Summer Fun with The Spice & Tea Exchange: Homemade Natural Tie Dye & T-Shirts

Published on
April 29, 2024 at 3:40:29 PM PDT April 29, 2024 at 3:40:29 PM PDTth, April 29, 2024 at 3:40:29 PM PDT

Looking for a fun activity to keep busy this summer? Try tie-dyeing with our spices and teas for natural tie dye! Using the natural colors in teas and spices is a great alternative to other chemical dyes. Dyeing shirts, sheets, or other cotton products naturally, is a fun and effective way to create beautiful works of art and lasting memories with your kids, friends, and family. This activity is an ideal outdoor activity to get people together for some rewarding fun this summer!

Materials for Making Homemade Natural Tie Dye & T-Shirts

Things you'll need before you start:

  1. Rubber bands
  2. Cotton t-shirt, sheet, or other cotton garments
  3. Buckets for mixing dyes
  4. Access to boiling and cold water
  5. Spices & teas for steeping

There are a few things to consider before you get started:

  1. How you want to tie your fabric for dyeing
  2. What color you want to dye your fabric
  3. Pick a good place in the yard to set up your different dyes
  4. Find a place to hang your project when you're finished

Below are several of our products that make amazing natural hues for tie-dyeing as well as our step-by-step process to get the best results dyeing a cotton t-shirt. 

Pick a Color!

Beet Root Powder The natural red color of a beet creates a rich red hue. SHOP NOW           

Hibiscus Flower Tea - Cut & Sifted Hibiscus flowers also offer a red hue! Play with soak times for dainty pinks. SHOP NOW


Saffron - Spanish Anything but mellow, Saffron makes a luscious yellow. SHOP NOW

Paprika - Smoked Sweet Rich orange pigments in Paprika add vibrant variations to your dyeing. SHOP NOW


Dandelion Root – Roasted For a more neutral tan hue, try Dandelion Root! SHOP NOW


Black Chocolate Tea Looking for a rich brown tint for your project? Try our Black Chocolate Tea or any of our black teas for that matter! SHOP NOW        

Steps for Natural Tie-dyeing at Home

Steps 1-2: Rinse your cotton shirt in cold water and wring out.

Steps 3-5: Using a large bowl, place boiling water, and two to three tablespoon of spice or tea into the bowl. Let the spice/tea infuse in the water for three minutes or until you have completed tying up your fabric with rubber bands in the following steps.

Steps 5-7: Place a t-shirt flat on a table and begin creating your tie-dye print (swirl & stripe prints are shown in photos). Wrap rubber bands around the shirt for swirl pattern.

Final step: Once you have completed tying your fabric with rubber bands gently place the fabric into one of the bowls of steeped spices or tea.

Let sit in the dye for at least six hours or overnight for the best results. Remove the garment from the bowl after sitting for six to twelve hours and carefully rinse with COLD water. A simple dunk in and out of cold water is fine. If using a spice ingredient some of the powder will remain on the shirt, this is fine as those areas will be darker. Once you rinse your fabric in cold water the remaining spices will disintegrate into the fabric. After rinsing let the fabric dry outside or in a well-ventilated area.

*Watch carefully as to not let the sun "over-expose" your garment and bleach the natural dye color. You want the sun to dry the fabric but not completely wash out the dye applied. After your t-shirt air dries, you can wear it! Do not wash your shirt the first time, you can wash the shirt the second time you wear it and only in COLD water. Because these are natural dyes the pattern will fade lightly the more you wash it.


Don't be afraid to get creative by mixing and matching colors and using different tying techniques to yield different results. Show us how your tea-dyeing project turned out by tagging us on Instagram @spiceandtea!