How to tie-dye your handlebar tape

Make your cockpit a little more psychedelic with this guide from Velo Orange

Tie-dyeing handlebar tape is a fun way to jazz up your bike for the summer

Many cyclists have a penchant for colourful, go-fast, wavey garms that – frankly – wouldn’t be acceptable anywhere but on a bike.

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For some, that taste for garish gear carries over to the ‘real world’, and I have no doubt that at least a few of the hippies and trendy yoofs of our readership love a bit of tie-dye.

For that portion of our readership, today I have a treat for you – a guide on how to tie-dye your handlebar tape.

We first spotted this guide on the blog of our friends over at Velo Orange, which has kindly allowed us to republish it here.

The Velo Orange team has an office tradition of wearing tie-dye on Fridays; they call it Tie-dye Fri-dye – genius. This weekly event got the team thinking their white bar tape could do with a little spicing up.

So without further ado, here’s how to make your ride a little more psychedelic, man.

How to tie-dye your handle bar tape – courtesy of Velo Orange

What you need

  • White cotton bar tape
  • Tie die kit

Tie dyeing your handlebar tape is easy enough to do – you just need a tie-dye kit and white cotton bar tape. We use our tape for this application as it’s nice and thick so it’ll soak up plenty of dye.

You can experiment with a few different folds for the tape, but we found these didn’t make much of a difference.

Soaking the bar tape in water before dyeing helps it absorb the colours better
Soaking the bar tape in water before dyeing helps it absorb the colours better.
Velo Orange

It’s easy enough to wrap a few rubber bands around the tape right out of the box and get to the dying. When you’ve got it all wrapped up, I’d recommend soaking it in water before you dye. This will help the dyes absorb into the fabric.

Making sure the dye gets into the cracks between the tape is the key to ensuring a good overall coating
Making sure the dye gets into the cracks between the tape is the key to ensuring a good overall coating.
Velo Orange

Time to dye! We tried a couple different dye application methods – stripes along the rubber bands and soaking the top and bottom of the coil, and both work pretty well.

You really need to get in the cracks of the tape to make sure it all gets colour. Unless you want some white, which can be a pretty cool effect too.

Here’s the tape on a couple bikes! We think it turned out pretty darn well, and just in time for the summer.
Why not use any leftover dye to complete some serious #squadgoals?
Why not use any leftover dye to complete some serious #squadgoals?
Velo Orange

We had some leftover dye from the bar tape so we tie-dyed a few shirts, shoes and caps.

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Are you rushing to the craft store to get involved with this funky project? Or is good-ol’-plain-ol’ black bar tape all that will ever be on your bike? If the latter is your answer, I’m not interested in seeing your bike. For the funkier readers out there, please feel free to share any photos of your tie-dyed goodies. I might even allow splash-tape here.