Tie-dye a Hoodie (or Sweatshirt) the Easy Way

Here’s the thing. I really love dyeing hoodies and sweatshirts. They take dye very well and they’re ideal for showing larger versions of your favorite designs.

In this post I’ll show you exactly how to tie-dye hoodies and sweatshirts easily. I’ll give you my best tips and tricks so you can fold and dye thick fabric without fuss.

You will love this project. It’s not much different from making t-shirts, but the end result is so much more comfortable.

Hoodies are the ultimate multi-functional garment. They’ll keep you warm and cozy in any situation.

With the rising popularity of tie-dye, there’s no better better time to make your own. Perfect loungewear, the way you want it.

How to Make a Tie-dye Hoodie or Sweatshirt

What You’ll Need

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  • White Hoodie – look for 100% cotton, the same is true if you’re going for a sweatshirt.
  • Tie-dye kit – contains all the necessary for dyeing (bottles, dyes, soda ash, and rubber bands).
  • Wire rack – optional, but highly recommended, serves to elevate the hoodie.
  • Cookie sheet – also optional, used to contain any spill.

Step by Step Directions

  1. Prewash the hoodie to remove all the gunk from the manufacturing process.
  2. Dampen the hoodie to make folding easier. Take it straight from the wash or wet the garment then wring it out by hand.
  3. Fold the hoodie using a tie-dye folding technique and bind it with rubber bands.
  4. Mix your dyes by putting dye powder, soda ash, and water in your bottles.
  5. Dye the hoodie using your squeeze bottles. Pour dye directly on the folded hoodie until it is covered.
  6. Let it set at room temperature for 24 hours for the dye to cure.
  7. Rinse it out under cold running water for at least 5 minutes to remove excess dye.
  8. Wash the hoodie in the washing machine on cold with detergent.
  9. Dry in the dryer or hang dry.

How to Prepare your Hoodie

Always wash your garment before you start.

Clothing often comes with sizing, finishes, or optic whiteners on it to improve the feel and look of the fabric.

Send the hoodie for a quick spin in the washing machine. Don’t dry it, you need the fabric to be damp when folding.

If the hoodie is already clean, then wet it and wring it out by hand until it’s no longer dripping.

How to Easily Fold a Hoodie

A hoodie might be bulkier, but it folds in very much the same way a t-shirt does. You can use the same patterns no matter the thickness of the fabric.

Lay the hoodie flat on a table. Carefully remove wrinkles. Place the fabric so both sides are perfectly on top of each other.

Fold the hoodie using your favorite tie-dye technique. You can use the crumple, spiral, or any other method of your liking.

Think of the long sleeves and the hood as an extension of the shirt. They give you a larger canvas and more place for your design. Fold these areas as you would the torso.

Bind the hoodie once you’re done folding it. Place rubber bands around the folded garment so it keeps its shape. A hoodie usually requires three to six rubber bands depending on the folding technique used.

How Much Dye for a Hoodie

Hoodies and sweatshirts are very absorbent. They are made with thick cotton fabric and generally contain a fleece material on the inside.

They also vary in thickness. They can be labeled as lightweight, midweight, or heavyweight. Take this into consideration when preparing your dyes.

In general, you need to prepare two times more dye solution for a hoodie than a t-shirt of the same size.

Simple designs like a crumple that leave a lot of white can be achieved with as little as one to two bottles of dye.

Covering a whole hoodie requires four to six  squeeze bottles’ worth of dye solution depending on its size.

Tip: don’t forget to use soda ash. Either presoak the hoodie or put soda ash in your bottles.

How to Dye a Hoodie or Sweatshirt

Place your damp, folded hoodie where the dye will be contained. I like dyeing over a baking sheet. You can also dye the garment in the sink, bathtub, or in any container of your choosing.

Using your squeeze bottles filled with dye solution, gently start pouring dye over the hoodie.

Continue pouring, alternating between colors when necessary, until the whole surface is covered.

Turn over the hoodie and dye the other side in the same manner.

Leave some white spaces if you’d like white areas in the final design. Likewise, make sure that your dye penetrates all the way to the center if you’d prefer complete color coverage.

How Long to let Hoodie Set

Hoodies are larger than most clothing, that is true. But the good news is that they take the same amount of time to set.

Place the dyed hoodie where it won’t be disturbed. You can cover it in plastic if you wish, but it’s not necessary. It’s got more than enough moisture to not dry out.

Let the dyed hoodie sit for 24 hours at room temperature (no lower than 70°F).

This waiting period enables the dye to react with the fabric and form a permanent bond.

For more information, please check out this post on how to set your tie-dye for best results.

How to Correctly Rinse a Tie-dye Hoodie

Bring your tie-dyed hoodie to the kitchen sink. Keep the rubber bands on for now.

Start rinsing the bundled up hoodie with cold water. Take your time to carefully rinse out each section. Do not squeeze the hoodie yet.

Once you’re done rinsing both sides, start taking off the rubber bands. Continue rinsing with cold water as you slowly unfold your creation.

Now, it’s normal to get overcome with excitement at this point, but try to keep your calm.

Completely unfold the hoodie and rinse out any area still containing excess dye. The water runoff will start to clear out.

Flip the garment inside out and rinse the interior as well. Squeeze out each area and unfold the fabric to make sure you don’t miss a spot.

Once you’re done rinsing, prepare a hot water bath for the hoodie. This is to remove unattached dye molecules deep inside the fibers.

Let the hoodie soak in hot water bath for a few minutes. Take the hoodie out, then wring it out. It’s now ready for a wash.

Note: the fleece in most hoodies is made of polyester. It’s normal for the color to completely wash out from the fleece. This will not affect the final design, since it’s not visible.

Tie-dye Hoodie Washing, Drying, and Aftercare

Once you’re done rinsing your tie-dye hoodie, you’ll want to throw it in the wash.

Place the hoodie in the washing machine by itself, with dark clothing, or with old towels. When rinsed properly there’s no risk for tie-dye to stain clothing, but this is just to make sure.

Wash the tie-dye hoodie with a bit of detergent on cold for a complete cycle.

Once washed, either throw your hoodie in the dryer or hang dry. Bravo, your tie-dye hoodie is now ready to wear!

As for the aftercare, the dye is very resistant. It will last longer than the color on any clothing you could buy.

Simply wash it as you would any hoodie or sweatshirt.

Tip: wash the garment inside out to minimize rubbing and improve its longevity even more.

If you need more information, we’ve got a post about washing, drying, and aftercare for your tie-dye garments.

Hoodie and Sweatshirt Tie-dye Patterns

Here’s a few other hoodies and sweatshirts we’ve tie-dyed. Feel free to check them out before trying your hand. You will love making these!

– Press on a pattern to play the instructions –

Completed tie-dye shirt made using the Heavy Crumple pattern.

Dark Crumple

Completed tie-dye shirt made using the Single Arm pattern.

One-arm Spiral

Completed tie-dye shirt made using the Two-arms Spiral pattern.

Two-arms Spiral

More Amazing Tie-dye Techniques

Had fun with this tie-dye tutorial? Just wait until you try these other popular tie-dye techniques.