Whether you are just starting school or have a few more weeks of summer left, it’s always fun to mark the change in our seasonal family rhythms with a fun tradition, isn’t it? Maybe you get a big ice cream cone, or burgers from your favorite local place, or have a family movie night. We have one more fun project to add to your summer bucket list! Whether you’re wrapping up summer or marking the beginning of the school year, you can do this fun tie dye project with cousins or friends.
Our motto is to keep it simple, but fun projects can always be turned into a reason to gather (safely, of course!). With just the addition of some simple snacks and popsicles you can have a tie dye party! You can do this with 2 or 12 people!
Here are the list of items you will need to gather for your project:
- Squeeze Bottles
- Dye Packets
- Protective Gloves
- Rubber Bands
- Plastic Bags
- Paper Towels
Tip: You can buy individually sized shirts at Hobby Lobby or a package of men’s white undershirts for economical large sleep shirts!
Hack: You can buy inexpensive dye kits at Hobby Lobby that comes with 5 colors AND all the supplies listed above. That’s what we did for our project! No messy mixing or heat required.
If you’re gathering a group, you can set up supplies ahead of time to make things run smoothly. Feel free to ask guests to bring their own shirts. If you end up picking up shirts for guests, you can mark them ahead of time so sizes are easy to find. Either way, make sure to wash shirts beforehand with no softener (do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets which will block the dye from absorbing properly)!
- First things first, protect your work surface with trash bags or a plastic tablecloth.
- Next, make sure everyone has gloves on before beginning! Consider using old shirts or art smocks to be worn over clothing to protect yourself and guests.
- Next, use rubber bands to tie your shirt into bunches (that’s where “tie” comes in!). You can make various patterns based on the way you fold the shirt and place the rubber bands-- bullseye, kaleidoscope, polka dot, swirl, spiral, shibori, etc. Pinterest is a great resource for looking up pattern ideas. Or you can free form both pattern and color. Embrace the color chaos!
- Now, mix dyes (according to package directions) and use squirt bottles to begin adding color.
- We recommend using 1-3 colors. More complicated designs with more colors can potentially make a big mess. Using complimentary colors is best in case they bleed into one another and end up mixing.
- Be generous with the dye and allow it to seep into the material before adding more. Make sure to flip over and get all the sides!
- Place each t-shirt in a plastic bag. Some tutorials recommend allowing your project to sit 6 to 8 hours. However, if you leave it overnight or for 24 hours it will be especially bright!
- When it’s time to remove your project from the plastic bag, make sure to have gloves on! Use scissors to help get rubber bands off.
- You can use a clean sink, utility sink, or a large bucket outside. Submerge the shirt in water, plunge/ dunk it several times, drain the water, and repeat until the water is clear.
- Place your project in your washer. Place it on the biggest load (even though it is one project) on hot with just a hint of soap. Wash it! Allow to air dry.
You’re all done! Kids take so much pride in “making” something themselves. This might easily become their uniform as you watch them never want to take it off! Such are the days of wash, rinse, repeat!