Nailed It! Sharpie Tie-Dying

Home / DIY / Nailed It! Sharpie Tie-Dying


Nailed-ItWelcome to “Nailed It!”: the article series where I find interesting crafter DIY ideas from the internet and try them out for you.  Then I judge it as either pass (Nailed It!) or fail (Screwed!).






Today’s “Nailed It!” comes from YouTube.  It was recommended to me by the website.  Now they are usually ridiculously off with what they think I like, but this time they got it right.  I am hopelessly addicted to Sharpie markers, and have a fine and ultra fine marker for each and every color they make.  Well, this DIY suggests that Sharpie markers, because of their hydrophobic tendencies, are able to give tie-dye like qualities by replacing the water with simple rubbing alcohol.



Just a quick look at the Sharpie mothership showed that the company already knew about this, and you can look for yourself here.

For today’s “Nailed It!” few items are needed: white shirt (or fabric), Sharpie markers, rubber band, rubbing alcohol and a dropper.  Well, I have about a dozen baby jumpers sitting around for baby crafts – not for me, alas, but for friends and family – so I grabbed one of those.  Instead of a plastic cup, which wouldn’t fit, I used a roll of Duct tape and a piece of cardboard.  The cardboard is to prevent any drops of alcohol from ruining the back of the onesie.  Also, I’ll be darned if I can find my rubber bands, so I grabbed sewing thread.  The key is to use the rubber bands to keep the shirt taut, which comes in handy in a little bit.


First thing’s first… put your plastic cup (or Duct tape and cardboard) under the area you want to tie dye.  Pull it fairly taut and secure with the rubber band (or string).


Pick out your Sharpies.  I used black, apricot, banana clip, and yellow.   Of course you can use more colors, but I hate the idea of random colors mixing into ugly shades of brown.  I am weird like that.


Start with a  nice sized dot in the middle (I used the black, but you can use whatever color you like).  Then add dots around until you get roughly the patter you like.  Leaving more white in between the dots allows the color to graduate into each other better, as I found out after this one.


Put some rubbing alcohol into the dropper.  If you don’t have a dropper, I suggest you simply dip the end of an unsharpened pencil or paint brush, as drops are quite important.  Drop alcohol into the center of the dots (my black dot), one drop at a time and not too fast.  You don’t want to lose any of the ink due to a flooded drop of alcohol falling from the other side of the fabric.  The video suggests 20, so that is what I did here.   As you can see, I rather made an Eye of Sauron.  But I was shooting for a sunflower.  But I kind of like it.


Let it sit for 5 minutes, to let the alcohol spread out as far as it is going to go, and then dry out.  Then you can shift over and make another one… if you so wish.  Experiment time!  For the second design, I used navy blue, blue, caribbean blue, and pastel blue.  And I drew stars and lines instead of dots.  I really do think it is cool.


After a 5 minute wait I moved along and this time tried concentric circles.  I used red, hot pink, jellie pink, pink, pastel pink.  These blended almost seamlessly… and looks quite like a weird pink bullseye to me.


After a 5 minute wait I decided that there was just enough room on the onesie for one more go.  I got all the primary colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and used mixed dots and dashes for the design.  It was a little bigger than the others, so I dropped roughly 30 drops of alcohol instead of 20.  And it started to run off the edge of the Duct tape, close to the string.  But it looks… awesome!


After this last one dries, throw it in the dryer and tumble dry on low for about 15 minutes, just to make sure everything is dry and no longer blending outwards.  I won’t show you a picture of my laundry room, because it is a small and cluttered constant mess.  But here is the end result.


This is a definite… SUCCESS!


While I may not suggest doing such completely random ones that I did, even when they overlapped they look awesome.  You can do larger ones, just stretch the entire shirt over cardboard.  Make sure it is just a little stretched. And when you drop the alcohol, stretch it over something that doesn’t touch the shirt, like a cookie sheet or a clean pail.  If anything is touching the marker area when you drop alcohol to it, the alcohol will just go straight through the shirt onto the cardboard and ruin your idea.  Other than that, let your imagination run wild.

And… if anyone knows a baby that might like this onesie, just let me know.  Happy crafting.

Fatal error: Uncaught Exception: 12: REST API is deprecated for versions v2.1 and higher (12) thrown in /home2/brant/public_html/ on line 1273