How to do a DNA tie dye

DNA Tie Dye

Where I first saw and heard of DNA dying was in a FB Group Called Addicted to TIE DYING. This group has a wealth of information in it and has VERY talented dye artist.  Yes, I really do mean Artist!  I could only wish to be half as good as most of them are. They also have a tutorial on DNA dying in the file section of the group.  As in any group, if you join, please read their rules.

DNA tie dye is done by accordion folding the fabric in nice even sections. Smaller section will give you a more defined look. I decided for this 2.5 yards of fabric to use 1.5″ pleats. I’m going to turn this into a ring sling.

You can’t tell here, but I folded my damp fabric in half . If you’re doing a t-shirt you would also work with your shirt folded, but it doesn’t half to be vertical it can be how ever you want the design to flow.

First I used a washable marker to mark every 1.5″ down the sides of my fabric. This step might be a bit much for some people, but it got me a very nice even fold.

To start the fold, I started at the end where I folded the fabric in half.  I picked up the first mark on the fabric and folded that to the 3rd mark. I pressed the fold with my fingers a bit to help it stay.  I then held where the top of the fold was and moved that up two lines. Once I got started, I found it easier to have the  folds up like in the photo and kept folding. So every other mark is the peak and the other the valley in the fold. Once I got going, I would line up two sections on each end, then kind of stretch outwards. It would help fold the middle of the fabric. You might need to adjust it a bit to make it even with the others.
*I thought using pins would help, but ended up taking them out a few folds in.

dna dye fold

 Once you’re done folding the fabric, put a few bands on to hold it in place.

Now measure your fabric width wise and figure out a good size for the spacing for the dye colors vs the number of colors you are using. I did ROYGBV(red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet*no indigo in this rainbow*) and repeated the pattern 3 times to give me 1.5″ sections….Well meant too. I had one extra section, because I miss measured.  Because of this sides are the same colors.

So after figuring out the spacing. I marked it along the fabric with the washable marker.

Now here is where I would change what I did.  Instead of using rubber bands, I would used string to mark the sections. I had to double the bands to make them tight enough to stay in place. But this made the fabric too tight for the dye to penetrate the fabric in the middle well.

dna fold 3


 Applying the dye is the key to getting the DNA effect. You will be applying dye to the top and bottom sides, which is the sides where you see the folds in the fabric. The top I started on the left side with ROYGBV pattern. Once I flipped it over, I have to shift the colors one section to the right. So now I start with violet(purple), then go in ROYGBV order. You want to apply the dye SLOWLY!  Watch the side of the fabric and apply the dye until it reaches half way down the side.  Also check in the middle creases to see how far down the dye has gone.  Then flip and dye the other side to meet in the middle, remembering to shift the colors one section.

I used a syringe to put the dye on the sections, so I could control it better. Also because the bottle I had were leaking!

Dye used here is Dylon brand. I mixed about half the packet in 1 cup hot water and added 1 Tablespoon extra Soda Ash and Salt to the bottle.  I had left over dye from this project since it was only 2.5yards. I had some shirts and swaddle blankets waiting though!

DNA Dye Applied

Once the dye is on put it in a trash bag and let it sit in the sun to warm it up. If it’s winter put it somewhere warm. It’s best to let it sit for 24 hours! I know that’s a long time to wait to see what you ended up with, but it will be worth it!

DNA Dye applied

 I didn’t do a Soda Ash pre-soak. So at around the 20ish hour mark, I mixed up some Soda Ash water and poured it over the fabric. Poke a hole in the bag and drain out the extra water. I had to cut the bands to peek, but then I folded it back and let it sit a few more hours in the sun.

DNA Tie Dye

 Here it was rinsed waiting to go into the washer.

DNA Tie Dye

 I’m kind of bummed the whole thing didn’t turn out like the middle did. That is more of the true DNA pattern I was hoping to get.  I think if I would had used the string instead of the rubber bands. I would had gotten the dye though the middle of the fabric better.

Dna Tie Dye

Here it was all washed and dried in the Sun. You can see the middle is a bit heavier on the dye.
The intro photo is a close up of the pattern finished.

DNA Tie Dye for a Ring Sling

 Feel free to ask questions, I will answer them the best that I can.


DIY Tie Dyed Anchor Wrap and Shirt

Anchor Tie Dye

 I found an awesome FB group called Dyed baby Carriers. I spent a ton of time reading about dyeing, getting inspiration and working up the courage to try to dye a wrap. I have grown up around water and had the idea of doing a nautical wrap. So why not try to do an anchor? I thought surely I could find a post or video about a tie dyed anchor somewhere on the internet…. WRONG! I searched and searched and came up empty.  But what I had learned from the Dying group is that any symmetrical image could be folded into fabric, so you could dye any design you wanted. I watched several YouTube videos of different designs folded, until I had a good idea of what I was going to be doing.  Then I got Started.

First you take your fabric and fold it in half where you want your design. I did have to adjust the design so I had more room in between the points on the anchor and the cross part of it.


Then trace half the design along the fold in the fabric. This was on a shirt I did, which I will show you at the end also.

Then you will according fold along the line forcing the fabric to go into a straight line. I could not take photos as I was folding, since it’s a two hand job. But later I did take a video while I was folding this shirt and uploaded it to YouTube. I’m not sure how much it will help the actual folding, but you can see it done there. It took me SEVERAL tries the first time I folded it on my wrap to where I thought I *might* get a anchor design.

anchor outline

Here was my wrap all folded up. The anchor is what is sticking up in the middle.
I had the anchor in the middle and then I did two swirls on each side.



And the shirt folded.


Wrap once I got dye on it.  I used 1 pack each Dylon dye in Bahama blue, Ocean blue, Navy blue and China blue mix with some Navy blue.  I mixed the dye in bottles using 2 cups hot water and added 1 tablespoon of salt and super washing soda (Or Soda Ash)

Be careful NOT to get the dark dye on the anchor sticking up like I did! I would recommend wrapping that in plastic wrap after you get the dye on it first  to avoid my mistake.


Now after you have the dye on you put it in a trash bag and let it sit in the heat to help set the colors. It’s best to wait 24 hours after dyeing. I waited about 16 hours before I checked on it. Then I mixed up some Soda ash water (about 1 cup per gallon) and poured it over the wrap. I let the extra drip out a hole I made in the bottom of the bag. Soda ash gives deeper colors. Then I let it sit another 3 hours.

Then you open it up and see what you got! I was VERY happy with the outcome!
This was before it was rinsed out.
I hung it up on our fence upside down… So this photo has been flipped.

DIY Wrap with anchor tie dye

Then you rinse, wash and dry to see the final project.

Close up of the Anchor.

Tie Dye Anchor

Anchor Wrap

DIY Wrap with anchor Tie dye

Full Shot of the whole Wrap.

Finished shirt. I just used navy and bahama blue on it.

Tie Dyed Anchor t-shirt

This wrap was the first item I had ever tie dyed, so you don’t have to be super experienced to get good results. Take your time on the folding and make sure you get the dye in the creases of the fabric.

Hope you try it out soon!