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DIY Tie Dye Bucket Hats

Bucket hats are easily the biggest headgear trend for summer 2021 — not to mention they’re a classic style that are as practical as they are adorable! (Hello sun protection in the front and back!)

In this post, learn how to make tie dye bucket hats, including our three favorite patterns for this particular hat shape: scrunch, accordion, and mini bullseyes.

You can find 100% cotton white dyeable bucket hats over in the TNTP Shop, which is what we’re dyeing in today’s post! When tie dyeing bucket hats, make sure that the exterior fabric is 100% cotton or 100% another all-natural fiber to ensure that the fabric takes the dye. If you’re hoping to dye a synthetic fabric like polyester, you’ll need to use a dye that is specifically for synthetic fabrics, like this one from Rit.

We’ll be using Tulip® One-Step Tie-Dye® in today’s tutorial, which makes dyeing super easy as you don’t have to pre-treat your bucket hats with a fixative! Just dampen your hat, tie it up, and apply your liquid dye! In this post, we’re also sharing how we created our own custom tie dye colors by diluting and blending dye powders to make our dream pastel rainbow!

Let’s get started!



*Item is included in our TNTP Tie Dye Kits!


We’ve broken down this tutorial by pattern instructions, including step-by-steps for how to tie then dye Accordion, Scrunch, and Mini Bullseyes patterns, which you’ll find lower down in this post.

Before tying up your patterns, start the tie dye process by wetting your 100% cotton bucket hats, making sure that the entirety of each hat gets wet, then ringing out the excess water, leaving your hats damp rather than dripping.


In this tutorial, we’re using Tulip® One-Step Tie-Dye®, which works differently than most other dyes in that you do not have to prep your fabric with a fixative before applying the liquid dye. If you’re using another brand of dye for your bucket hats, be sure to follow the instructions on your dye package.

If you’re using Tulip® One-Step Tie-Dye® along with us, awesome!!!! Follow along the instructions here to activate your desired dye colors…

First: put on gloves before touching your dye powder! The powder will stain your skin, but if it does, note that it’s non-toxic and will come off after a couple of showers. Depending on what colors you’re wanting to dye your bucket hats, you can mix your dye one of two ways:

  1. Full-intensity color: Pour an entire (or almost entire) packet of dye powder into a 4oz squeeze bottle, top off with water and shake well until all dye powder is blended.
  2. Pastel and/or custom color: Use a 1.25ml scoop or 1/4 tbsp and consult our Tie Dye Color Chart to create your desired colors! Scoop the indicated dye powder amounts into 4oz squeeze bottles, top off with water and shake well until all dye powder is blended.

Here are the color “recipes” from our Tie Dye Color Chart we used in this tutorial. (Note that the “scoop” size is 1.25ml or 1/4 tbsp, which we added to 4oz squeeze bottles):

  • Light Red: 1 scoop of Red
  • Mandarin: 1 scoop of Orange + 1 scoop of Yellow
  • Light Yellow: 1 scoop of Yellow
  • Light Pink: 1 scoop of Fuchsia
  • Lime Green: 4 scoops of Yellow + 1/4 scoop of Green
  • Light Teal: 1/2 scoop of Green + 1 1/2 scoop of Turquoise
  • Light Purple: 1 scoop of Purple

Once your bucket hats are damp and your dye is mixed, it’s time to TIE DYE!!!


The Accordion-fold method is a really easy and fool-proof pattern for this style of hat! If you’re wanting to start with the “easiest” pattern, this is the way to go.

Start by laying your hat flat on its side and match up the bottom of the brim plus the seam above the brim so the hat is perfectly flattened in half. Next, begin accordion folding the hat from one side to the other, matching up the seam of the brim as you go. (Accordion folding means folding over one way then back the other way so your fabric ends up doing kind of a zig-zag.)

Once you’ve accordion-folded your entire hat, it’s time to bind it up! Start by wrapping a rubber band just below the top point of your folded hat. Add another rubber band close to the middle of the hat, then a third band along the seam above its brim.

Each of the banded sections calls for its own dye color! Add whichever colors you like, making sure to flip the hat over and dye the back the same colors as well. To minimize white spots on your hat, you can squeeze dye in between the folds of the hat.


The tie dye Scrunch pattern is a classic choice that’s the most understated tie dye pattern, in our opinion. You can use multiple colors to bring this pattern to life, like we did here, or keep it extra simple by using just one color.

To scrunch, start by laying out the hat totally flat round-ways — in other words, stand the hat up as if you were about to put it on, then smoosh down the top so the hat lays flat and round. Begin scrunching the center of the hat to create lots of little squiggly folds.

Scrunch in part of the brim as well and bind up one side of that by zig-zagging your rubber bands. Do the same thing on the other side then add another rubber band or two to the middle section. The key is to consider exposed surface area, so just make sure enough of the hat’s fabric is exposed so that you’ll have plenty of fabric to take the dye!

If you’re using multiple colors, start with one color and apply it to a few different areas on your hat. Do the same thing with the next color, then the next color, etc. Flip the hat over and dye the backside the same way.

If going with just one color, make sure to leave some small empty splotches of white to ensure you get enough negative space between your monochromatic scrunches!


Mini bullseyes bring the “wow” factor to a tie dyed bucket hat. If you’re looking for a truly impactful tie dye pattern, this is the way to go!

To make your bullseyes, pull out a long point from the top section of your bucket hat and wrap two rubber bands around it, spacing them out from one another to create distinct sections between which to apply dye. Repeat to until you have your desired number of bullseyes (we found that 3 fit nicely!).

You can either leave the rest of the hat un-banded if wanting a solid background for your bullseyes, or else scrunch up the brim and add rubber bands to secure the scrunches in place.

Add the dye to each of the points first, making sure to point them away from the rest of the hat so the dye doesn’t drip onto it. Once all the points are dyed, add dye to the rest of the hat.


Place each hat in its own plastic bag and let it sit 6-24 hours (we usually just let our items soak overnight). Once your items are done soaking, remove the rubber bands and rinse them thoroughly under lukewarm water, then wash them in a washing machine on a normal cycle using detergent. Let the hats air dry to prevent them from shrinking.

Enjoy rocking your awesome new tie dye bucket hats!!!

You can find all of our Tie Dye Tutorials here in The Neon Tea Party’s Online Craft Studio!

Be sure to leave any questions below and share your tie dye bucket hats with us on Instagram @theneonteaparty! We can’t wait to see what you create!

Peace, love & neon,

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