag for 24 hours for best results. Remove rubber bands rinse in cold water with mild detergent {by hand, not in washer} to remove excess color. Continue to rinse until water is clear! I’d do this a few times. Hang to dry. Clothes pins work great!
  16. Note: Although some people do wash their garment in machinery after a few times hand washing, I will always choose to wash by hand as I cannot predict any damage that the garment may or may not cause to the other clothes or machinery. Have fun!

Squeeze Bottle Method



Spray Bottle Method


^A special thanks to my dear friend Madeline for the demonstration and our play group for all your help.^

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover your work area with plastic so the dye won’t stain anything. Fabric dye stains quickly and no matter how careful you are, drops can happen.
  • Protect your hands with rubber gloves to stop the staining of nails and skin. The dye will usually come out of your hands, but leaves outlines in your nails.
  • Safety! Any powdered dye can cause a reaction if inhaled. If you’re sensitive, wear a mask.
  • As mentioned above, I do NOT recommend washing your dyed garments in your washing machine, as it could possible cause damage to machinery and or other garments – hand wash!

5 thoughts on “Spray Bottle Tie-Dye

  1. Tammy says:

    Thanks for the great tie dye info. I love the idea of using rit dye as it is much cheaper than the pre-made bottles for a whole class.


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