Black Tie Dye

3 black tie dye shirts and 1 pink short with black tie dye, all in different tie dye designs including diagonal striped tie dye, bat tie dye, crumple tie dye, and spiral tie dye with the title "black tie dye"

Use black tie dye to make dyed shirts and other clothing. Includes full step by step instructions to make 4 different designs using only black dye.

Table of Contents

I’ve been seeing a lot of single color tie dye clothes and while most are pretty easy, there is a bit of a trick to black tie dye since it can come out looking more like grey. So I’ve put together this tutorial with 4 different patterns that all look fantastic in just black!

I made both tie dye shirts and shorts for these, but you can make pretty much anything with just black dye including sweatshirts, socks, or even shoes!

And if you’re looking for how to tie dye a black shirt (or any dark colored item), you’ll want to see my post on the bleach tie dye method.

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn a commission.

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What Can You Dye with Black Tie Dye?

You can dye any type of cotton clothing or other items with black tie dye. Since black is such a dark color, you can dye white, light colors, or even dark colored clothing. The black dye will still show up!

I do recommend dyeing items that have at least 50% cotton using the methods below. If it has less, you’ll need to use different types of dyes (such as synthetic dyes like I used for my tie dye Crocs or acid dyes like I use when dyeing silk or wool).

These are the shirts I used and these are the shorts.

Basic Instructions to Use Black Tie Dye

You can choose whichever design you’d like, but for the basic instructions, I’m going to use the black diagonal striped tie dye pattern.

Don’t forget to pin it so you can easily come back to it later!

two tie dye shirts with the first a diagonal striped black tie dye shirt and the bottom a crumple dye shirt with the title "tie dye tutorial - black tie dye shirts, abcrafty.com"

Materials to Make a Black Tie Dye Shirt

  • Black Tie Dye (you can get just the black dye on Amazon or a kit that also has black dye and the soda ash such as this one)
  • Soda Ash – you can get it on Amazon if your dye or kit doesn’t come with any
  • White Cotton Shirt (this is the one I used)
  • Rubber Bands or Zip Ties (these are ones I have)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Paper Towels

Prepare the Shirt

The first thing you want to do is wash the shirt to make sure there is no material on it that would prevent the dye from setting. (This is the shirt I’m using)

Then leave it wet and fold, twist, or scrunch it however you would like. For this diagonal striped tie dye design, start by folding up one corner.

Then pinch the sides of the shirt, in line with the corner, and fold it back on itself.

Continue the process to create even diagonal folds.

Making multiple diagonal folds in a white t shirt at an angle

Repeat this all the way across the shirt. Be sure to keep the angle the same so that the stripes are even.

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white t shirt completely folded at an angle

Then place rubber bands or zip ties evenly across the folded shirt, every 2 inches or so.

Tip: I recommend using zip ties because they’re easier to put on and remove. These are the ones I have, which are super easy to use.

shirt folded with multiple black zip ties across it roughly 1 inch apart

Prepare the Soda Ash Mixture and Shirt for Dye

If your tie dye kit is a one-step tie dye kit such as the single color I recommend, you don’t need to do this section. Though I still recommend it to get the most vibrant color.

In a large container, mix 1 gallon of warm with water with 1 cup of soda ash. Stir it up until the soda ash is dissolved. Then soak your shirt for at least 20 minutes.

(You can see it’s soaking with the shorts since I did all of the black tie dye clothes at the same time)

white shirt and pink shirt tied up and and soaking in a bowl of water and soda ash

Prepare the Dye

Follow the instructions on your kit, but typically you want to fill the bottle to the line with warm water. Then shake until all of the dye is dissolved.

Dye the Shirt

Squeeze out the soda ash mixture from the shirt and cover the table with plastic wrap.

Place the shirt on top and put on some gloves.

Dye the entire shirt in the black dye. Make sure it’s fully saturated by pushing the bottle between the folds and pressing the dye in.

Note: The challenging part to using only black dye is not using enough dye because then it will show up as grey instead of black. So make sure you use enough dye!

squeezing black dye from a squirt bottle onto tied shirt

Wipe up the plastic with a paper towel and wrap it all up.

Leave it to set wrapped up for at least 6 hours. However, I recommend leaving it for at least 24 hours to get the strongest black color.

While it’s setting, make sure it doesn’t dry out. The moisture from being wrapped in the plastic helps the dye process.

black tie dye shirt freshly dyed and wrapped in plastic

After the time is up, rinse the shirt until the water runs clear. I highly recommend wearing gloves while rinsing since there may still be some dye that comes out.

Then run it through the washing machine with other tie dye clothes (just in case there’s any extra color bleeding).

Lastly, toss it in the dryer and your shirt is ready to wear!

