How to Tie Dye a Gray Shirt Using Sublimation

tie dye gray shirt

Tie dye has always been a fun and vibrant style of shirt, but the traditional method can be messy and time-consuming. Thankfully, there’s an easier way to achieve a cool tie-dye look using sublimation ink. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create intricate tie-dye patterns with different folding techniques, all without the need for dye and water. Plus, we’ll be using a gray polyester shirt for a modern and stylish twist.

What You’ll Need

Before diving into the tie-dye process, gather all the necessary materials and tools:

  • Sublimation printer (e.g., Epson EcoTank with Hiipoo Ink)
  • Sublimation Ink
  • 125g A-SUB sublimation paper
  • White and gray polyester shirts
  • Heat-resistant tape
  • White cardstock
  • Cricut Autopress or Cricut EasyPress
  • Butcher paper
  • Lint roller
  • Proper ventilation for safety
  • Adhesive paper for adding designs
  • T-shirt guides for correct placement
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Tie-dye designs (available for free download)

Choosing the Sublimation Design

You have the option to use your own colorful PNG file or choose from free tie-dye designs available for download. offers a variety of backgrounds and illustrated designs that you can mix and match to create your unique tie-dye pattern.

Preparing the Shirt

To ensure a smooth tie-dye process, preheat your press to 385 degrees Fahrenheit and lint roll the shirt thoroughly. Use adhesive paper to mask the area where you want to add the main design, ensuring it stays in place during the process.

The Folding Techniques

There are three folding techniques to explore for different tie-dye effects:

  1. Circular Fold: Creates a traditional tie-dye look with the option to add more rounds for intricate results.
  2. Accordion Fold: Produces lines of dye and white areas, giving a distinct pattern to the shirt.
  3. Scrunching: Offers a free-flowing, unpredictable design.

The Sublimation Process

Carefully follow the steps for each folding technique, securing the sublimation print in place with heat-resistant tape and pressing the shirt at 385 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 seconds. Allow the shirt to cool between pressings to prevent ghosting.

Infusible Ink Alternative

If you don’t have a sublimation printer, don’t worry! You can still achieve a tie-dye look using Infusible Ink transfer sheets. Follow similar folding techniques and pressing instructions to get stunning results.

Scraps Alternative

For a creative and resourceful approach, use scraps of Infusible Ink transfer sheets or old sublimation prints to create unique tie-dye designs on your shirt. Experiment with different placements and enjoy the unpredictability of the results.

Comparing Tie-Dye Results

Each folding technique creates a distinct tie-dye pattern, from organic and free-flowing to precise and lined designs. Choose the method that suits your preference and explore endless possibilities for customization.

Care Instructions

To preserve the vibrancy and longevity of your sublimated tie-dye shirt, wash it in cold water with regular detergent, avoid using bleach, and dry it on medium or low heat.


Can I use any type of shirt for sublimation tie-dye?

For sublimation tie-dye, it’s best to use shirts made of 100% polyester or a polyester blend with a high polyester content. Sublimation ink bonds with the polyester fibers, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting colors. Avoid using cotton shirts, as they won’t work with the sublimation process.

Is sublimation tie-dye suitable for beginners?

Yes, sublimation tie-dye is beginner-friendly! The process doesn’t involve messy dyes or complicated techniques. With step-by-step instructions and various folding methods to choose from, it’s easy to achieve beautiful tie-dye patterns without much experience.

Can I wash my sublimation tie-dye shirt like regular clothing?

Yes, sublimation tie-dye shirts are designed to withstand regular washing. However, to maintain their colors and vibrancy, it’s best to wash them in cold water with regular detergent. Avoid using bleach and opt for medium or low heat when drying.

How can I get more creative with sublimation tie-dye?

Sublimation tie-dye offers endless possibilities for creativity. Experiment with different folding techniques, try combining multiple patterns, or use scraps of sublimation prints to create unique designs. The more you explore and experiment, the more exciting and personalized your tie-dye shirts will become.

Can I apply the sublimation tie-dye method on other fabric items besides shirts?

Yes, you can apply the sublimation tie-dye method to various fabric items like tote bags, pillowcases, and more. Ensure that the fabric is polyester or has a high polyester content for the sublimation ink to bond effectively.

Is sublimation tie-dye suitable for kids’ projects and crafts?

Sublimation tie-dye can be a fantastic craft activity for kids, especially with its mess-free and straightforward process. Adult supervision and assistance might be required during the pressing stage, as it involves heat.

Can I mix sublimation tie-dye with traditional tie-dye techniques?

Absolutely! Feel free to combine sublimation tie-dye with traditional tie-dye methods to create unique and dynamic designs. You can use dyes and sublimation ink together, explore different folding techniques, or add extra elements to your tie-dye projects for a truly personalized touch.


Sublimation tie-dye offers a fun and less messy alternative to traditional tie-dye methods. With the freedom to create unique patterns using various folding techniques, you can enjoy a stylish and personalized tie-dye shirt that will last for years to come. Embrace your creativity and share your tie-dye creations with us in the comments!

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