How to Tie Dye a Baby Onesie

How to Tie Dye a Baby Onesie

When it comes to fashion-forward tie-dyed clothing, why should grownups get to have all the fun? If you are looking for an awesome way to add a pop of color to your little one’s wardrobe or you’re searching for the perfect do-it-yourself baby shower gift for a fun new mom, you can’t go wrong with tie dye. Tie dyeing is also a great way to breathe new life into those food-stained onesies that have gotten shoved to the back of your child’s dresser. Whether you are a DIY-aficionado or more of a crafting novice, making tie-dyed apparel is a project that is easy and enjoyable for people of all skill levels. Transforming a plain white onesie into a one-of-a-kind work of art requires little more than a creative spirit, and the results are amazing. 

Here at The Adair Group, we offer much more than just bulk wholesale t-shirts. We also have plain cotton onesies that are just waiting to be customized. Whether you use them for your own child’s wardrobe, dye them to give as gifts or even encourage guests to tie dye them at your baby shower, you can get the onesies you need for your project without breaking the bank. 

Gather Up Your Supplies

One of the best things about tie dyeing is that, unlike many other crafts, it does not require a lot of supplies. Everything you need is readily available, too, so you will not have to worry about wasting time searching for everything you need. Before starting this project, make sure you have everything you need close at hand. 

White Onesies

Shop Our Selection of White Onesies!

Look for onesies that are made from 100 percent cotton. This is essential because natural fibers absorb dye better than synthetic ones. While it’s possible to dye other fabrics, they likely will not turn out as vibrant and colorful as cotton. We recommend stocking up so you have extra onesies to dye just in case your first attempt does not turn out quite as you had hoped. 

Tie Dye Kit

Tie dye kits are available just about anywhere. When shopping for one, be sure to make sure the included dye is non-toxic. Babies have extremely sensitive skin so it is wise to opt for products that present the least risk for skin irritation and allergic reactions. Plus, using non-toxic dye ensures the safety of whoever is completing the project. Whether it’s you, a family member, a friend or anyone else, taking extra precautions to ensure safety is never a bad idea. 

Look to see what is included in the kit. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, make sure it includes rubber bands and gloves. If it does not, these things will need to be purchased separately. 

look inside the tie dye kit

Additional Supplies

Making tie dye onesies can be messy, so make sure you have a plastic tablecloth or trash bag to cover your work surface. You will also need paper towels and plastic bags to place the onesies in while the dye does its job. 

When making several onesies at the same time or doing it as an activity at your baby shower, you will need a way to make sure they stay damp until the dye is applied, too. The dye absorbs into the fabric better if it is damp, so you might need a couple of spray bottles filled with water to spritz the onesies if they get too dry. 

Prepare the Onesies for Dye

Before applying the dye, it is essential to wash the onesies. Even if they are brand new, they could have residue on them from the manufacturing process. Washing and drying also pre-shrinks them. Launder using warm water and your usual detergent and then dry. Do not use liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets as these products create a coating on clothing and make it more difficult to dye. 

After washing the onesies, check the instructions included with your tie dye kit. There may be additional steps to prepping the garments for dye. If you are using a one-step kit, though, you will most likely just need to dunk the onesies in water and wring them out. 

Mix the Dye

Most tie dye kits come with plastic bottles containing powdered dye. Before you can apply the dye to blank apparel, you need to add water and shake well. Check the instructions that came with your kit to determine precisely how to do this. Be careful when mixing. Even with the cap on, some of the liquid dye may seep out. Keep mess to a minimum by shaking the bottles over the sink or outside. Make sure you have plastic gloves on, too! 

Get Ready

Tie dyeing onesies is a great project to do in the backyard — especially if you are trying to keep the mess to a minimum. Whether you are working outside or in, you will need a table at which to work. Cover the table with plastic and add a layer of paper towels on top. 

Next, make sure you are ready by changing into old clothes or putting on an art smock. No matter how careful you are, there is a good chance that some of the dye will make its way onto your clothes. Play it safe and wear clothes that you will not mind getting messy. 

Gather up all of your supplies and put everything within easy reach on your work surface. 

tie dye a baby onesie steps

Tie the Onesies

Before you can jump into the dyeing part of the project, you need to take care of the tying part! There are lots of different tie dye techniques, and each one creates its own unique pattern. If you are going for the classic swirl, pinch the fabric in the middle of the onesie and twirl it into a flat spiral. Then, use rubber bands to hold the spiral in place and divide it into wedges (like a pizza!). 

