Color-oriented activities are always a hit with kids, and tie-die is easily a favorite. For this kid-friendly craft, you can employ the best tie-dye tips for bright and vivid colorfast clothing to ensure your project is a success. The beauty of tie-die is in the fact it’s nearly impossible to mess up, and you’re more likely to end up with a fun design thanks to happy accidents.
Collect all your materials:
A prewashed, 100% cotton shirt or garment
a plastic tarp
jar or container with a secure lid
rubber gloves in sizes to fit
Measuring spoon that will be using for food in the future
fiber-reactive dye (Dylon Permanent is a commonly used and Celeb Baby Laundry tested option)
Soda Ash Fixative – This can be found in craft stores such as Jo-Ann Fabrics, the craft section of stores like Walmart, or online for around $4 a pound.
There are several different options to create various patterns:
Dots – Using marbles, beads, or dried beans, place a handful on the inside of the shirt and gather the outside of the shirt around the marbles/beads/beans to create a bubble of fabric. Wrap the outside of the bunched marbles/beads/beans in plastic wrap and secure with rubber band.
Ring – Probably the easiest design to make, lay the garment out flat and pinch the center. Pull the fabric to a point, letting the remaining material fall away. Smooth fabric to create a skinny cone and secure a rubber band tightly around the cone. For a wider line, add more rubber bands for a thicker white ring. To create multiple rings, like a bull’s eye, add more bands above and below your the first band.
Nebula – Wet the shirt or garment and lay it out flat. Next, scrunch and wrinkle the fabric as you gather it into tight disk. Secure with several rubber bands. The tighter you bind it, the more white streaks there will be.
1. Make sure you have all your supplies and your shirt ready to be dipped before you create your dyes. They lose strength as they sit and will lighten as you wait.
2. Cover your work area in the tarps. Doing this craft outside is a great idea, too!
3. Fill the bucket with 1 gallon of cool water.
4. Wearing rubber gloves, fill your container or jar with a secure lid half-way full of water and add 2-4 teaspoons of dye powder. The more dye you add, the darker the color.
5. Secure the lid and shake or stir until the powder is completely dissolved.
6. Pour the dye solution into the bucket of cool water.
7. Using the same container with a lid, fill it half-full with hot water and add 6 teaspoons of soda ash. Seal and shake until mixed.
8. Pour the soda ash solution into the bucket and stir.
9. Wet your banded shirt and place the shirt in the dye bath for 1 hour.
10. Wearing your rubber gloves, remove your garment and rinse with cold water and remove rubber bands.
Once the shirt has sat in the bath for an hour, you will need to wash and dry it by itself the first time through the laundry. Watch as your child proudly wears the shirt they created. It will quickly become a favorite top or garment. Personally, I used the tie-dye method to create blankets and matching curtains that matched my kids’ bedroom color schemes. They loved creating the unique patterns that gave their room a fresh look without being too static or matchy-matchy.