Pastel tie-dye is having a moment, so here’s how to DIY at home


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The following report, in summation: I got a tie-dye kit, and now none of my white clothing items are safe.

Days of boredom were turning into weeks when I learned earlier this month that JoAnn Fabrics was officially operating via curbside pickup. Talk about a godsend! My closet was desperate for a refresh, but I didn’t want to spend excessive money on new stuff. Also, I had — and continue to have — a whole lot of time on my hands.

Placing the order online was simple, and the items were ready for pickup less than 24 hours later. (A cashier at my local JoAnn’s told me over the phone that the wait is sometimes longer because so many people are crafting right now.)

To be precise, I actually got two tie-dye kits so I could try out different methods. I knew I wanted to dilute the colors to create pastel tones instead of the usual super-bright shades, and this was easy to do for both types of dye.

The first kit is pretty reminiscent of any childhood tie-dye experience: The bottles come pre-loaded with powdered dye, and you just add water to to create the liquid colors. In order to tone down the shades, I poured out most of the powder from each container before adding the water. The kit also includes tons of rubber bands and multiple pairs of plastic gloves.

Removing some powdered dye from bottles of the Tulip One Step 12 Color Tie Dye kit from JoAnn Fabrics.

Using the squirt bottles creates that traditional tie-dye look, and who doesn’t love a classic? You can’t go wrong with a rainbow spiral, but if you’re looking to mix things up, just go rogue with your rubber band and folding techniques.

I demonstrate multiple methods in the video above. My favorite is a front-and-back fold that ultimately led to these cute stripes.

White denim shorts get a makeover.

The second kit was really cool because instead of squirting, the bottles spray a light dye mist, which leads to a completely different look. The dyes are pre-mixed, so to dilute the colors I had to pour out the colored liquid before adding water.

I used the mist to create a rainbow ombre design down both sides of a denim jacket.

A denim jacket finds new life thanks to the Sei Pack of 8 Tumble Tie Dye kit from JoAnn Fabrics. (Photos: Jennifer Kline / Video Editor: AmiLin McClure)

Don’t have any clothing items you’re willing to sacrifice? I feel that. That’s why I also picked up some (inexpensive) basics, like this baseball cap and some soft T-shirts.

To learn how to pastel tie-dye shorts, T-shirts, hats, and denim jackets, watch the video above.

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