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How To Tie Dye Polyester? Guide to Do It Yourself

How To Tie Dye Polyester

Tie-dye is a fun craft that is easy to do. It’s a great way to express your creativity and get creative with your wardrobe. It will also help you save some money on buying new shirts. That is why you might be tempted to tie dye polyester.

Polyester is one of the most durable fabrics in the world. This fabric doesn’t fray or unravel, and it’s easy to clean. It’s also a versatile fabric that can be cut into pieces, sewn together, or used for all sorts of other projects.

But what if you wanted to use polyester in something different? Say, tie-dyeing it. Polyester shirts are cheap, versatile, and durable. However, they can be challenging to dye just like synthetic fabrics. For this reason, you might think twice before trying to tie-dye your polyester shirt.

What Is Tie-Dye?

What Is Tie-Dye

Tie-dye is a technique for achieving different colors and patterns in textile fabric by using dyes. It is substantially different from other techniques, such as batik or different types of knots macrame, which are achieved by weaving yarns. I’ve had a knack for weaving ever since I bought the best rigid heddle loom of all time a few months back!

It is a popular method of creating patterns on fabric. The process typically creates vibrant, bold colors that are typically associated with youth culture. It typically uses heat to cause the dyes to penetrate the fabric, disperse dye, creating different colors dyeing polyester

Can You Tie Dye Polyester?

Can You Tie Dye Polyester

Tie-dye is a fun craft that is easy to do. It’s coming back in style! It’s a great way to express your creativity and get creative with your wardrobe. You can tie-dye a polyester fabric, but it’s a hassle with all the time and effort you have to put in.

However, if you’re not afraid of a little time and effort, there is a solution – dye the outside of your shirt with the inside out! Alternatively, You can use a dye kit to create an amazing pattern on a polyester shirt in just minutes. We have use this Tie Dye Kit from Amazon in the past and it was great, it has 32 colors and supplies you need!

What About 100% Polyester?

You should use polyester blends instead. That is because 100% polyester material is a synthetic fiber and does not have properties that mimic those of natural fibers. Polyester might be cheaper than natural materials, but it’s worth spending more to see the difference in quality that natural materials offer.

Polyester-cotton blends are perfect for the dying processes. They provide softness and movement in the fibers, which give them better qualities than other fabrics that disperse dye.

You can also work with linen and polyester blends. Linen is a natural fiber that comes from the flax plant and tends to be light in color. Polyester fabric, on the other hand, is a man-made synthetic fabric that is used in many fabrics such as fleece.

The problem with fabrics that are primarily spandex is that they don’t handle dying well. This is because they require high temps to disperse dye.

How To Tie Dye Polyester Step By Step Guide

How To Tie Dye Polyester step by step guide

To achieve a cool, faded look, you need to use a combination of methods.

That includes soaking the fabric in water for an extended time or applying commercially available P.D.A (powder dye) over the fabric before applying the tie-dyeing process. Like this one on Amazon.

There are many ways to dye your fabric, but this is the easiest and safest way to tie-dye your clothing. Follow these steps for a 100% polyester fabric that comes out with bright vibrant colors.

Step 1: Pre-Wash

Before you start this process, soak your items in water or prewash them with detergent.

You should pre-wash your fabric before you tie-dye it. This ensures the polyester fibers will be a good dye carrier and will not run. It won’t be ruined by a wash and dry cycle. You don’t need to dry it afterward either.

You will want to start dyeing the item with the most absorbent fabrics first, with less absorbent fabrics following afterward.

Step 2: Choosing The Right Dye

You need to use dispersed dyes to dye man-made fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acetate. They provide a water-based solution that reacts with the colorant, and it is usually used in high-volume immersion dyeing settings. These can be dissolved in warm water.

Some fabric dyes can be only found in powder or liquids, but others can be found in both forms. They can also be mixed to create additional dye tones.

Follow the instructions on the package to make sure you’ll have a great experience with your purchased disperse dyes. Every dyeing product is different for how much dye you will need.

To dye polyester, be sure to use hot water, as the heating will ensure the faster dissipation of any volatile gas & natural substances.

Step 3: Tying

Tying your dye project with rubber band or string is a great way to make your clothes more colorful and stylish. It is a pretty straightforward process that needs to be done before the dyeing process. What you need to do is tie a knot around the thread and pull it tight. The trick to tying dye polyester is ensuring that the knot takes in any excess dye.

