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Easy Crumple Tie Dye Technique

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Do you want to learn how to make an easy and fun tie dye shirt? The Crumple Tie Dye Technique is the easiest tie dye method for beginners and produces awesome results!

how to crumple tie dye patterned shirt for beginners with example

Are you new to tie dye? Do you want to make a fun, colorful shirt without any fancy folding techniques? I have tried a TON of Tie Dye Patterns, and this design is the EASIEST tie dye shirt EVER!

Related Post for More Tie Dye Ideas: Learn 10+ Tie Dye Folding Techniques

The crumple or scrunch method of tie dye requires only a few basic tie dye supplies and a blank shirt or sweatshirt. It is perfect for kids, parties, beginners, or even if this is your first time to make tie dye shirts!

crumple tie dye patterned shirt

What is Crumple Tie Dye?

Crumple Tie Dye is an easy way to make a tie dye shirt by simply crumpling or scrunching the fabric and applying fabric dye in a random way. You can secure the crumple with string or rubber bands, but you don’t have to!

It produces a gorgeous unique design every time. In fact, because there is no pattern to how you fold the fabric, every shirt looks completely different!

Crumple tie dye is also known as the Scrunch Tie Dye Method. Plus, if you’ve some of those awesome galaxy or nebula looking shirts, they’re probably made with the crumple technique.

Pink Purple and Blue Scrunch Tie Dye Shirt on Girl

You can use one color of dye, multiple colors of dye, or even ice dye on a crumple patterned shirt. I particularly like to use the Ice Dye method with crumple shirts, because the dye penetrates the folding pattern really well.

pink watercolor ice dye shirt

FIND OUT MORE: How to Tie Dye with Ice

Basic Supplies for Crumple Tie Dye Techinque

If you’re new to tie dye, you will need a few basic supplies. You can definitely go out and grab a Tie Dye Kit from Amazon or another retailer, but you will get the best results with the following supplies:

Common fabric dye works best with cotton or natural fabric (like rayon, hemp, etc.) Polyester fabrics will not work with standard tie dye kits or fiber reactive powder dyes. You can use fabric that has a minimal blend of polyester (10-40%), but results will vary.

Good quality supplies will help to ensure successful results. High quality fiber reactive dyes (dye powder) and cotton shirts will produce bright colors in the dye process, and will retain their color as you wash and wear them.

I personally prefer fiber reactive procion powder dyes from Dharma Trading Co. or Procion dyes from Amazon. They produce consistent and amazing color results. All of the pictures in this post were made with professional fiber reactive powder dyes.

crumple tie dye patterned shirt

How to Make a Crumple Tie Dye Shirt

I will go into more details below, but here are the Easy Steps to Make a Tie Dye Shirt with powder dyes:

  1. Cover work space.
  2. Prep shirt by soaking in Soda Ash (if using fiber-reactive dyes)
  3. Mix urea solution.
  4. Make dye solution in squeeze bottles for easy application.
  5. Remove shirt from soda ash and wring out excess water.
  6. Crumple or scrunch shirt by folding small sections together. Leave as is or secure with rubber bands or string.
  7. Apply dye.
  8. Place shirt in zip top bag or wrap with plastic wrap. Let sit for 8 hours (or up to 24 for best results).
  9. Rinse well with cool water, then remove rubber bands if necessary and continue to rinse until the water runs clear.
  10. Wash in warm to hot water in the washing machine with dye safe laundry detergent.

Set Up Your Work Space

When the weather is warm, I tend to work outside on a folding table or other work space that I don’t mind getting dirty. I will cover the table with a plastic table cloth or plastic sheet material to protect the table if I need to.

If you’re working in the house, you definitely want to protect your table, countertop, and floors. Dye has a way of going everywhere. If I am working inside, I remove all area rugs or anything in the general vicinity. If you use tie dye with kids, expand the area that you cover!

I also prep the space by getting out my plastic Ziploc bags and placing the wire racks on metal baking sheets. I have a set of baking sheets that I only use for tie dye. They help contain the mess and you can rinse them easily.

