Summer TIE-DYE Shirts

Making tie-dye shirts was one of the top things on our summer bucket list to do this year!  We finally found the time and made some summer camping tie-dye shirts.  The kids had a blast and they LOVE their shirts!  It was so fun to watch them create and see the final result.  Below are a few tips and tricks we found.    

I found this super-easy tie-dying kit at Wal-Mart....with 4 kids I'm all about easy!  This kit was around $25 and came with plenty of dye.  We actually could have made more projects with the dye that we mixed up because my kids wanted to use a variety of colors, but I only had 1 white shirt for each us and I ended up just throwing away the rest of the dye that we didn't use.  This kit says that you can tie-dye in 2 minutes, rather than 8 hours by using the microwave if you have shirts that are 100% cotton.  The shirts I bought weren't 100% cotton so we did the 8 hour way and it worked out just fine for us. I just bought some $3 white t-shirts from Wal-Mart and they worked out just fine. 

Step 1.

The first step to tie-die is to soak your white shirt in water for at least 2 minutes.  This allows the fibers in the shirt to get soak up water so it will then absorb the dye. 

Step 2.

While your shirt is soaking in the water you need to decide on the tie-dye design you want to make.  This kit we bought had few different designs with instructions on how to make a particular design.  My 3 older kids chose the swirl design and my youngest chose the crumple design. To make the swirl design my kids used a fork to spin the shirt up into a swirl...just like you twirl up spaghetti!  It worked great!! 

After your shirt has soaked in the water for around 2 minutes, pull it out and wring out the excess water. Then start twisting or crumpling your shirt into the design you want and use rubber bands to hold the shirt in position.  We each used about 4 rubber bands.  The thicker bands that came with the kit worked better than the thin stretchy bands that we had laying around the house. 

Step 3.

After your shirt is twirled or crumpled into the design you want to make, you can start mixing up the dye.  We chose a variety of colors so we mixed up more dye than we needed to make our projects.  1 bottle of dye should be able to make 3 projects. In the kit we had the powder dye was already in the bottle, so we just had to fill it with room temperature water to the fill line and shake. 

Next, comes the messy & FUN part!  We just moved into a new house 6 months ago so there was NO WAY I was letting the kids use dye inside my house!  So we went to the backyard and used a patch of dirt.  I laid out a plastic table cloth that we all sat around, put our shirts down and started dying!    The kids loved picking out their colors and deciding were there should go.  There is no wrong or right way to tie-dye!  You just get to be creative and play.

I was a little worried that the kids used way too much dye - it was dripping by the time they were done.  But, it actually turned out just fine and maybe even made their shirts a little brighter.  I didn't use as much dye and mine is a little lighter in color.  

Step 4.

After they were finished and their shirts were dripping with dye, we wrapped the shirts in plastic wrap.  I went around the shirt about 3 times because I didn't want the dye leaking out all over the concrete. We placed the shirts inside the garage and let them sit for 8 hours.  

Step 5.

After 8 hours has passed, you need to rise out the excess dye.  I didn't want to rinse them out in my kitchen sink, so I used a plastic container outside.  Filled it with water and rinsed the shirts out in that.  I did 1 shirt at a time and changed the water with each shirt.  I'm not sure if you need to do that or not, I was worried the dye in one shirt might ruin another shirt. This worked out great!

The kids were so excited to rinse out their shirts and see their results!  It was fun to see how each shirt showed their own little personalities.

After the shirts are rinsed out they need to be washed in the washer.  

This was such a fun and inexpensive summer activity to do with the kids! I'm sure it will be on our bucket list again next year, they are already talking about more projects they want to make.  This activity only took a few hours out of my day and it made a pretty awesome memory for the kids.  Its really the little things in life that mean the most.  Take the time to enjoy these little activities with you kids.  I promise you won't regret it!

-Carrie Lynn 
Little Big Things

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