Sunburst Tie Dye T-shirt With Rit Dye

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By EcoCraft Contributor Amy from the blog The EcoCrafter

Take your tie-dye skills beyond the basic scrunch with this easy-to-make sunburst pattern. It looks impressive but is super easy to make. So grab a stained t-shirt or get a new one and add some color with this tie-dye sunburst.

The dye application for this design is really easy and allows for sloppy application without ruining the results. It also used Rit dyes which are non-toxic and easy to use making this a fun family project.

Choosing Colors For Tie-Dyeing

I used blue, red, and purple but you can experiment with the colors you like. For best results stick to the two primary colors and the color they make when mixed (for example, yellow, blue, and green) since Rit dyes run when washed and colors can mix.


  • T-shirt (100% cotton or less than 35% synthetic blend)
  • Rit All-Purpose dye (here are the colors I used blue, red, purple)
  • two squirt bottle
  • spray bottle with water
  • yogurt container and a small cup
  • plastic wrap
  • gloves
  • cloth
  • Something to protect surfaces (I used a bus bin and styrofoam trays)
  • microwave


Fold the t-shirt into a triangle. This is a common starting point for many tie-dye designs. If you are unfamiliar with this fold see full instructions here. This step is a bit complicated but after this, I promise everything is super easy.

Roll the triangle starting at the point into a spiral.

It will look like this when it is finished being rolled.

Place the t-shirt spiral up inside the yogurt tube. I have a small plastic cup on the bottom of the yogurt tub so that if any dye drips down the t-shirt will not be sitting in the dye. Spray the t-shirt with a bit of water to break the surface tension and help the dyes absorb. Without a bit of water, the dyes tend to roll off the fabric making the application sloppy and increasing dye waste.

Add red and purple die to the spiral. I made lines but any designs will work. Feel free to experiment with patterns of dye on the spiral.


Make sure to put enough dye. You want to be able to see that the dye has soaked into the t-shirt so that you know that all the triangles have been dyed. Using more or less dye at this stage will make the sunburst lines wider or thinner.


Remove the t-shirt and add blue dye to the yogurt tub. I used enough dye so that when the t-shirt is added the blue comes close to the red and purple but leaves some white area between the colors.

Let the t-shirt soak in the dye bath until the desired color is reached. This could be anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how strong the dye is mixed and the desired shade.

Remove the t-shirt from the dye and squeeze out all the excess dye.

Wrap the t-shirt in plastic wrap being careful to fully seal the edges.

Microwave the plastic-wrapped t-shirt for two minutes on high. Place it on a paper towel, cloth, or microwave-safe dish to protect the microwave.

Once the t-shirt has cooled, unwrap it to reveal your design.

Rinse it thoroughly under cold water until the water runs clear. Continue rinsing in warm water until that also runs clear. Expect some colors to run.

Wash the t-shirt with a mild detergent in the washing machine. The t-shirt may stain other clothes at this point so be mindful of what you wash it with.

Here is the finished design.

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