Tie-dye patterns are a fun, colorful way to liven up a plain white shirt. Not only is tie-dyeing a fulfilling hobby, but your efforts also produce a cool, retro-looking T-shirt you can show off to the world!
As with all things, the better you get at it, the more fun tie-dye shirt-making becomes. For those who love a challenge, leveling up your technique will unlock an infinite number of patterns you can create, which is limited only by your imagination.
If you’ve mastered the easiest tie-dye patterns and are looking for something a little more advanced to work on, we’ve gathered a bunch of challenging patterns to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Galaxy Tie-Dye
Are you interested in making a tie-dye pattern that’s out of this world? If so, check out this gorgeous galaxy tie-dye shirt. It’s an interesting twist on spiral-based tie-dye projects and the rainbow spiral in particular.
To learn how to make this Galaxy Tie-Dye shirt, head over to Tie Dye Your Summer.
Incorporating marbles into your tie-dye project creates an interesting pattern reminiscent of fireworks, making them a perfect summertime project. You’ll need actual marbles to pull the design off, which could prove challenging if you’re used to tie-dyeing without additional props.
This pattern is pretty fun to do on tank tops and pillows. Visit Homemade Gift Guru for a guide on how to create this Marble pattern.
3. Rainbow Guitar
Rainbows make anything look happy, so why not spread some cheer with this rainbow guitar pattern? If you haven’t already, you’re going to be bringing out your inner artist by drawing the guitar at the center of this pattern before adding the dyes. That’s one of the things that’ll make this project fun and challenging.
Head over to Chandy to learn how to get started with this Rainbow Guitar tie-dye shirt.
4. Mirror Ripple
Do you remember making stones skip over a large body of water when you were younger? Wasn’t that so much fun? Likewise, ripples on a tie-dye shirt bring a disturbed watery surface to mind, which can have a nostalgic effect depending on who you ask.
Therefore, this mirror ripple tie-dye shirt is a challenging way to up your tie-dye game. And when passersby admire the result, they’ll find themselves wishing to be young again without knowing why.
Try out this Mirror Ripple pattern by visiting Chandye for the low-down on how to get started.
5. Yin-Yang Pattern
For a challenging tie-dye project with an oriental twist, you could try making a yin-yang pattern. T-shirts that sport this renowned symbol of complementary opposites have a sense of mystery and make great conversation starters. You’ve got the option of using two color dyes or combining one color dye for one side while leaving the other white.
Check out Guide Patterns for this impressive Yin-Yang design.
6. Classic Spiral Tie-Dye T-shirt
Spirals can be mesmerizing, and spiral tie-dye designs share that same quality. So, if you’re looking for an arresting tie-dye shirt, this one would be your best bet.
You can achieve this design by twirling the shirt around your finger until it looks like a cinnamon roll before holding the swirling clump of cloth together with rubber bands. Then, give it a splash of color using generous spurts from the squeeze bottles.
You’ll find a more thorough explanation of how to achieve this Classic Spiral pattern at Dharma Trading.
7. Reverse Tie-Dye
You’re probably used to starting a tie-dye project with a plain white T-shirt. But why not switch things by going with a black shirt instead? You’ll push your skills to the limit if you try making reverse tie-dye patterns.
Like most tie-dye shirts, you’ll still end up with something that features vivid hues. However, you’ll mostly be removing color from the shirt too. But you’ll end up with a cool shirt that has a colorful pattern.
If you’d like to learn the Reverse Tie-Dye Technique, check out Tie Dye Your Summer.
8. Blue and White Spiral
This blue and white spiral design is another way to look cool during the summertime; the color scheme makes it look like a blizzard in the North Pole. You’ll be doing interesting things with spirals to make this pattern, so it’s worth trying out.
Get started by heading over to Flood Print for a step-by-step guide on how to make this Blue and White Spiral pattern.
9. Bleach Pen Technique
Using the bleach pen technique involves removing color as opposed to adding it. You take a bleach pen and draw designs on a colored shirt. This removes the color on the parts where the pen touches. Then, you fill the spaces in with dye, and voila, you have an interesting tie-dye design!
What makes this project advanced is the fact that you have to be careful when drawing because bleach can eat through the thin fabric, creating holes.
Check out the tutorial at Crafty Chica to learn how to get this Bleach Pen Technique right.
10. Half Mandala
You can improve your tie-dye skills while tapping into your higher power with this Half Mandala design. Mandala T-shirts are pretty cool, so this is a worthy project to jump into when improving your dying technique.
Learn how to create this Half Mandala shirt at Tie Dye Sweatshirt.
11. The Symmetrical Heart
Where there are tie-dye shirt DIY projects, there will probably be at least one heart design, and The Symmetrical Heart is our heart design for this list. The tie-dye techniques used to create this pattern form the basis for creating loads of other complicated designs where shapes are used prominently.
You’ll improve your tie-dying skills if you try your hands at this one.
Max Nash breaks down how to create The Symmetrical Heart, so head over there to learn how to do it.
12. Rainbow Arrow
Whether used in a spiral design or as arrows, a rainbow tie-dye shirt is an attention-grabber. The heavy use of saturated colors is what gets attention, as are the diagonal lines pointing to the right of the shirt.
