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How to Tie Dye Socks

Colourful tie dye socks using 3 tying methods

Learn how to tie dye socks using our easy step by step photo and video tutorials. Transform ordinary white socks into colourful works of art with this quick and easy dyeing process. This DIY project is such a fun summer craft for both kids and adults!

Add some colour to your sock drawer and make your own custom socks using 3 different tying methods. Plus keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks for creating different patterns and colour combinations!

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How to Tie Dye Socks

Add some colourful flair to your outfit with tie dye socks! These dyed socks are so fun and easy to make.

Author: Debbie Chapman

Check Out The Video Tutorial:


Step 1: Find what you need

Step 2: Soak the socks in soda ash water

Step 4: Fold and tie your socks

Step 5: Add dye to the socks

Step 6: Rinse out the excess dye

Helpful Tips:

  1. Pre-wash your socks before tie-dyeing to help the dye adhere better to the fabric.
  2. Experiment with different folding and tying methods to achieve unique designs on your tie dye socks.
  3. Make sure you follow the specific instructions for your brand of tie dye. Different kits will have different steps — for example the Tulip brand tie dye doesn’t have the soda ash as a separate ingredient.

Wearing rainbow tie dye socks

What type of socks are best for tie dye?

Dye absorbs better into natural fibers, so make sure you buy a pair of white socks made from cotton or bamboo. Most socks are made from a blend of cotton and another fiber, so try to buy ones that have at least 70% cotton or more.

Synthetic fibers, like polyester, don’t hold the dye well. It’s okay if the sock is a cotton-poly blend, as long as the percentage of cotton is high enough.

Should you tie dye socks while they’re wet or dry?

You can tie dye the socks either wet or dry, but it’s recommended that beginners tie dye socks while wet or slightly damp.

Damp socks are easier to shape and tie together. The dye also penetrates the fabric better when the socks are at least a little bit wet.

Tie dyeing dry socks gives you good separation between colours, since the dye doesn’t spread as much. It gives you more control over where the dye goes, but it can also result in uneven colours.

Blue and green tie dye socks with dye and white socks beside them

How long do you leave socks in tie-dye?

You should leave your socks in the plastic bags at least overnight, about 8 – 12 hours. However, for the brightest colours it’s recommended to leave the socks in dye for 24 or even 48 hours.

How messy is it to make tie dye socks?

It can definitely be messy to do tie dye crafts. We recommend doing your tie dyeing outside if you can. Also make sure you wear an apron or play clothes you don’t mind getting dye on.

If you work inside, make sure you protect your working surface. Make sure the lids are tight on your tie dye bottles and shake them over a tray or the sink, just in case there’s any leaks.

Pile of assorted tie dye socks on a wooden background

What do I need to make tie dye socks?

To make tie dye socks you’ll need socks, of course, and a few other supplies. You can buy tie dye kits that contain all or most of the items you need.

Find these kits at Walmart, craft stores, or online. They make it really easy to get started!

If you want to buy supplies separately, be sure to grab the following:

  1. “Fiber reactive” dye: These are cold water dyes that are fixed chemically, instead of with heat.
  2. Rubber bands: Used to tie the socks before dyeing. You can also use string, but elastics are easier to work with.
  3. Squeeze bottles: To combine the dye and water and to make it easy to dye the socks.
  4. Soda ash: This substance activates the dye and helps it stick to the material.
  5. Ziploc bags or plastic wrap: Something to contain the mess and keep the fabric damp while the dye penetrates the material.
  6. Gloves: To stop the dye from getting on your hands!

What tie dye kit is best for making tie dye socks?

We recommend buying the Tulip brand tie dye kit. It’s a one-step dye, so there’s no need to add the soda ash separately, and it results in socks with bright and bold colours.

You can also buy tie dye kits at the dollar store if you’re looking for a low cost craft, but the quality of the dye isn’t as good. The dye itself doesn’t last for longer than a day (other brands can be used for several days), and in our experience it results in uneven dyes with dull pastel colours.

DIY tie dye socks

Learn how to tie dye socks and then have a tie dye party, turning this simple craft project into a fun group activity for the whole family. It’s so cool to create different designs and patterns!

Tie dye socks fun summer activity

Here’s even more colourful craft ideas:

Shrinky Dink Keychain

Shrinky dink keychain ideas

Puffy Sidewalk Paint

Puffy sidewalk chalk paint

Sharpie Dyed Tile Coaster

Rainbow coasters with Sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol

Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!