How to tie dye spirals on fabric

step-by-step instructions to make stunning tie-dye spiral patterns on fabric.

spirals in tie dye

A spiral tie dye pattern is the quintessential tie dye pattern of all. The moment you think of tie and dye this is the pattern that comes to mind. They are usually multi colored in the brightest colors you know of, in a swirl of a pattern that gives you a headache. The kind that swears you off tie and dye for ever.

tie dye spirals in bright colors

But it needn’t be. You may change your mind like me and want to make this pattern for ever – in the right colors!

So what is so special about a spiral?

It is a shape that winds around a center and makes you dizzy if you look at it long enough. Well, when you wear the spiral on your tie dyed clothing, it is the viewer who is going to be lightheaded, not you. So go ahead 🙂

spiral pattern used for the tie dye

Spiral tie dye technique

The spiral pattern is made on the fabric by twirling the fabric or clothing in a special way.

The spiral pattern is created by twisting the fabric of the garment into a tight coil and then tying it with string or rubber bands. The dye is applied and material then allowed to dry. When the dye is cured for a few hours, the fabric is released from the coil and you get the beautiful spiral tie dyed pattern.

The twisting or twirling is done the way the spiral looks. How this twirling is done is explained below.

How to do the tying for the spiral pattern

Colors used for the tie dye

colors used for the tie dye in a squeeze bottle.

You can decide to make this pattern on a tshirt (the most commonly used for tie dye – the plain white tshirt in pure cotton), bedsheets, napkins, scarves and even other clothing, as long as you do not go overboard on colors.
(You may also, it is your clothing; who am I to say. Do whatever you want to do. Some color-combination recommendations are given below, at the end of this post if you do not have any particular preference). 
Use only colors you love. Whatever I do, I do not go far away from blue, somehow. You guessed it, my favourite color. Select the colors and color combinations you like and dye away.
You can either prepare your dye solution from powders available or buy the mixable bottle dyes available for tie dye. One single color will be there on one squeeze bottle .

Prepare the fabric/clothing

Keep the fabric flat in front of you.
It is better if it is a little damp (not wet, there is a difference. If the fabric is wet, the colors will not be distinct. It will spread and you may not get the result you want if distinct colors are what you want. The fabric should be just damp enough to make it receptive to dye) You have remove all sizing from the clothing/fabric before dying to make it dye receptive. 

Locate the center of the spiral on your clothing

You have to catch the fabric or clothing at the place where you want the spiral to start. (it maynot bet the center of the fabric or clothing. You may want the spiral’s center at your waist, or near the neck or at one side of the hip. Pinch the fabric at this exact spot and then do the twirling around this.

 Pinch the fabric at the center of your spiral.

Start twirling it around where you started the pinch.

Carefully arrange the folds of the fabric as you twirl.

Continue the twirling till you have a rosette shaped fabric in front of you.

Now is the time to tie. Basically to make the spiral tie dye pattern the tying is done to compartmentalise the material into different sections for different colors. Not to do the resist dyeing that is common for usuall tie dying. You can use rubber bands or cords for the tying.

I have used 3 rubber bands here to make 8 sections. The tiying should be done in such a way that the sections are of equal width.

Now your pattern will be the result of where you will put the dyes on these sections

One color spiral

This will create a spiral pattern that has the base color of your garment ( in my case white, you can use any light colored fabric/clothing) and another color which forms the pattern

Twirl and twist the fabric or garment as discussed earlier to form the spiral shape and then drop the dye on the two opposite sections as in the picture below.

You have to flip the material and do the dyeing on the back too.

After placing the dye, you have to wait for some time – the curing time for the dye ( usually 6-8 hrs is the recommended period for the curing of the dye). Keep the material in a damp place over and under a plastic sheet or inside a ziplock bag. After the curing is done, wash it as it is with the tying all in place or opened and straightened. You may be impatient like me and want to know what design has come up. That is the beauty of tie and dye – each time you do, with the same set of colors and material, the effect is somewhat different.

As you rinse, the water should run clear. If it doesnt it means, the dye is still there. Anyways it will run in the next wash so might as well wash it all out. Use detergent if you want and then dry and press. Your spiral pattern will be beautifully done.

2 color or multi color spiral in tie dye.

For this effect you will be using two colors, and dyeing the different sections with these two colors.

You have to apply different colors on the sections alternatively to get the 2 color effect/ multi color effect.

You can either skip some sections to keep the base color or entirely fill up with the two colors. Your choice.

Dye is applied only on one section alternatively.




Subscribe to get weekly notifications of posts in your email

Yes, I want to

Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
Your opinion is important. Leave a comment