One way to ensure this is by using your index finger as a guide, pressing it against the knot before pulling on the thread with your other fingers. This will create an indentation in which excess dye can be trapped before you tie off the knot.

If you don’t want to use your index finger, just secure one side of the loop with one hand and quickly wrap around with the other hand so that it loops around behind your fingers before tying it off tight. If you don’t want to use string, rubber bands work great here as well.

Step 4: Soaking

Natural materials like cotton & wool might hold up longer in harsh conditions, but they can’t give you the quality and durability needed for long-term use. Luckily synthetic materials like polyester last a long time without degrading while color soak.

When you pull out the clothing or material, they may not look dark enough. It usually takes time for them to produce their best color, so you mustn’t stop. Tie-dye normally dries lighter than it looks when removed from the pot, so just be patience and wait for the fabric to darken.

If your fabric is wet, take your time and test the fabric more slowly. It’s usually best to work in 10-15 minutes intervals to start. Then, re-test the saturation before moving on.

Step 5: Bringing Out More Color

Polyester fabric doesn’t often absorb dye as well as other types of fabrics but is commonly used for clothing due to its durability.

It may not be as dark or vibrant when compared to natural cloth, but it can still protect against spills or stains that would happen in regular fabric.

Additives like white vinegar and salt can be used at the end of tie-dyeing to help the dye set as efficiently as possible and act like a color intensifier.

When you’re planning your designs, it’s helpful to test swatches of the different fabrics you’re considering. There is often more than one possible colorfastness solution for each fabric types, so testing is necessary to find the right combination.

When your material looks dark enough, remove and rinse thoroughly at the end of the process to remove any excess dye.

Step 6: Finishing Up

Clean the fabric in cold water to remove any dirt. Now, remove the tie carefully. I prefer to use scissors instead of cutting the string or untwisting rubber bands by hand, it’s so much easier to cut them, just mind the fabric.

The fabric should now be spread out on a covered workspace and is ready for drying. If you prefer, you can now wash the fabric again. The wrinkles may remain after these steps. In this case, you should iron the garment after it has dried completely. We also get the question if you can sub-laminate on rayon, read our article for tips.

Washing And Caring Tie-Dyed Polyester

Washing And Caring Tie-Dyed Polyester

Continual washing and wearing can lead to fading in tie-dyed polyester fabrics. Aside from playing with the best diamond painting kits, this is probably my favorite craft as of late. The best way to preserve these items is to use a gentle detergent and hand wash them, but that may not be feasible every time.

Also, be mindful about mixing tie-dyed fabrics with materials that may take on any dye that has come off during the washing cycle, like white items. It is a good idea to wash dyed garments separately and at low temperatures to prevent this. For tips on washing multiple tie-dyed shirts together, read here.

Which Fabric Is Best For Tie-Dye?

When it comes to buying the best fabrics to tie dye, most people tend to go with the cheapest type of fabric they can find. But this is actually not a good idea because cheap materials are generally less durable and do not hold up well in our world today, of consent washing and drying. We also get questions on if you can tie dye a black shirts, read our guide for steps!

Many different fabrics can be used for tie-dyes such as cotton, silk, linen, and wool. There’s also a variety of methods and materials for tie-dye. Most fabrics will work to make tie-dye shirts, but cotton is the best fabric because it will hold the dye better and keep its color well.


Can you tie dye on polyester?

Polyester can be tie dyed, but it does not absorb color nearly as well as cotton. Because of this, creating vibrant tie dye color combos is nearly impossible on polyester. If you want to give it a try, you will need to use dispersible dyes and boiling water.

Can you Sharpie tie dye polyester?

Can You Tie-Dye Polyester? Polyester does not tie-dye as easily as natural fabrics such as cotton knit. You can’t easily use sharpies and rubbing alcohol to spread fun tie-dye patterns over polyester material as you can with cotton.

Can you tie dye 95% polyester and 5% spandex?

Spandex does not hold up to heat well, so if you usually use disperse dyes on polyester, you’re correct to be concerned. 5% won’t make any difference in the final color but losing the elasticity would definitely affect the fit!

Final Words

The polyester fabric is difficult to dye which makes it hard to change colors during the process. It also lacks the softness that other fabrics offer.

Because of these factors, polyester is typically made into clothing such as suits or jackets despite its disadvantages. That being said, you should follow the steps mentioned here if you want to successfully tie dye polyester.

Up Next: Get a good quality fabric glue for patches.

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