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DIY Tie Dye Rainbow Shorts

Who is in the mood for tie dye rainbow shorts?  Make a party out of it. Gather up some friends, buy a bunch of tie dye, make a music playlist, yummy food, 100% cotton shorts and have a big happy tie dye party! 

Rainbows represent happiness, love, light, and natural, magical beauty. I think this is a wonderful way to celebrate Pride month, a birthday, any kind of celebration. Especially if you can plan a party because everyone can come together, have fun and exercise their creativity! 


Hack your winter jeans

Check out the thrift store for second hand shorts or jeans you can cut.

Most discount department stores sell jean shorts.

Start with white shorts to make them super bright!

Don’t have or want shorts? Go for a dress, tank top, a bathing suit, your choice!
How to make rainbow shorts

If you don’t want to take the scissors to your own jeans, you can find cut-offs at the thrift store on the cheap. And of course, stores like Target, Forever 21 or Walmart. Just make sure they are cotton because cotton take the dye best! You could even look for cotton terrycloth shorts or a swimsuit cover-up.

Supplies for tie dye rainbow shorts

Pick up a box of Tulip One-Step Fabric Dye

Plastic gloves, plastic table cover (they should come in the kit)

Cookie cooling rack or some kind of tray you can elevate to prevent the dye from pooling up under the shorts.



Pre-wash the shorts. Even if they are brand new, you need to remove the sizing. And if they are not new – wash them anyway to remove any fabric softener. You want the dye to grip on to the fabric threads, no kind of barriers.

Set out the plastic table cover, then the cooling rack, make sure it is elevated. If it does not have little feet at the bottom, use bricks or s=boxes or rocks to raise it.

Put on the gloves.

Open each bottle of dye and fill with water. Shake until the powder is completely dissolved. Make sure to read the package directions.

Keep your shorts very damp. Set them on the cooling tray. 

By CraftyChica.com
Once all your bottles are filled, set the shorts on the rack, flatten the shorts the best you can, the less ripples means the less the dye will travel where you don’t want it. Smooth them out with your hands. Keep a spray bottle of water on hand if you need to moisten the shorts. 
Starting at one end, apply the dye on the top of the shorts. One straight line, go over it twice but leave enough to use on the back of the shorts.

Rainbow pattern:

Light pink
Dark Pink

Keep going, adding a stripe of each new color. Try to leave a bit of space between each color, but it’s okay if they bleed over a bit, it will all look great when the project is finished.

Once you are done, carefully flip the shorts and repeat the process on the other side. This is so you will look fabulous whether you are coming or going!

Once you finish, cover your shorts with plastic and let them set for six hours. This is how long it takes for the dye to activate.
I often let mine set overnight, then take them to the sink and rinse in cool water. You want to keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Use a sprayer if you have one. Don’t forget to flip the shorts to the backside and rinse there as well.

Once the water runs clear, wash them in the machine by themselves. Hang dry. your shorts are good to go. They won’t bleed in future washes!

How to make rainbow shorts by CraftyChica.com
See? Gorgeous, fun summer shorts that go with anything!

Other ideas for tie dye rainbow shorts

Rather than apply the dye in vertical stripes, try horizontal stripes.

Use a foam circle to blot the dye in circles

Use a brush to paint a design on the shorts.

After your shorts are done, use a black fabric marker to draw doodles or write phrases.

Add embroidered accents.

Stitch on patches or appliques.

Glue on small crystals to match with each color to make your shorts sparkle!



Special thanks to my niece, Sarah, for being my supermodel!

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6 thoughts on “DIY Tie Dye Rainbow Shorts”

  1. She has two different dyes?…. Im confused which one to use, brand wise, since she has a pic of “Create Basics” and then tells us to grab “Tulips”. The only reason I am hesitate on doing this project is becauase I have pasted experience with one of these brands’ color coming out TERRIBLE. Plus i have NEVER seen bright colors like these. PLEASE HELP! D: I really want to try this…


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