Prep the Shirts

When you use fiber reactive powder dyes, the shirts need to soak in a soda ash solution for about 15 minutes. You fold your shirt before or after the soda ash soak, but I prefer to fold my shirts when wet so that I can get a tighter fold or pattern.

soak tie dye shirt in soda ash before dying

Note: Don’t be like me – use rubber gloves when handling shirts soaked in soda ash.

After the time has elapsed, wring out all of the extra solution. You can wring it right back into the bowl if you have additional shirts to soak.

Mix the Tie Dye Solution

I mix all of my dyes while the shirts are soaking in the soda ash. Make the urea solution according to the manufacturer instructions. Add solution and powdered dye to a squeeze bottle and mix to combine.

Tip: Label your squeeze bottles with the dye color if you will use a lot of colors. You will be amazed at how similar the colors look in their liquid form!

Fold your Shirt with a Crumple Pattern

The crumple method is REALLY easy! Just scrunch the shirt into a ball, or if you want to be fancy you can create small folds with your fingers and bring all of the fabric into the center. It is totally random with no actual pattern, so have fun with the process!

And you HAVE to try this tie dye method with a colored shirt! The results are so unique.

how to fold crumple tie dye patterned shirt

You can secure the crumple pattern with rubber bands or string, or you can leave it without. I have tried both ways, and I love the results regardless if I secure the pattern. You will definitely want to use rubber bands if you want a tighter pattern or more white space left in the design.

Apply your Dye to the Crumple Shirt

Using the bottles, squeeze dye onto the shirt. You can create a pattern with the dye, but you don’t have to! I think the best crumple shirts are created by just applying random areas of dye around the shirt.

how to dye crumple tie dye patterned shirt

For less white area, apply more dye on the shirt. For more white area, apply less dye.

applying dye to crumple tie dye pattern shirt

Tip: To make a galaxy style shirt, combine areas of purple, pink, blue, and/or black tie all over the shirt.

Let Tie Dye Shirt Set

To allow the dye to penetrate the fibers of the shirt, place the shirt in a plastic zip top bag or wrap with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours, or up to 24 hours. The longer you leave the shirt rest, the brighter your colors will be.

Rinse Out Your Crumple Tie Dye Shirt

After your shirt has rested, it’s time to rinse! Cover your hands and clothes before you start to rinse out the tie dye.

Rinsing out tie dye shirt

I use a utility sink in my garage, the bath tub, or even a hose to rinse out my tie dye shirts. I rinse first while it is still secured (if you have used rubber bands or string). It is a little easier to handle if the shirt is folded. You will see colors run out of the fabric, but don’t worry. That’s just the “extra” dye that hasn’t adhered.

After you have rinsed for a minute or two, remove the rubber bands or string and continue to rinse until the water runs clear. This may take a few minutes!

Wash Your Tie Dye Shirt

After you have rinsed your shirt, you can wash it in the washing machine! Use warm to hot water and a mild detergent that is dye safe.

Sometimes, I will run the shirt through the washing machine on a rinse cycle, and then wash using a small amount of detergent.

Hang your shirt to dry or tumble dry low in the dryer. You’re done!

crumple tie dye patterned shirt

More Ways to Make Crumple Dye Shirts

Some of my favorite crumple tie dye shirts are made with the ice dye technique! Because the shirt is not usually tightly folded, the ice penetrates the material as it melts and produces a really cool effect. It’s another great way to make a nebula or galaxy style tie dye shirt!

pink ice dyed shirt

Try to make different crumple method shirts by using one color of dye, or different color patterns. You can even try using dye on a colored shirt!

crumple tie dye patterned shirt close up

More Tie Dye Patterns & Folding Techniques

If you liked this tie dye folding tutorial, you can try out new folding techniques and patterns in this post: 10+ Tie Dye Folding Patterns

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to create gorgeous tie dye shirts to wear all summer!

Additional Tie Dye Tutorials:

Don’t forget to pin my Crumple Tie Dye Method Tutorial to your favorite craft board on Pinterest!

how to crumple tie dye patterned shirt

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about charynn


Hi, y’all! I’m Charynn, the owner and designer of Pineapple Paper Co. I’m a mom of four kids (two girls and two boys) living in Pittsburgh. I love hand lettering, anything southern, cocktails, and of course, pineapples! I am excited to share my SVG files, printables, and craft projects with you! The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, and I welcome y’all to my little corner of the internet. Read more…

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