Lesson: How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

Pinch and twist to create this classic tie dye pattern!

  • Rubber gloves*
  • Apron or smock*
  • Ziplock bags or plastic wrap (plus a Sharpie if you’re doing this with friends!)

*Indicates inclusion in our Tie Dye Kits!


Swirl pattern tutorial at minute 4:22

How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

step one

Head here to learn how to prep your item for dyeing. Once your item is damp and ready, lay it flat. Identify where you want the center of your swirl and pinch the fabric in that place with your index finger and thumb.

How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

step two

Gently twist the fabric over and over until a swirl begins to form. You can use your non-dominant hand to control the fabric as it spirals to prevent it from towering. Once you get to the end, you may want to manually place the remaining fabric into the spiral formation, especially with pants and long-sleeve shirts.

How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

step three

Once all of your fabric has been incorporated into the swirl creating a big circle, band the fabric like slices of pizza until your swirl feels secure. 6 or 8 "slices" will do. If working with a bulky items such as sweatpants, you may want to add additional vertical and horizontal rubber bands to keep your large item secure.

How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

step four

Rubber-banding your swirl like a pizza pie comes in handy when applying the dye! Apply dye in "slices," covering the front and back of each slice in the same color. This method results in a perfect spiral!

How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

step five

When applying dye, place colors next to each other that will blend nicely together. If you place two colors next to each other that will turn brown when mixed, be sure to leave ample white space between the colors to allow each color room to bleed.

How to Tie Dye Swirl Pattern

step six

Head here for instructions on how to set dye, then rinse, wash & care for your new spiral tie dye creation!


Apply your new-found skill to create awesome things! Here’s a round-up of project inspiration.


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