If a spiral isn’t quite the look you want, get creative! There is no wrong way to tie dye garments. Feel free to experiment with different techniques or come up with your own method of gathering and tying the fabric. Since baby onesies are so tiny, you just need to be careful not to gather too much material into each section. Small sections work best. 

Apply the Dye

Once you have finished tying all your onesies, it is time for the really fun part: Applying the dye. Apply one color at a time and work in sections. Make sure you are fully saturating each area for the most vibrant results. As you dye, be mindful of what colors you place next to each other, and avoid using too many colors. Placing primary colors (red, blue and yellow) next to each other creates lovely secondary colors. But putting colors like green and orange next to each other yields brown. You may also end up with a muddy brown look if you apply too many different colors to a small area. We recommend using four colors or fewer for the best results. 

When you have finished applying dye to one side, flip the onesie over. Add dye to the other side, making sure the fabric is fully saturated. If the dye isn’t penetrating the material well, make sure the onesie isn’t too dry. If it is, add a bit of water to help the color soak in. 

Let Set

When you are finished with the dye, place each onesie in its own plastic bag. Grocery bags work well for this, but zippered food bags work well, too. In a pinch, you can even wrap them in plastic cling wrap. The goal is to prevent the onesies from drying out while giving the dye plenty of time to absorb into the fabric fully. 

Place the bags aside and let the dye set for a minimum of six to eight hours. The longer you wait before rinsing them out, the more vibrant your onesies will be. 

Remove Bands and Rinse

Put on a pair of gloves and take the onesies out of their bags. Carefully remove the rubber bands. Cutting them off is usually the easiest option. Rinse the onesies with cool water until the water runs clear. Be patient! This might take a while, but it is crucial to remove all of the excess dye prior to laundering. 

rinse the onesie

Wash and Dry

Set your washing machine to the largest load setting (even if you only make one or two onesies). Wash the onesies with hot water and a little bit of laundry detergent and then dry. We recommend washing and drying the onesies separately from other garments for the first several washes to prevent stains on other clothes. 

Make It Last

Kids are notoriously messy, so you will probably be washing their new onesies a lot. Unfortunately, repeated washes can cause even the most vibrant tie dye to fade. However, the good news is that there are things you can do to make your little one’s new tie dyed apparel last

If there are any stains that need to be tackled, be careful when choosing a pre-treatment product. Look for one that is color-safe and does not contain bleach. You don’t want to inadvertently remove the dye while trying to remove the stain! Before washing, turn the onesie inside out. 

Wash using cold water and a color-safe detergent that is formulated to work in cold water.  This will help keep the dye from bleeding. Avoid washing tie dyed onesies with heavy garments like jeans and sweatshirts. They cause friction in the wash and tend to speed up the fading process. Use your machine’s gentle or short wash setting — and don’t use any laundry additives, such as liquid fabric softener. A small amount of mild laundry detergent is all you need when it comes to cleaning tie dyed apparel without causing it to fade.

When possible, hang your tie dyed onesies out to dry instead of putting them in the dryer. However, keep in mind that sunlight fades colors, so you do not want to put these stylish garments in direct sun. If you do need to dry these garments in the dryer, avoid using dryer sheets. 

Toddler Photographing the Photographer

Take It to the Next Level

Once you have mastered the art of tie dyeing onesies, use your newfound skills to customize other apparel. You can never go wrong with tie dye shirts for adults and kids! Socks, leggings and even blankets can be tie dyed, too. Have fun experimenting with different garments and accessories. 

The Adair Group Has Stylish Tie Dye Shirts for Men, Women and Kids

As your skills expand, consider learning different patterns and techniques. Spirals are great for beginners, but there are all sorts of complex designs that can be created using strings or rubber bands and fabric dye. Learning advanced tie dye techniques takes time and patience, but the results are well worth the effort. 

Wrapping Up

Whether you are customizing your child’s wardrobe, making a gift or even looking for a new handmade product to sell in your store, making tie dyed baby onesies is an excellent option. This project is perfect for people of all ages and skill levels — and it is a lot of fun. 

At The Adair Group, we have the plain white onesies you need for this activity. And with our low wholesale prices, you can stock up without going broke. Shop our full collection to find everything you need. We also have stylish bulk t-shirts for kids and adults that are perfect for tie dyeing. Check them out today!


Image Credits

Michelle D. Milliman/

Steve Snowden/

Pichit Tongma/





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