Tie Dye Socks

Learn how to tie dye socks at home to make your own unique clothing. Learn different tie dye sock patterns to use for single colored, two-toned, and rainbow tie dye socks.

5 piles of tie dyed socks in blue, red and blue, and rainbow with the title of tie dye socks
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I absolutely love to tie dye socks! They’re small so they’re super quick and easy to dye and you can test out all sorts of different patterns and designs.

The funny thing about tie dye is I actually never wear anything I dye. Classic me, I love making it, but don’t actually use it. However, for tie dye socks, I’m more likely to wear them since they get covered up by shoes. Plus when they’re on my feet without socks, I can actually look at them and appreciate them vs a tie dye sweatshirt or tie dye shirt.

Follow the steps below for the basic steps to tie dye your own socks. I’ve also included the instructions for how I made all the different tie dye sock patterns.

And to dye colored socks, check out bleach tie dye.

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

Table of Contents

Which Socks are Best to Tie Dye?

You want to use plain white socks. The best material for dyeing would be 100% cotton, but that can often be rare to find for socks. Therefore look for socks that have at least 50% cotton. This is because polyester and other synthetic materials don’t absorb the dye from tie dye kits very well. You would need to use a specific type of dye synthetic fabric.

For shape, any shapes work! So pick your favorite you’d like to dye. I’m personally a big fan of ankle socks so those are the ones I used.

To make it easy, below are some socks from Amazon in different shapes that have a high percent of cotton.

pile of single tie dye socks in different colors with the title tie-dye socks and abcrafty.com

Materials to Tie Dye Socks

  • White Cotton Socks (Amazon)
  • Tie Dye Kit or Tie-Dye Dye and Soda Ash (I used the Jacquard Tie Dye Kit that has both soda ash and tie-dye dye, which you can get on AmazonMichael’s, or Blick Art Materials)
  • Rubber Bands
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Latex Gloves
  • Paper Towels

How to Tie Dye Socks

Preparing the Socks for Dyeing

Start with plain white socks. You want to first wash them to make sure there is no material on them that would prevent the dye from setting.

I used old socks so they had already been washed several times.

holding two white socks over a plastic bin

Soak them in water. If you needed to wash them, then simply take them out of the washer wet.

The reason you want them wet is because they’ll be easier to shape and tie. It will also allow the patterns to show up better.

pushing white socks into a plastic bin with water

Now it’s time to fold, scrunch, and twist.

It’s up to you how you want to do it. There are a bunch of different tie dye patterns you can make on socks and they all depend on how you scrunch them.

Below are a bunch of different patterns and how I made each one, but we’ll use one as an example.

holding a white sock in the middle that has been folded repeatedly longways

Then wrap it up with rubber bands.

Where you place the rubber bands will also create part of the pattern.

holding a white sock that's been folded long ways and wrapped in multiple rubber bands

Repeat the process for the other sock so that you have two matching socks.

holding a two white socks that have been folded long ways and wrapped in multiple rubber bands

Prepare the Soda Ash Mixture and Socks for Tie Dye

If your tie dye kit is a one-step tie dye kit such as Tulip One Step Tie Dye Kits, you don’t need to do this section.

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 disolved.

pouring soda ash into a clear plastic tub of water

Then soak the tied up socks in the soda ash mixture for at least 20 minutes.

You can see I went a bit tie dye crazy and tied up a whole bunch of pairs of soaks and then the bigger items are a sweatshirt and t-shirt. Here’s how the tie-dye sweatshirt turned out.

Tip: Flip the socks over midway through and squish them to make sure the mixture really soaks in.

multiple pieces of white clothing wrapped in rubber bands and soaking in water and soda ash in a plastic bin

Mix the Dye from the Tie Dye Kit

Follow the instructions on the kit, but typically they want you to add warm water up to a line and shake. Make sure the dye powder is completely dissolved.

Tip: Wear gloves when mixing the dyes just in case they leak.

pouring water into a bottle of yellow dye next to bottles of red and blue dye
holding bottles of red, yellow, and blue tie dye

Add Dye to the Socks

Now for the fun part – dyeing the socks!

Start by placing a piece of plastic wrap on the table.

placing plastic wrap onto a white table

Place your socks on top and then start with one color at a time. Be sure to dye both sides and try to get the dye between the folds. You really want to soak it with dye, but not too much so that it’s dripping.

Tip: Dye both socks at the same time next to each other so you can keep them the same.

For this example, I show you how to make the blue and red tie dye socks. I first folded them like an accordion from toe to heel.

squeezing blue dye out of a plastic bottle onto

Then if you want to use another color, add it next to it.

Keep in mind, if you have two colors touching, they will mix together. So in this case they mix together to make purple.

squeezing red dye onto the top of socks wrapped in rubber bands.

You can also push on the socks to help spread the dye or mix the colors together.

pushing on the red section of blue and red tie dye socks while wearing rubber gloves

Set the Dye on the Socks

After you’ve dyed the socks, wrap them in the plastic wrap and leave them to set for a minimum of 8 hours. I just leave them for 24 hours to make sure they really absorb the dye.

