handmade tie dye shirts hanging

T-Shirt Design Ideas for the Summer

Spring has finally sprung in most parts of the country, and summer is right around the corner. If you’ve been dreaming of warm, sunny days and long, carefree evenings spent with friends, your time has finally come. And if you are ready to ditch your winter garb for some fun summer fashions, there are all sorts of ways to customize t-shirts to create your own one-of-a-kind designs.

Whether you are a burgeoning fashionista or you are just looking to spruce up your summer wardrobe on a budget, there are several DIY options for transforming a plain t-shirt into something truly unique. Keep reading to discover a few of our favorite t-shirt design ideas for the summer!


Tie-dye is a summertime staple, and this year, it’s bigger than ever. Tie-dye is “in” in a big way in 2019. It’s even graced the runway at major fashion shows! If the likes of Stella McCartney and Prada are dressing up their models in tie-dye, there’s no denying that it’s a huge trend.

The good news is that you don’t have to have a celebrity stylist to rock tie-dye. In fact, all you need are some plain white cotton t-shirts, a tie-dye kit and a bit of creativity. Whether you are going for the classic swirl or you want to try something more intricate, there are hundreds of tie-dye techniques and tutorials.

Tie-dyeing is a great outdoor activity for the entire family. You can do it indoors, too, but if you do, make sure to put down plastic so you don’t make a mess. Invest in a good tie-dye kit and follow the instructions carefully. If you’d rather skip the commercial dyes, you can also make your own dye with food. Whichever option you choose, have fun with it! The beauty of tie-dye lies in its imperfection.

Ombre Dye

tie dye dipped cotton technique

Ombre-dyeing is kind of like tie-dyeing, but it doesn’t involve dying. It also typically involves just one color. When you’re finished, you have a monochromatic shirt that goes from white to a darker color in a consistent gradient.

To get started, you’ll need a cotton t-shirt, fabric dye, soda ash, salt, gloves, a marker and a ruler. You’ll also need a large bucket. After prewashing your shirt, turn it inside out. Determine how far up you want the color to go and make a small dot on the seam. Next, use your ruler to make additional dots at consistent intervals all the way down to the bottom. Making a dot every inch or so works.

Combine hot water with salt and soda ash at a ratio of one cup of salt and one tablespoon of soda ash to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly. Dip your shirt in the solution and then wring out. Prepare your fabric dye according to the package instructions and mix into the water until it’s tinted.

Place your shirt in the water up to the first dot and let soak for three to five minutes. Pull the shirt out and add a bit more dye. Then, place it in the water to the second dot. Wait for another three to five minutes. Repeat this for each dot until you reach the bottom of the shirt. When you’re finished, pull the shirt out of the water and wring out from the top down. Wash in cold water.


embroidered flowers on neck line

Embroidery isn’t just for old ladies. In fact, embroidered clothing is quite popular this summer. With a needle, some embroidery floss and a bit of patience and creativity, you can embroider your way to one-of-a-kind clothing creations that your friends are sure to be jealous of.

There are a few different items that you can embroider for summer. Try adding a cute embroidered neckline to your favorite t-shirt, or add some flair to a pair of denim shorts. Embroidery is a good way to spruce up an old denim jacket, too. Denim is a great fabric for beginners because it doesn’t stretch.


This summer, don’t wear what everyone else is wearing. Let your creative side shine by customizing some of your own clothing. Whether you tie-dye, dip dye, embroider or find your own method of customizing your clothing, there is no wrong way to go about creating a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing you’ll love rocking all summer long!

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