DIY Bullseye Tie-dye T-shirts for all the Cousins

I was compensated for this post as part of a campaign by Tulip and Blueprint Social.

DIY Bullseye Tie-dye shirts

I have a few tie-dyeing experiences under my belt. I remember most all of them as involving giant messy vats of dye and results of….questionable beauty. But I have a lingering affection for tie-dye that maybe dates to a special class on the sixties that I took in 8th grade? Yeah, I don’t know where it came from, but, at any rate, I was more than ready to give tie-dyeing another go when I got a chance to participate in Tulip’s Tie Dye Your Summer campaign. This was back before our big road trip, and I thought that matching t-shirts for all the cousins to wear on our trip would be the perfect project. Projects that lead to adorable photo opportunities are generally my favorite.

We received a big box full of Tulip’s One-step Tie Dye supplies:


I did some cross country communication with my sister-in-law to get colors hammered out, and we ended up with some green, some blue, and one purple shirt. We opted for a simple, one-color bullseye design to appease the jaded teenager who might refuse to wear a t-shirt that was too….fun.

Everything we needed was included in the kit: dye, rubber bands, plastic gloves….the bigger kit even included a plastic cover for the table (I put a canvas drop cloth down, too, since we were using a wooden table and I wanted some extra protection). And no giant vats of dye! With the one step kits, you just add warm water to the plastic squeeze bottles, shake them up, and start dyeing. The kids loved it; even the jaded big kid had fun. I was sort of dreading doing this with the kids and the potential mess, but it was really no big deal. I was the only one who wound up with purple hands for a few days, in fact, and only because I kept pulling my gloves off to take pictures.

To make the bullseye design:

1. Start with damp t-shirts (I prewashed mine and then just used them damp out of the washer)

2. Lift up and twist the middle of the t-shirt and put your first rubber band an inch or two down (depending on the size of your t-shirt and how far apart you want your circles). Make sure your rubber bands are as tight as you can get them! Also, for the first batch I used just one rubber band for each ring, but I put two close together on the next batch (the blue shirts), and I liked the way that turned out a little better.


3. Keep going until you have as many sections as you want. We did three:


4. Squeeze the dye all over the shirt! This part is the most fun.

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5. Wrap dyed shirt in plastic (we used big ziploc bags) and let it sit for 6-8 hours. The green and purple shirts were more on the six hour end of things, and they turned out lovely, but it seemed like we got a darker color waiting the full eight hours with the blue (which makes sense, of course).


6. Rinse in warm water until the water runs clear. This takes a long time. I mean, not FOREVER or anything. But several minutes. Patience. Soon you will see your completed t-shirt!


Then take your rubber bands off and…..done!

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(That one’s Abe’s, even though Gus is holding it up). The Tulip dye is permanent and doesn’t fade in the wash….I washed these twice before I let the kids wear them and I’ve washed them a couple more times since, and they’re holding up great.

We picked National Zoo day as tie-dye wearing day, and the kids looked great. There was no chance of losing our group in the crowd or of them being abducted by the pandas! (just kidding about the pandas. It’s the lemurs you really have to watch our for).

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Now Gus asks me on a nearly daily basis, “when are we going to make more tie-dye t-shirts?!” He has his eye on a project with LOTS of colors for next time, I think.


You can visit Tulip’s I Love to Create on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and their blog for more ideas, videos, and tutorials.

And check out more Tie Dye Your Summer projects from other bloggers here:


DIY Bullseye Tie-dye T-shirts for all the Cousins — 17 Comments

  1. You rock…thanks for sharing this one as it is on our summer bucket list! And your kiddos look so adorable in them! Happy week! Nicole xo

    • Cassie’s making plans for a big tie dye party at my house this weekend, I hear, so maybe you can bring those days back 😉

    • My sister-in-law kept hinting that I should make shirts for EVERYONE for the trip, but that would have been something like 14 t-shirts, and that just wasn’t happening!

  2. Pingback: 47 Cool Tie Dye Shirt Patterns | Guide Patterns

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