Wrapping it in plastic wrap helps keep the socks wet since the moisture is necessary for the dyes to set.

wrapping plastic around dyed articles of clothing
holding blue and red tie dye socks wrapped in plastic wrap

Rinse the Dye Off the Tie Dye Socks

After the dye has set, you need to rinse off all the extra dye. Use warm water and run the sock under the stream while it’s still tied together.

Wear gloves for this and be careful not to splash the water – the dye can still stain other things.

rinsing the red section of a tie dye sock under water with the red dye bleeding into the sink

Once the water is less colorful, you can take off the rubber bands. I like to save them, but you can also cut them off if that’s easier.

Continue to rinse the socks until the water runs clear.

unwrapped red and blue tie dye sock under a sink of running water with the water running clear

Then wash them in the washing machine. Wash them with other tie dyed socks or other tie dyed clothes just in case there’s a bit of dye that didn’t wash out.

Run them through the dryer and then your tie dye socks are ready to wear!

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two blue and red tie dye socks with the blue on bottom and red on top

Here’s the other side of one of these.

holding a blue and red tie dye sock

Tie Dye Sock Patterns

And here are all of the tie dye socks I made so you can see all the different style and colors. Hopefully these will inspire you to make your own tie dye socks! If you do, be sure to tag me on Instagram @ab.crafty.

Here are the instructions to make each of these tie dye sock patterns:

five pairs of tie dye socks in different colors, including blue, red and blue, and rainbow
pile of tie dye socks in different colors

Blue Tie Dye Socks

This is an easy and simple way to make a solid color tie dye sock with a fun random tie dye pattern.

holding two blue tie dye socks

Simply scrunch the socks up and tie the rubber bands around them randomly just to make sure it’s all held together.

white socks bundled up and wrapped randomly with rubber bands

Then cover them completely in blue dye.

Because it’s just one color these are super quick and easy to make.

adding blue dye from a squeeze bottle onto crumbled socks wrapped with rubber bands

Just make sure to squeeze the dye into the socks.

squishing a dyed blue sock while wearing rubber gloves

Then wrap them up together to set.

holding blue tie dye socks wrapped in plastic wrap while wearing rubber gloves

Rainbow Striped Tie Dye Socks

These are definitely may favorite! I love how vibrant they are and how the dyes beautifully blended together to make the gorgeous rainbow pattern.

holding two striped rainbow tie dye socks

Fold the socks up long ways and add the rubber bands in sections an inch or two apart.

Then start with the second section and add yellow dye.

adding yellow dye to the second section of white socks wrapped in rubber bands

Then skip to sections and yellow dye to the next.

If you have even more segments than I have, add yellow dye to every 3rd section.

two white socks wrapped in rubber bands with two segments colored in yellow dye

Then add red dye to the sections to the left of the yellow ones.

adding red dye to the segments next to the yellow segments

Then add blue dye to the remaining sections.

Tip: Squeeze close to the rubber bands to make sure the colors blend together slightly. This is what helps create the rainbow tie dye pattern.

squishing a blue section of a rainbow tie dye sock while wearing a rubber glove

Wrap each sock by rolling it in the plastic wrap and folding over the ends.

rolling a dyed rainbow tie dye sock with plastic wrap

Since there are so many colors in these rainbow tie dye socks, you want to wrap them up separately so the colors don’t bleed in ways you don’t want.

holding two long rainbow tie dye socks wrapped in plastic wrap

Tip: If you want the socks to be even more identical, make sure the rubber bands are spaced equally for both. You can see with mine, I wasn’t as perfect and so the stripes are slightly off.

I don’t mind it though, since to me that’s part of the fun of tie dye – you don’t always know how it’s going to turn out!

two rainbow striped tie dye socks

Spiral Tie Dye Socks

Yes, you can even get the classic spiral tie dye look on socks! They’re a little more subtle than doing it on a t-shirt or sweatshirt, but you can see the center of the spiral on this sock.

pointing at the middle of a spiral on a spiral tie dye sock

Then from the sides they simply have a fun colorful tie dye pattern.

holding two multi-colored tie dye socks with rainbow colors

To make them, decide where you want the spiral to start – I flattened them so the top of the sock was on top.

Then pinch from the center and twist. Keep twisting until it’s a tight spiral, then wrap perpendicular rubber bands around them.

white socks in a spiral with two perpendicular rubber bands

Add yellow dye to one section. Be sure to flip it over to add dye to the other side.

adding yellow dye from a squeeze bottle into one segment of wrapped up white fabric

Then add red to the next section.

adding red dye next to yellow dye

Then blue to the other side.

