All you need to get started is one white or light-colored sheet and a tie-dye kit from your local craft store. I used a Tulip-brand kit—which includes everything you need, including pre-bottled dyes, gloves, a small tarp, rubber bands and complete instructions—and highly recommend it. You can get smaller kits with three to five dyes, but I love the bigger kit for the great variety of colors.
If using a new sheet, you'll want to wash and dry the sheet before starting. I skipped this step, and my sheet didn't want to soak up the color like it was supposed to!
There are a million different tie-dye designs, and a simple internet search will yield plenty of fun tutorials. For the stripe effect that I went for, I folded my sheet in half lengthwise twice, and then accordion folded it. After folding, I tied rubber bands every few inches to keep it all together.
Now for the fun part! If using the Tulip kit, you’ll add water to the dye that comes ready to go in the bottles. (Once you've added the water to each dye, they will lose potency after about 45 minutes. I had about ½ a bottle of each left, so if you want to, prepare a few projects to dye at once!)
Make sure to completely cover your work surface and have paper towels or a rag handy just in case there are any splashes or spills. Wear an apron or clothes you don't mind getting dye on. If you aren't using a kit, be sure to wear rubber gloves too because the dye will stain your hands.
Next, saturate your fabric with the dye, making sure to get into any folds and crevices. Have fun with mixing colors—or keep them separate if you'd like more white. It's pretty impossible to mess up, so just go crazy!
Once you've finished dyeing, let the sheet dry for 6-8 hours—preferably outside if it’s sunny. Once the sheet is dry, rinse all of the excess dye out in a wash sink or bathtub. You can let it dry in the sun again or give it a quick run through in the washer and dryer using a small amount of detergent. The next few times that you wash the sheet, make sure to wash it on its own just to be sure the colors don’t bleed on other clothes.
Voilà! Now you have a big one-of-a-kind beach blanket—perfect for long days by the water or backyard picnics.