How to Make Tie-Dyed Faces On a Shirt

By Elsa MacFie

Do you just love the retro hippie look of tie-dye? Would you like to have some tie-dyed garments without paying boutique prices for them? Maybe you want a tie-dye shirt that's different from the usual spirals everyone else has. The good news is, whether you're experienced at the art of tie-dye or an absolute beginner, you can learn to tie-dye a smiley face onto a T-shirt with relative ease.

Step 1

Launder your white cotton T-shirt as you would normally, but don't dry it.

Step 2

Fold your clean, wet T-shirt in half lengthwise, so one sleeve touches the other. Starting at your fold, draw one half of a smiley face.

Step 3

Beginning with the eye, start to tie your smiley face. To tie the eye, simply poke up the fabric where you've drawn the eyes and put a band around it.

Step 4

Tie the outline of the face. Accordion fold the fabric together, using small folds. Follow the entire outline of the face, making sure to keep track of the mouth. Tie the outline. You can't fold the mouth, so you'll have to remember where it is so you can fill it in later.

Step 5

Put on your gloves. Use 1/2 cup of soda ash for each gallon of water. The water can be any temperature, but warm works best. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Dip your tied shirt into the soda ash solution. Make sure it's thoroughly soaked in this solution. Keeping your gloves on, carefully wring out your shirt.

Step 6

Mix up your dyes into your squirt bottles. Using your funnel, measure 1 tbsp. of dye for every 16 oz. of water. Add your dye powder first, then half of the water, then gently shake this mixture together. Add the rest of your water, replace the cap and shake until thoroughly blended.

Step 7

Make sure your work surface is covered with a plastic garbage bag. Color the eye first. Next color the mouth. Now do the outline; if you want the traditional smiley face, these will all be black. Color the inside of the face; for a traditional look, use yellow. Make sure to get in between all the folds so that you're not left with white areas in your face. You can color the background of your shirt any way you want or simply leave it white.

Step 8

Leave your shirt to sit for a minimum of 12 hours before washing it out. To wash it out, fill your washing machine with hot water, then add laundry detergent. Cut the bands off your shirt and wash and dry the shirt just as you would any garment.