I left one section blank so that there was more white space, but you could also fill that in with a little more blue and red. Keep in mind, if you do, the blue and red will mix to make purple.

adding blue dye from a squeeze bottle next to yellow

You can either wrap them separately or arrange them so that the same colors are touching. As you can see, I had the white spaces and then the red touching so that colors wouldn’t mix where I didn’t want them.

lifting plastic wrap over tie dye socks that have fresh dye on them

That extra section of white gives the socks a bit more white in the finished pattern.

holding a multi colored tie dye sock

Faded Rainbow Tie Dye Socks

These tie dye socks are fun and unique since they fade from super vibrant to almost compltely white.

rainbow tie dye socks with more vibrant colors at the toe that fade to more white at the heel

Start by folding the socks in an accordion fold longways.

adding multiple folds to a white sock

Then twist it into a spiral and add perpendicular rubber bands.

wrapping a white sock into a spiral
white socks in a spiral with two perpendicular rubber bands

Then similar to the spiral socks, add yellow, red, and blue to each section.

Squish the sections so the dye goes in and the colors blend slightly.

adding blue dye to a section of wrapped up socks to finish the rainbow tie dye socks

Tip: Use a paper towel to wipe up the dye between colors so the dye doesn’t go anywhere you don’t want it to.

using a paper towel to wipe up dye from the plastic wrap while holding rainbow tie dye sock

Then wrap each sock individually so the colors don’t mix across the socks.

holding a plastic wrapped tie dye sock that's just been dyed

Because less dye gets to the middle of the spiral, you get the faded look!

holding a rainbow tie dye sock with more vibrant colors at the toe that fade to more white at the heel

More Tie Dye Crafts to Try

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pile of single tie dye socks in different colors with the title tie-dye socks and abcrafty.com

Tie Die Socks

Learn how to tie dye socks at home to make your own unique clothing. Learn different tie dye sock patterns to use for single colored, two-toned, and rainbow tie dye socks.
Project Time 30 mins
Setting Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d 30 mins

Materials
  

  • White Cotton Socks
  • Tie Dye Kit or Tie-Dye Dye and Soda Ash
  • Water
  • Rubber Bands
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Latex Gloves

Equipment

  • Bucket or Plastic Bin

Instructions
 

Prepare the Socks for Dyeing

  • Soak them in water
    Water
    pushing white socks into a plastic bin with water
  • Fold, scrunch, and twist the socks however you would like.
    There are a bunch of different tie dye patterns you can make on socks and they all depend on how you scrunch them.
    White Cotton Socks
    holding a white sock in the middle that has been folded repeatedly longways
  • Wrap with rubber bands and repeat for the other sock
    Rubber Bands
    holding a white sock that's been folded long ways and wrapped in multiple rubber bands

Prepare the Soda Ash Mixture and Socks for Tie Dye

  • If your tie dye kit is a one step tie dye kit such as Tulip One Step Tie Dye Kits, you don’t need to do this section.
    However if your kit uses soda ash, mix 1 cup of soda ash with 1 gallon of warm water. Mix until the soda ash dissolves.
    Tie Dye Kit or Tie-Dye Dye and Soda Ash
    pouring soda ash into a clear plastic tub of water
  • Place the wrapped socks into the soda ash mixture and soak for at least 20 minutes.
    multiple pieces of white clothing wrapped in rubber bands and soaking in water and soda ash in a plastic bin

Mix the Dyes

  • Follow the instructions on the kit, but typically they want you to add warm water up to a line and shake. Make sure the dye powder is completely dissolved.
    Tie Dye Kit or Tie-Dye Dye and Soda Ash
    pouring water into a bottle of yellow dye next to bottles of red and blue dye

Add Dye to the Socks

  • Place a piece of plastic wrap on the table.
    Plastic Wrap
    placing plastic wrap onto a white table
  • Place your socks on top and then start with one color at a time. Be sure to dye both sides and try to get the dye between the folds. You really want to soak it with dye, but not too much so that it’s dripping.
    Latex Gloves
    squeezing blue dye out of a plastic bottle onto
  • If you want to use another color, add it next to it.
    squeezing red dye onto the top of socks wrapped in rubber bands.
  • Push on the socks to help spread the dye or mix the colors together.
    pushing on the red section of blue and red tie dye socks while wearing rubber gloves
  • Wrap the tie dye socks in the plastic wrap and leave them to set for a minimum of 8 hours.
    holding blue and red tie dye socks wrapped in plastic wrap

Wash the Dyed Socks

  • Use warm water and run the sock under the stream while it’s still tied together.
    rinsing the red section of a tie dye sock under water with the red dye bleeding into the sink
  • Once the water is less colorful, you can take off the rubber bands. I like to save them, but you can also cut them off if that’s easier.
    unwrapped red and blue tie dye sock under a sink of running water with the water running clear
  • Then wash them in the washing machine. Wash them with other tie dyed socks or other tie dyed clothes just in case there’s a bit of dye that didn’t wash out.
    two blue and red tie dye socks with the blue on bottom and red on top
Keyword Clothing, Socks, Tie Dye, Tie Dye Kit

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