How to Tie-dye in Pastel Colors (Easy!)

Pastel tie-dye shirts, and especially hoodies, are very popular right now. They combine elegance with original designs. Making tie-dye shirt using pastel colors is very easy and you should definitely try it. Pastel tie-dye shirts make use of very lights colors and subtle designs which gives them their signature look. A great pastel shirt should look cute, warm, and fuzzy.

To tie-dye using pastel colors, it’s essential to use the proper dye solutions. Pastel colors require dye mixes with very little dye. It’s easy to go overboard and put too much dye in our bottles, resulting in colors that are too bright. Another element that makes a pastel tie-dye great is the choice of design. You should choose a design that goes hand-in-hand with light colors. The choice of colors is also a factor. Pastel tie-dye shirts often benefit from having few colors, generally using only color.

While this guide is geared towards the dyeing of shirts, you can just as well use the same instructions to tie-dye other pieces of clothing. We’ve had great success tie-dyeing hoodies, sweatshirts and sweatpants with this method.

How to Mix Pastel Tie-dye Colors

Pastel colors take very little dye to produce. As little as 0.1g of dye in one cup (250ml) of water is enough to color a shirt. To mix pastel colors you need to measure your dyes precisely. We recommend using a scale to do so. Start by planning out the color you want to use. Measure your dye according to the color strength you need and place it in a bottle. Put one teaspoon of soda ash in your bottle to activate the dye. Fill up the bottle with water and mix it well.

Start by taking a very small amount of dye. Mix it in a bottle with water and soda ash. Test you dye solution on a piece of fabric to see how the color will come out. Depending on the color you need you can adjust the level of dye and water to get paler or stronger colors. Continue adjusting and testing your dye solution until you get the desired result.

Dye Color Strength Recipes

IntensityDyeSoda ashWater
Vibrant3 tsp1 tsp1 cup
Intense2 tsp1 tsp1 cup
Strong1 tsp1 tsp1 cup
Medium1/2 tsp1 tsp1 cup
Soft1/4 tsp1 tsp1 cup
Pastel1/8 tsp1 tsp1 cup
Light1/32 tsp1 tsp1 cup

How to Tie-dye a Pastel Shirt

The choice of design will have a big impact on the overall look of the shirt. Think about the result you want to accomplish Choose a color scheme that works with what you’re going for. A lot of pastel tie-dye shirts use only a single color and leave a lot of white areas on the shirt. The most common design to make is a light crumple. By combining pastel colors with a good design you’re able to create a shirt you’ll never want to take off.

Using the light crumple pattern we’ll make a pretty design that looks both soft and relaxing. This design uses a single pale color. Start by mixing your dye solution and preparing your shirt. Fold the shirt using the crumple technique. You want to bunch up the fabric loosely and randomly. Bind the shirt and take it to a suitable surface where you’ll dye it. Using your dye bottle, squirt dye lightly over the shirt. Use dye sparsely, taking care not to cover too much of the shirt. If needed, also dye the underside of the shirt.

This technique works best with a slightly damp shirt. Don’t use too much dye in your solution in order to keep your color pale. A small amount of dye (0.1g to 1g) along with one cup (250ml) of water and one teaspoon of soda ash will work perfectly. After dyeing the shirt, leave it 4 to 8 hours for the dye to set and then rinse the excess dye off. You’re now ready to wash and wear your beautiful creation.