Pastel tie-dye is having a big moment right now, and I can’t even pretend like I’m not totally here for it. As a kid, I can’t even tell you how many tie-dyed things I owned. Honestly, I don’t even know how my mom left the house with me without dying of laughter at how ridiculous I looked (I went through a major ’60s and ’70s style obsession).
I’ve been eyeing every pretty pastel color swirl I see online and in stores, and it’s getting harder and harder to resist impulse-buying all of it. So, if you’re like me, and your inner child is warring with your responsible adult brain over splurging on an all-pastel tie-dye wardrobe, then you’ll love today’s post.
The good news about this fun trend is that it’s pretty easy to do at home, which means you’ll save a lot of cash, AND you’ll get to choose which colors you end up with!
If your inner child is warring with your responsible adult brain over splurging on an all-pastel tie-dye wardrobe, the good news is that it’s pretty easy to do at home.
What You’ll Need
Pastel tie-dye is essentially just like regular tie-dye, but you’re going to dilute the dye much more. For some shades, you’ll also want to let the color soak in for less time. I especially like doing pastel tie-dye because it means you’ll have way more dye to play with, so you can experiment with different color combinations and tying methods.
You can search Amazon for tie-dye kits and get tons of results, so if you don’t want to fuss with picking out individual colors or going to the craft store, you can just grab a one-step kit like this one that already has the colors, string, gloves, and bottles included.
If you decide to grab powdered dyes, Tulip is an affordable, reliable brand to look for. Another option is to buy liquid dyes like Rit and dilute them to your desired shade. You can find them in the laundry section of Walmart, on Amazon, or in any craft store with the fabrics.
Other than the dyes, gloves, and rubber bands for tying, you’ll obviously also need plenty of things to tie-dye! Shirts, hats, headbands, masks, bandannas, tote bags, dresses, skirts … basically anything your heart desires. Remember that natural fibers (silk, cotton, linen, etc.) are the best for dyeing, and purely polyester or acrylic fabrics won’t absorb dye. With those small caveats, go wild!
TL;DR Supply List:
- Powdered or liquid dye
- Squeeze bottles (for the dye)
- Rubber bands
- Gallon Ziploc bags
- Apron or old clothes to dye in
Tips For Getting the Perfect Pastel Pattern
1. Experiment with colors before you dye
Test your colors on a paper towel before you use them on your final project so that you know exactly what they’ll look like beforehand.
I found this tie dye color chart super helpful for creating pretty pastel shades.
2. Decide which pattern you want
There are tons of ways to tie-dye. You can just wing it and end up with a surprise pattern, or you can search Google or Pinterest for tie-dye pattern inspiration to follow.
3. Keep color schemes in mind
It’s best to plan out which colors you want to use and how you’ll place them ahead of time. Colors in the same family or next to each other on the color spectrum (think shades of purple or purple and blue) will always look great, but you can use any color combo you’d like! If you’re using complementary colors (like red and green or orange and blue), make sure to leave some white space between them so that the colors don’t muddy together.
4. Set it, but don’t forget it
How long you’ll let your project set will be based on how pastel you’ve made your dye shades and how saturated you want your final result to be.
If you made pretty light colors (similar to the lightest ones in the color chart I linked), you could leave your projects to set in their bags for eight to 24 hours. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a super-pastel piece, leave them for no more than four hours.
5. Remember that there are no mistakes!
There is no wrong way to tie-dye something. People use dye, bleach, ice, salt, and other things to change their projects’ look. You can make it as colorful or monochrome as you’d like and as intense or pastel as you’re feeling. Let your inner child have fun with this!
This is a super fun and easy project to do with friends, family, and kids. I did mine as a fun solo creative afternoon, but I’ll probably make more with my niece later this summer!
If you DIY some pastel tie-dye this summer, be sure to share pictures so that I can admire your handiwork! I can’t wait to dye more things.