Traditionally, bathing suits are constructed from a combination of synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, nylon and spandex. Although durable and more waterproof than other porous materials, including cotton, a bikini won’t readily accept traditional fabric dye. An acid dye will, however, allow you to turn your drab bikini into a tie-dyed masterpiece. Protect your skin and create your own unique pattern before acid dyeing your white or light-colored bikini.

Things You'll Need

Launder the bikini according to the label’s directions. Lay the damp bikini on a towel and determine how you’d like it tie-dyed. According to the University of Tennessee Extension, wrapping a rubber band around the bikini at various intervals will create a simple line pattern. To create circles, lay a marble on the bikini and wrap a rubber band around it.

Fill a plastic basin or bucket with cool water and submerge the bikini inside. Allow the bikini to soak until you’re ready to place it inside the dye bath.

Pour enough hot water inside a stainless steel cooking pot to cover the bikini. Add the acid dye powder according to the package directions. For example, add 1/3 to 2/3 ounce of powder per 1 pound of fabric being dyed. Place the pot onto a burner.

Stir the dye with a wooden spoon or your gloved hand until it’s well incorporated. Remove the bikini from the basin or bucket and place it immediately into the dye bath. Turn on the heat under the pot to 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The water should be very hot, but not quite boiling.

Stir the water periodically and maintain a temperature just below boiling for 15 to 30 minutes. The longer you leave the bikini in the dye bath, the deeper the color you’ll achieve.

Turn off the stove, carefully lift the bikini from the dye bath with a pair of salad tongs and place it immediately into a plastic bucket or basin. Rinse the bikini under a cool tap until the water runs clear. Wring out the bikini to remove the excess water.

Remove the rubber bands. Allow the bikini to dry completely before wearing. The University of Tennessee Extension recommends laundering the newly-dyed creation in cold water separately for the first two or three times to avoid bleeding onto other clothes.


  • Wear rubber gloves and clothes you don’t mind ruining because the process of tie dyeing can get messy.