Get an easy tutorial for How to Make a Sunburst Tie Dye Shirt that is perfect for the 4th of July and summer picnics! This red, white, and blue tie dye shirt looks just like fireworks and is really easy to make.
My kids and I have been tie dyeing since summer vacation started and we can’t get enough! I created a HUGE guide to all of the tie dye patterns that we use all of the time, and now I will show you the details on how to make this fireworks tie dye shirt!
If you’re planning a 4th of July bbq or a summer picnic, this shirt would be perfect to wear. It is great for kids but would also make a great outfit for adults, too. It reminds me of a bomb pop which is one of my favorite summer treats. And of course you don’t have to make it in red, white, and blue! Make it in whatever colors you would like.
What Do You Need to Make a Sunburst Tie Dye Shirt?
If this is your first time making tie dye shirts, you’ll need some basic supplies to make this tie dye pattern. If you want more information and additional patterns, make sure you check out my ultimate guide to tie dye patterns and folding techniques.
You will need white cotton t-shirts, fabric dye (either in the form of powder dye or a tie-dye kit), rubber bands or string, plastic wrap, plastic bags, and water. If you do not purchase a tie dye kit (like the popular Tulip tie dye packages available at craft stores or Amazon), you may also need squeeze bottles, soda ash and urea. Tie Dye kits are easy to use and are perfect for beginners, but I prefer fiber reactive powder dyes from Dharma Trading Co. or Procion dyes from Amazon. They produce consistent and amazing color results.
How to Make a Tie Dye Shirt with Fireworks
This pattern is called a sunburst tie dye, and it is really just another way to make a bullseye tie dye shirt. It is made up from a bunch of small bullseye designs all over instead of one large bullseye in the middle.
First, prep your shirt with water or soda ash as directed in the dye instructions. To create this pattern, choose small sections of the shirt and wrap rubber bands as you would a bullseye. Tightly wrap one or two bands for each sunburst (the tighter you add the band, the more white areas you will get). Then just scrunch or crumple the rest of the shirt around the banded areas.
From the side view you can see how much of the shirt I have banded. For reference this is a toddler size medium shirt.
I prefer to tie dye on a wire rack over a sheet pan or cookie sheet. It keeps the bottom of the shirt out of the dye that runs out and also keeps my work surface clean.
Apply the dye in sections. The top of each banded area will be the center of the firework or sunburst. I started with the red at the top of each sunburst.
Then I added light blue dye in the middle section of each banded area.
At the bottom of each sunburst I used dark blue fabric dye.
Doesn’t it look like a red white and blue bomb popsicle?
Then I filled the rest of the crumpled shirt with the the blue dyes.
It will look a little bit like a mess, but it will be amazing when it is all done!
Place the shirt in a plastic resealable bag for a minimum of a few hours to develop. Rinse out the shirt in the sink or tub under running water until the water runs clear.
Then wash in the washing machine by itself. I usually run my tie dye shirts on a quick cycle, and throw them in the dryer. For the first couple of washes I try to wash all of the shirts by themselves just to make sure no dye transfers (I try especially hard with dark colors of dye.)
You can see where the rubber bands were on the shirt – those are the areas that remained white and provided the fireworks effect in the colors!
Enjoy your tie dye shirt all summer long!
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