Tie Dye Painting Ideas And Techniques Anyone Can Do

Let’s be honest, tie dye is fun to do, but not always fashionable to wear. And there are just so many T-shirts and scarves you can store in your closet before you have to admit you gave a problem.

So, let’s do some tie dye painting instead! A lot of times, it will be different than what you’ve learned to do with your shirts, but it will be fun anyway. So, let’s give it a go!

Tie Dye Without Tying or Dying

Most of you have done this type of project in school. But, just in case, let’s go over what you can do and what you can use to do it.

Acrylic pour tie dye painting

WOW! Rainbow Starburst - Gorgeous Tie-Dye Effect - Acrylic Pouring Technique - Fluid Art Tutorial

Acrylic paints are the easiest medium for tie dye projects. They allow you to easily create almost identical swirls and blends, with an almost identical amount of effort. Translation, it’s quick and easy.

You will need to know your basic pouring techniques and how to use a blowdryer.

Brushwork Tie Dye Painting

brushwork tie dye

Here, you are using brush strokes to mimic the classic tie dye. You can use acrylic, gouache, or oil paints.

It takes a lot of time and work, but you can achieve amazing effects. Depending on the amount of blending, you can either get the traditional look or something a bit more unique.

Watercolor Tie Dye Painting

Watercolor tie dye

This one is the most difficult medium when it comes to tie dye painting, but actually, the easiest way to learn how to work with watercolors. You will play with brushes, water, canvases for watercolor, and color saturation, mixing mediums, etc. to achieve different pattern and effects.

Good Vibes

good vibes
good luck
awsome tye dye

Okay, so you know the basics, and you’ve maybe a thousand rainbow swirls already. What now? Well, let’s spread some good vibes.

These colorful backgrounds are perfect for spreading positive and funny messages. And, as long as you know how to write, you will know how to make these.

Calligraphy skills are desired, but not necessary. As long as you didn’t learn penmanship in medical school, it will do.

Pro tip: white font will always look great, but if you are not sure if it will show up, remember the meme law: white lined with black shows up on everything.

The Outline

tye dye painting
tie dye painting
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When you search the interwebs for tie dye artwork, you will find plenty of these? Why? Because it works.

Black linework over colorful patterns works. And it looks particularly good if you match your subject to the technique (cough, cough, Bob Marley).

You can do this with any medium, but it’s best to pair ink with watercolors and acrylic with everything else.

Metallic Accents

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Everything matches with metals. A few strokes of gold or silver acrylic paint and your tie dye painting get a totally different vibe.

You can either go on full psychedelic with all the colors of the rainbow and metallic swirls or keep the palette monochrome or complimentary. Your options are endless!

Tie Dye Painting, Level 999

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Okay, remember how I said anyone can do these techniques? I lied. Total clickbait.

Or is it? After all, there is no limit to art and where a certain technique can take you. For now, you may only be thinking about doing rainbow swirls and maybe adding fun pictures and messages on top. However, just look at what you can achieve using the same technique!

As long as you keep at it, there are no limits to what you can do!

Silk Tie Dye Painting

If you were ever to get into silk painting, make it now! Unless you are already part of the club.

The mere mention of silk may sound intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. If you are remotely good with watercolors, silk painting should be a breeze. Even if you are not, there is another way to go about it. And we’ll borrow ideas from that method today.


  • White or unbleached silk. Viscose is great as well; lightweight cotton muslin will do.
  • A frame. You can use an embroidery frame or a plain picture frame you don’t mind ruining. For a plain frame, you will need tacks as well.
  • Needle and thread, or a sewing machine to hem the silk.
  • Fabric chalk.
  • Silk paints, like these ones from Pebeo or Jacquard.
  • Colorless gutta like this one from Pebeo. You can also use metallic and other colors, but I think that clear will work better with tie dye.


  1. Prep the silk or viscose by pre-shrinking it. You can do it by washing in the washing machine at the highest recommended temperature. Let dry completely, and iron if necessary.
  2. Spread the silk over the frame. It needs to be as tight as possible without distorting either the warp or the weft. Don’t worry about the edges because we will trim them later.
  3. Turn the frame around and draw your design with fabric chalk on the wrong side. Don’t make it too complicated for now.
  4. Turn the frame back and trace the drawing with clear gutta. Leave it to dry. Brush away the chalk if needed.
  5. Remove the silk from the frame and proceed with your favorite tie dye painting technique using silk paints. If using cleat gutta, try not to have too much white space in between.
  6. Set the color per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Trim and hem the silk.

This is just one way to play with silk, but you can learn more if you watch these videos by Royal Talens and Nadin Silk Painting Workshop.

Tie Dye Painting Canvas

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This one is pretty much piggybacking on the stuff we talked about in the previous section. In essence, you can tie dye a canvas before mounting it on a frame and painting.

The problem is that you will not be able to use oil paints since that requires special treatment that will destroy our tie dye. Acrylics and ink will work great, so use those.

Still, it’s an interesting idea to play with that can produce some lovely art like this painting from @scarletdragonflyco and @clemspainting.

Let the Tie Dying Begin!

Pick one of the easy beginner projects, like acrylic pour tie dying and see how you like it. You can then always level up from there. If you do decide to try tie dying a shirt too, you must check out these awesome heart tie dye ideas. Happy crafting!