My 15-year-old son recently came home after a camp planning meeting with his friends and announced that they have decided to tie-dye their camp shirts this year. I kind of love this idea, so I wanted to look up some tie-dye pattern tutorials on You Tube to help them choose some cool designs that they’d have fun making together.

In my experience, once my kids see a craft tutorial like these, they want to jump in right away.  So before you call them in to watch, I’d say you should go ahead and get the supplies you’ll need for your tie-dye project.

There aren’t a lot of supplies, but you’ll definitely want to make sure you have:

– A bucket
– Some soda ash to prep the fabric
-A tie-dye kit including dyes, gloves, and rubber bands. You an also use powdered dyes, if you prefer that method.
-A plastic table cloth to keep your space (relatively) clean
– A big pack of rubber bands if they’re not in the kit you buy,
– Some plain white t-shirts in your kids sizes if they’re not dyeing a shirt they already own. I like this Fruit of the Loom t-shirt multipack, and the price is great.

Next, watch this helpful video tutorial from Howcast on the tie-dyeing prep work you need to do. That includes soaking your fabric in soda ash to activate the dye, by the way. See? Make sure you have it before you start!

Finally, choose the pattern you want to make, and go for it.

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Top photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Related: The ultimate guide to the coolest Rainbow Loom patterns

7 helpful tie-dye pattern tutorials on YouTube

These 7 videos below are a great place to start for tie-dye tutorials that are easy to follow. I’ve looked at a ton, and here are the ones I’d recommend.


1. Classic spiral tie-dye pattern tutorial

Cool tie-dye pattern tutorials: Rainbow Spiral at Jacquard Products on You Tube

When I think tie dye,  the classic spiral design comes to mind. You too? Then why not start here!

This traditional rainbow spiral tie-dye pattern tutorial by Jacquard Products offers extremely clear instructions, with explanation about why each of the different steps are important. It’s a great tutorial for beginners, or anyone just wanting to brush off their old tie-dye skills from high school.


2. Mandala/kaleidescope tie-dye pattern tutorial

Cool tie-dye pattern tutorials: Mandala pattern and Chandye

The Chandye YouTube channel seems to be the motherlode for you tie-dye aficionados; there are just so, so many variations!  I love how this mandala (kaleidoscope) tie-dye pattern tutorial doesn’t even require any narration — just funky music and slow deliberate movements you can follow easily.

Just note that he doesn’t explain the prep stages you need to do before you start so be sure to watch the starter video I recommended up top first.


3. Heart tie-dye pattern tutorial

Cool tie-dye pattern tutorials: Heart tie-dye pattern at Austin Robinson

Aw, man! This heart tie-dye pattern tutorial by Austin Robinson comes out so wonderfully. Father’s Day gift, anyone? Austin talks you through the process step by step in this video, offering a clear list of supplies you need to make sure you’re prepared. It’s a little harder than the average design because the pattern is somewhat precise, but if you follow his steps you can do it!

Related: Tips, tricks and recipes to help you host the coolest, gooiest, best slime party.

4. Geode circle tie-dye pattern tutorial

Cool tie-dye pattern tutorials: Random Geode pattern at Erpart

If you and your kids have a lot of patience for tying and untying rubber bands, then this random circle geode tie-dye pattern tutorial by Erpart results in a really cool shirt. The video is another with no words, just visual instructions over music, but they’re easy to follow and I didn’t get lost or confused at all.


5. Repeating peacock tie-dye pattern tutorial 

Cool tie-dye pattern tutorials: Repeating peacock pattern at Casual Collisions

OK, pros: this repeating peacock tie-dye pattern tutorial video from Casual Collisions is super cool. There are even links to all the supplies you need to use right in the video description, but warning: it could get pricey.

This is a complicated tie-dye pattern that’s best for a kid with a really analytical brain, because he uses a lot of math to make this one. Or, hey, make this math your kid’s fun homeschool math class for the day like I did.


6. Rainbow DNA tie-dye pattern tutorial 

Cool tie-dye pattern tutorials: DNA pattern at Tie Dye Tanks

Tie Dye Tanks is living the tie-dye life, with his Grateful Dead flag hanging behind him and everything. But I have to admit, his DNA tie-dye pattern tutorial video is pretty amazing.

Settle in: this is a 20 minute video tutorial. However he doesn’t use many cuts in his editing, so you could actually create your tie-dyed tee real time, right along with him, step by step.

Related: The coolest birthday gifts for tweens 9-12 right now

7. Bleach tie-dye tutorial including this Shibori pattern

Cool tie dye pattern tutorials: How to tie-dye with bleach at Shmoxd

You think all tie-dye patterns are about about bright colors? Not so! I really enjoyed the How to tie-dye with bleach video by Shmoxd. The production quality is high, with an entertaining voiceover and even some thoughtful trial and error.

In this video, he compares wet and dry shirts, spray bottle vs. squeeze bottle results, and quite a few different tie-dye patterns and t-shirt colors. I especially love the Shibori style, above!

Definitely watch the whole thing, because this video is packed with overlapping techniques and results throughout and you can’t quite skip around. Besides, I think you’ll find it as entertaining and informative as I did, whatever tie-dye pattern you end up making.