You’ll be doing a lot of folding to achieve this pattern, so it’s pretty great for learning new tie-dye folding techniques.
Check out Flood Print for the step-by-step guide on how to make a Rainbow Arrow tie-dye shirt.
13. Starfire Explosion Bullseye
For a challenging tie-dye project that combines a bullseye design with primary colors, you could try to make this tie-dye pattern. This pattern hits the mark in terms of difficulty, so you’ll be improving your skills while creating something beautiful and fun.
Head over to FaveCrafts to learn how to achieve this Starfire Explosion Bullseye pattern.
14. Sun Burst
Sunbursts are the epitome of summertime tie-dye shirts. They’re also a great way to give yourself a challenging tie-dying project. You’ll enjoy pinching the fabric in various places and pulling it out about an inch or two upwards.
To get started on this Sun Burst design, head over to Tie Dye Your Summer for the step-by-step tutorial.
15. Crawling Ombre
This tie-dye technique involves placing an upside-down shirt in a bucket of dye and letting the dye “crawl up” the shirt. It’s a pretty wild idea, to say the least! Better yet, the final result is a decent tie-dye shirt.
Visit Crafty Chica to learn more about the Crawling Ombre technique.
To make this mouth-watering popcorn-style tie-dye shirt, you’ll be using the Shibori technique, which is a Japanese technique that involves folding, twisting, and binding the fabric then dyeing it. It’s a pretty challenging pattern to pull off and will take some time, but the result is worth it.
Visit Crafty Chica to learn how to make this Popcorn pattern.
17. Winter Wonder
You’re definitely going to have your hands full when creating tie-dye shirts like this one, as you’ll be using some tie-dye techniques you’re not used to. You’ll also end up with a cool winter pattern!
To get started, head over to Chandye for a step-by-step guide on how to create these cool Winter Wonder tie-dye shirts.
18. Ocean Waves
Who doesn’t love the ocean? Before humans invented planes and the internet, it was (and still is) what connected the world. But more than anything, the ocean is great because the sight of ocean waves has a calming effect.
Creating a tie-dye shirt that represents the natural world isn’t the easiest endeavor, so get ready to kick your tie-dye technique up a notch with this tie-dye shirt.
Visit Flood Print for a tutorial on how to achieve this Ocean Waves pattern.
19. Fish Scales
Continuing with the ocean-themed tie-dye shirts, you can also try your hands at making a fish scale-themed tie-dye shirt. To get it right, you’ll need a steady hand to create this pattern, as there will be some drawing and pleating involved.
Check out the video tutorial at Crafty Chica to create this Fish Scales design.
20. 5-Pointed Star
For a deceptively simple tie-dye shirt that uses advanced tie-dyeing techniques, try this 5-pointed star. It’s a great way to advance your tie-dying skills while also creating something that’ll liven up a T-shirt. At the very least, you’ll put a twinkle in peoples’ eyes.
To learn how to achieve this 5-Pointed Star design, visit Groovy Toad.
A blotchy design creates a painterly feel, as though the shirt was a canvas that’s been lashed indiscriminately with different colors of paint. In other words, it’s cool and can be very pleasing to the eye. To get the effect, use a color scheme of neutral colors as opposed to brighter hues.
Head over to Tie Dye Your Summer for tutorials on how to get this artistic Crumple tie-dye look.
22. Diagonal Wig-Wag
For a striking tie-dye shirt that’ll have you using some advanced folding techniques, try your hands at this Wig-Wag. You’ll be able to achieve the look of shimmering strokes that appear to “move” diagonally across the shirt.
You can learn how to make this gorgeous Diagonal Wig-Wag pattern and other unique tie-dye patterns like it by heading over to Chandye.
Become a part of the Rasta movement by trying your hands at a Rastaman tie-dye shirt. Tie-dye patterns like this follow the familiar motions of pinch, twist, and rubber band tie. However, getting the different colors in this project just right may be a little challenging.
To learn more about Rastaman tie-dyeing, check out the tutorials FaveCrafts has to offer.
24. Diamond Pattern
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, or so the saying goes! And admittedly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something more eye-catching than the huge, shiny rock on a newly-engaged finger. Well, the different colors on this diamond tie-dye shirt look like they’ll make a good substitute.
For an attention-grabbing tie-dye shirt that’ll level up your game with tie-dye designs, try your hands at this diamond tie-dye technique.
Visit Tie Dye Your Summer to learn how to achieve this Diamond tie-dye project step-by-step.
25. Radiant Arc Drama
You can level up your stripe pattern design skills by trying this Radiant Arc Drama tie-dye shirt. Tie-dye DIY projects like this one really push your skills because of how much folding is needed to arrive at the final result.
Head over to Max Nash for the step-by-step tutorial on how to create the Radiant Arc Drama pattern.
26. Spider Tie-Dye
Though spiders creep most people out, there’s nothing creepy about this colorful spider tie-dye shirt. This project is another take on the spiral technique, and you’ll use a lot of bright colors in it. In a way, it calls to mind rainbow tie-dye, with all the bright colors providing all the eye candy our eight-legged friends could only hope to.