If you make your own black tie dye items, I’d love to see them! Tag me on Instagram @ab.crafty!

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finished diagonal striped black tie dye shirt

Remember to pin it to save for later!

3 black tie dye shirts and 1 pink short with black tie dye, all in different tie dye designs including diagonal striped tie dye, bat tie dye, crumple tie dye, and spiral tie dye with the title "tie dye designs - black tie dye, abcrafty.com"

More Black Tie Dye Designs

Here are more designs you can make using just black dye. You an also see my full list of tie dye patterns and designs.

Click on the names or images to jump to the instructions for each pattern.

Crumple Dye

For the crumple tie dye method, you simply scrunch the shirt up while it’s laying flat on the table. Then wrap it randomly with rubber bands or zip ties.

scrunching a white t shirt
holding a plain white t shirt scrunched and wrapped in rubber bands

The result is a fun random pattern!

finished crumple dye black tie dye shirt

Tie Dye Bat

Click here to see the full instructions to make a bat tie dye shirt design.

But the short version, is you want to fold the shirt in half and draw half of a bat. To make it easy I’ve created a free printable template you can download (along with the templates to my other Halloween tie dye designs). Download it below or in the shop.

Scale it to the size you want and print it out to make it super easy to draw the design.

free printable tie dye template outlines of a bat, pumpkin, candy corn, and ghost with the title "halloween tie dye printable templates"

Download the Free
Halloween Tie Dye Templates

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After you draw the bat, sew along the design.

Then carefully pull the thread to make the folds in the shirt. Secure it with rubber bands or zip ties.

sewing along the bat outline on the white shirt
pulling on the threads to scrunch and fold the shirt along the bat design

Then use the crumple method or another method to tie the rest of the shirt. Then dye it with the black dye just as in the basic instructions.

finished black tie dye bat shirt

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Black Tie Dye Shorts

Click here to see the full instructions to make these tie dye shorts

For this offset spiral design, pinch the top corner and twist it tightly together. Then put 3 rubber bands evenly around it to secure it.

Instead of adding dye to the whole item, only add the black dye to every other section.

twisting the top corner of pink shorts with white seams
adding black tie dye to pink shorts wrapped in rubber bands in 3 different sections

These shorts are a great example of how to use black tie dye on a colored item. Using the lighter color really makes the black pop!

finished pink shorts with black tie dye in the shape of a spiral from the top corner

More Tie Dye Projects to Try

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finished diagonal striped black tie dye shirt

How to Use Black Tie Dye

Learn how to use black tie dye to get the richest color and make a diagonally striped tie dye shirt.
Yield 1 Black Tie Dye Shirt
Project Time 20 mins
Setting Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d 20 mins

Materials
  

  • 1 White Cotton Shirt
  • 1 Tie Dye Kit
  • 1 Cup Soda Ash
  • 1 Gallon Water
  • Zip Ties or Rubber Bands
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Paper Towels

Equipment

  • 1 Bucket or Plastic Bin

Instructions
 

Prepare the Shirt

  • Wet the shirt and squeeze out the excess water. Fold up the bottom corner
    1 White Cotton Shirt
  • Fold it back on itself, in line with the angle made by the corner.
  • Continue the process to create even diagonal folds.
    Making multiple diagonal folds in a white t shirt at an angle
  • Add zip ties across the shirt.
    Zip Ties or Rubber Bands
    shirt folded with multiple black zip ties across it roughly 1 inch apart

Prepare the Soda Ash Mixture and Shirt for Dye

  • Soak the shirt in a soda ash solution for at least 20 minutes. Mix 1 cup soda ash with 1 gallon of warm water.
    1 Cup Soda Ash, 1 Gallon Water
    white shirt and pink shirt tied up and and soaking in a bowl of water and soda ash

Mix the Black Dye

  • Prepare the black dye according to the instructions on the tie dye kit. Typically you fill the bottle to the line with warm water and then shake it until the dye dissolves.
    1 Tie Dye Kit

Dye the Shirt

  • Lay down plastic wrap on the table and place the shirt on top. Dye the entire shirt in the black dye. Make sure it’s fully saturated by pushing the bottle between the folds and pressing the dye in.
    The most important part of using black dye is using enough. Otherwise, it will turn out grey.
    Plastic Wrap
    squeezing black dye from a squirt bottle onto tied shirt

Finish the Shirt

  • Clean the plastic wrap with a paper towel and wrap the shirt. Leave to set for 24 hours.
    Paper Towels
    black tie dye shirt freshly dyed and wrapped in plastic
  • Rinse until the water runs clear and then run it through the wash. Then your black tie dye shirt is ready to wear!
    finished diagonal striped black tie dye shirt
Keyword Black, Clothing, Shirt, Tie Dye, Tie Dye Design, Tie Dye Kit

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