DIY: Tie Dye Tea Towels

I love having colour and pattern all over my home. More more more is often my motto but as we slowly journey toward buying a place of our own I’ve started thinking about a cleaner more paired back design aesthetic. Which brings us to TIE DYE – or more specifically grown up tie dye.

So grown up tie dye – what does that even mean? I’m really attracted to the soft and varied textures of tie dye, but less so the rainbow explosion that often comes with it. Shibori gives us a gorgeous alternative. Dark blue indigo colours, chic geometric shapes with the softness of dip dye – hooray!

I used two different folds for my Shibori designs – a triangle accordion fold that creates a beautiful geometric pattern and a design full of loose rings (made with elastic band gatherings and rolled up – more like traditional tie-dye).  There are some absolutely brilliant tutorials on Design Sponge that I’d highly recommend looking at for inspiration too.

To try this yourself you will need:

  • 1 sachet of blue or indigo dye (mine was jean blue from Dylon)
  • Plain white cotton cut into tea towel size rectangles.
  • A bucket
  • Salt
  • Elastic bands
  • Washing up gloves (unless you want to have blue hands for the next few days!)
  1. First prepare your fabric:


  • Fold your fabric along the short edge into 4 parts (like an accordion).
  • Take the bottom right hand corner and fold it upwards and to the left edge to create a 45 degree edge
  • Fold this triangle upwards to reform fabric into a long rectangle.
  • Now fold the bottom left corner under the fabric to the right hand side (to make a 45 degree edge in the other direction
  • Fold this triangle upwards to the front of the fabric as before
  • Repeat until your fabric is completely folded up into a neat little triangle package and secure with elastic bands or string.


  • Fold your fabric in half along the short edge
  • Now use an elastic band to gather the top left corner
  • Repeat for the bottom right corner
  • add in more elastic gather on the outer edges, alternating sides
  • roll the whole thing up and secure with elastic bands or string

2. Mix up your dye and drop your fabric in.  I left mine for about 15 minutes (panicking that the dye would seep right through and leave no pattern) but I think I could have left it for slightly longer and achieved a stronger colour contrast.

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3. Run your fabric under clean water to wash away any excess dye

4. Leave to dry

I still need to hem my tea-towels but I’m so pleased with this first attempt!!

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