Check out Tie Dye Your Summer to learn how to create a Spider tie-dye shirt.
27. Scribble Scrabble Shirt
For a playful and childlike tie-dye shirt that brings to mind crayons and doodles, try making this scribble scrabble pattern. Tie-dye projects like this one are sure to transport you back to a simpler time when you could let your imagination run wild with nothing more than some crayons and paper.
If you’re nostalgic, head over to FaveCrafts to see how to create the Scribble Scrabble design.
28. Rainbow Peace Symbol
Liberate your inner hippie by creating this Rainbow Peace Symbol tie-dye shirt. The peace symbol is one of the most iconic tie-dye shirt patterns, and rainbows are just glorious – it makes perfect sense to combine the two!
Trying your hands at this design will help you flex your tie-dye skills, and the final result will bring a message of peace to the world.
Learn how to create a Rainbow Peace Symbol pattern by visiting Flood Print.
29. Kaleidoscope Tie-Dye
“Trippy” and “psychedelic” are two words that come to mind at the sight of a kaleidoscope tie-dye shirt, and nothing recalls the swingin’ sixties quite like this tie-dye design. So start crafting it and create your own time machine.
You can craft your own Kaleidoscope Tie-Dye shirts by heading over to Tie Dye Your Summer.
The depths of the human mind remain a mystery to science. However, in the world of tie-dye, it’s fair game for design inspiration! This Mindscape design captures the elusive and boundless depths of the mind perfectly.
Brace yourself, as you’ll be needing a shrink and more than a few rubber bands to create this advanced pattern.
To plumb the depths of consciousness, tie-dye style, visit Chandye for the Mindscape design.
Cyclones are fearsome, awe-inspiring forces of nature, so they’re worth paying homage to through a tie-dye shirt! You’ll be making this challenging pattern using spirals, meaning lots and lots of rubber bands.
Once done, you’ll not only have improved your tie-dye technique, but you’ll also have an end product that blows people away.
Visit Nyfifth to learn how to create this Cyclone pattern.
32. Swirl Ice Tie-Dye
If you’re looking for a tie-dye shirt that’ll let you get your feet wet with ice tie-dye techniques, you can try making swirl patterns.
At first glance, a tie-dye shirt with a swirl on it gives the impression that you’re staring into the eye of a colorful storm – so much that even the most grounded viewer will find it hard not to get sucked in!
For the low-down on how to create this Swirl Ice Tie-Dye pattern, head over to The Neon Tea Party.
33. Skull Tie-Dye Shirt
Tie-dye T-shirts don’t only have to herald the summer months: they can also be harbingers for autumn. And which spooky holiday do we celebrate in the fall? It’s Halloween, of course!
This Skull tie-dye shirt presents the perfect challenge for tie-dye enthusiasts who don’t mind a little horror in their lives. You can learn how to make it by heading over to iLoveToCreate.
Anything based on precious stones like crystals is sure to make a worthwhile tie-dye project. You’ll be using low-immersion dyeing to achieve this crystalline pattern, which may be a technique you’re not familiar with.
Though the resulting pattern won’t be shiny like crystals, you’ll still end up with a stylish tee. Head over to Nyfifth to learn how to make this Crystal pattern.
35. Glue Resist Technique
If you’re looking to do something a little more interesting, try using the glue resist technique during your next tie-dye session. It involves drawing designs on a pre-washed shirt with white glue, leaving it to dry, and then applying the dye. You can get some pretty amazing results, depending on your drawing skill level.
You can check out the video tutorial on The Crafty Chica for a more in-depth explanation of how to use this Glue Resist Technique for your next project.
Neon is a great summertime color scheme to use when tie-dying because it brings to mind the melancholy pink sky caused by a retreating sun at the end of a summer day. If you’re lucky, you might relive the wistful hours you spent playing outdoors during summer vacation while working on this project.
To learn how to create this Neon shirt, head over to The Funky Stitch.
37. Rainbow Swirl
A Rainbow Swirl tie-dye shirt is sure to turn heads, as anything with rainbows on it will tend to do. This project is so great because it’ll put your tie-dye skills to the test and leave you with a summertime T-shirt that can be worn all year long. Additionally, you could try using powdered dye for a more interesting result.
And if you want more ideas that involve rainbows, check Craft Whack.
Head over to The Crafty Chica to learn how to make this Rainbow Swirl pattern.
Accordion tie-dye projects won’t whisk the shirt’s admirers away to an outdoor cafe in Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower, but they’ll have them singing sweet music in praise. The zigzagging horizontal stripes have a calming effect in contrast to the pattern’s loud colors.
Basically, these tie-dye shirts make a strong statement, and getting your hands dirty with them will improve your skills tenfold.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve this cool Accordion tie-dye shirt, visit Tie Dye Your Summer.
Tie-dye shirt patterns rule, and nothing screams “Summer’s here!” quite like them. With the many tie-dye folding techniques available – each one creating an infinite number of unique tie-dye projects – you’ll be having lots of fun with your DIY projects for a very long time.