Creative Kid: DIY Tie Dye


It was cousins’ craft weekend at the lake cottage–a well-timed event considering that it rained (monsooned) half of the time. When the cousins weren’t performing as members of the Awful Music Band (really, truly awful), we were painting, sculpting clay, printmaking, and getting our hands stained if not dirty with a tie-dye extravaganza. If you’re interested in making tie-dye a summer tradition too, here is my unofficial guide, with kid-friendly steps starred.

DIY Tie-Dye

1. Buy a 3-color tie dye kit. I usually use the Jacquard Funky Groovy Tie Dye kit, which includes everything you need: the dye already in squirt bottles, rubber gloves, rubber bands, soda ash, and good instructions. Have extra dishwashing gloves and rubber bands on hand. This kit makes about 5 t-shirts.

2. Collect white cotton clothing. If it’s new, make sure to pre-wash. Don’t forget to tie-dye some socks–always a crowd pleaser!

2. Set up an outside work space and cover it in plastic.

*3. Create your design by folding and using rubber bands. Stripe designs, sunbursts, and traditional circles are simple enough for kids to make. Several easy patterns are included in your dye kit. It’s okay to improvise, too!

4. Soak t-shirts in soda ash for recommended amount of time. This enhances the dye’s vibrancy.

*4. Apply dye with squirt bottles. Kids should wear aprons/old shirts and rubber gloves. Remember that yellow + blue = green. Red + blue = violet. Yellow + red = orange. Keep clear of combos that make brown! Brown is not a groovy tie-dye color.

5. Place dyed shirts in plastic bags and let them sit overnight. The next day, rinse very well (I use an outdoor hose and bucket) and then throw them in the washing machine.


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