How to Tie Dye Sports Bra

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Are the colors of your sports bras fading, or perhaps you want a new design without buying a new one? Tie dying can give new life to your bras. I’m giving a step-by-step guide on how to tie dye a sports bra into different patterns to provide a colorful twist to your wardrobe.

How to Tie Dye a Sports Bra

To tie dye a sports bra, you must wash it with warm water to remove any chemicals and ensure the dye penetrates. Then, use rubber bands and marbles to create patterns when dipping it in dye mixtures. Make sure to let the dye rest before washing the sports bra.

Graphic image of 7 illustrations with text descriptions on how to tie dye sports bras

You may not be able to use this technique on your normal bras, but tie dying can breathe a new life to your old sports bra. You may like the bra features in some cases, yet it has an appalling design. With these steps, you can unleash your creativity and make your sports bras look more aesthetic.

Steps on Tie Dyeing Sports Bras

Step 1Prepare the materials
Step 2Set up a workspace and gear up
Step 3Soak the sports bra in warm water
Step 4Create the dye mixture
Step 5Tie dye the sports bra in your chosen pattern
Step 6Let the dye settle
Step 7Rinse the sports bra

Step 1: Gather the Materials

The first step is to prepare these materials to ensure you can tie dye your sports bra correctly.

  • Sports bra: It can be your old white or light-colored push up sports bra. You can also use black and dark-colored ones, although you must bleach them first. Bras with 100% cotton, rayon, or natural fibers may achieve the best results.
  • Soda ash: This helps the dye bond with the material. You can also use salt as an alternative.
  • Bleach: To remove dark colors in sports bras.
  • Fabric dye: Fiber reactive dye colors work best for most bra materials. This long-lasting dye reacts with fabrics in cold water to form a permanent bond. In effect, you won’t have to worry about washing out the dyed colors.
  • Bucket: Plastic containers to hold enough dye when you dip the bra.
  • Squeeze bottle: For dropping some dyed colors.
  • Sink or hose: For rinsing the bras in cold water.
  • Rubber bands: For creating effects and leaving white marks.
  • Marbles: For some patterns or effects.
  • Plastic bags: For warming the dyed bras.
  • Paper towels: Keep these handy for cleanup.
Woman wearing a tie dyed sports bra while lifting weights

Step 2: Prepare the Workspace and Gear Up

Next, prepare a workspace where you can make some spills and mess. Cover the table or floor with plastic sheeting or garbage bags.

Make sure to wear protective clothing such as an apron and rubber or plastic gloves to prevent the hands from getting stained.

Step 3: Prewash the Fabric

If you’re using a white or light-colored bra, go straight to soaking it in warm water for 20 minutes. Prewashing the bra is essential to remove starch or chemicals that may prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric.

Do reverse dying for black or dark-colored zipper sports bras. Combine one part bleach and one part water. Soak the bra for 30 minutes.

Afterward, combine one cup of soda ash per gallon of water. Soak the bra in the mixture for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Create the Dye Mixture

Follow the dye-to-water ratio instructions from your dye package. 

  • In most cases, you need to combine four to six teaspoons of dye powder per cup of water for solid colors.
  • For medium shades, mix two to three teaspoons of powder per cup of water. Meanwhile, you can combine 1/4 to two teaspoons of light and pastel shades per cup of water.
  • Create the mixture in a container or plastic bucket. If you’re using different colors, make one color per container. 
A back view of tie dye sports bra placed on a pink background

Step 5: Tie and Dye the Sports Bra

Keep in mind that if you choose a single color, place the whole bra into the bucket. If you want more colors, soak one part of the fabric and let it sit. The longer you allow the dye to rest, the better the results.

Tie-dying was a prominent fabric trend in the ’60s and ’70s, symbolizing the free expression of the hippie era. Give your sports bra a 21st-century twist with these patterns.

Full Dye

The simplest way to color sports bras is to do a full dye.

  • Put the entire bra into the mixture until it completely absorbs the color.
  • You can leave out the straps by hanging them outside the container.
  • Wait for at least 20 minutes.
  • Transfer the bra to a plastic bag and let the fabric seep the dye for at least two hours.


The ring pattern is a beginner style to add white circles. 

  • Put a marble under the bra, then fold the fabric over it. You can also pinch the top layer of the bra cup into small knobs.
  • Secure the knob with a rubber band. You can form more knobs as long as the fabric permits.
  • Do the same on the other cup.
  • Use a squeeze bottle to apply one color of dye to the entire bra.
  • Let the bra absorb the color for 20 minutes before placing it in a plastic bag.


Crumple is another beginner design that can create unique patterns.

  • Crumple the bra into a ball.
  • Wrap the bra with enough rubber bands to hold the shape.
  • Soak it in the bucket for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the bra to a plastic bag.


While this is a more intermediate pattern, this can give a more prominent horizontal or vertical striped design.

  • Start with one cup of the bra. Create a one-inch tall pleat. Continue accordion folding the front and back until you pleat the cup like a closed folding fan.
  • Use two to three elastic bands to secure the pleated fabric.
  • Do the above steps to the other cup.
  • Use a squeeze bottle to color each portion with alternating colors. Do the same at the back part.
  • Put the dyed fabric in a plastic bag.
A wireless tie dye sports bra placed on a blue background


A spiral design is a common tie dye pattern ideal for using several colors.

  • Place a stick or your finger in the center of the cup. Turn it clockwise until you get a swirling pattern.
  • Put rubber bands to secure the spiral.
  • Use squeeze bottles to apply different colors to each section. You can also use a paintbrush for more controlled coloring.
  • Put the dyed bra in a plastic bag.


A heart pattern is an advanced design and requires more patience since bras are smaller than shirts. However, this would be ideal for sports bras for large breasts.

  • Fold the one cup of the bra in half lengthwise. 
  • Use a washable marker to draw half of the heart shape on the folded edge.
  • Make small accordion pleats as you follow the drawn line.
  • Use a rubber band to secure the fabric.
  • Soak in a bucket of dye for 20 minutes.

Step 6: Let the Dye Rest

A warmer temperature will help the dye settle quicker. This is why you need to put the dyed bra in a plastic bag to keep them moist and allow the dye to react to the fabric properly.

Keep the fabric in the plastic bag for two to six hours. If you have more time, you can cure the material for up to 24 hours. Place the bag in a sunny spot to maximize the warm temperature.

Step 7: Rinse the Fabric

Keep the rubber bands while rinsing the bra under cold, running water. Rinse in lukewarm water as you remove the elastic bands and marbles. Continue rinsing until the water becomes clear.

After that, wash with warm water and detergent. Rinse before hanging the bra to dry.

Related Questions

Can I Tie Dye Dark-Colored Sports Bras?

Yes, you can tie dye black and dark-colored bras, although you must bleach them first. You may also need to pretreat the fabric longer.

Are Dyes on a Sports Bra Permanent?

Dyes on bras can be permanent if you choose fabric-reactive dyes. Meanwhile, there are dyes that you can easily wash off in any material, whether it be cotton, linen, or synthetic fibers.

Should I Use Powder or Liquid Dye in Tie Dyeing Sports Bras?

You can use either powder or liquid dye when tie dyeing a sports bra. While there is typically no difference in color vibrancy, liquid dye is already dissolved in water, and thus, easier to prepare.

What Is a Sports Bra? (And How To Pick One For Various Activities)


Tie dying involves prewashing the bra, using rubber bands to create patterns, dipping the bra in the dye mixture, and rinsing. By learning how to dye sports bras, you can jazz up your bras to mix and match them with different leggings or as your top for your workout outfits.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.