My Attempt at Tie Dye

Spring has sprung and it was once again time to go on a camp out with my girl guide unit. We had kids aging from 7 to 12 so it’s a pretty good range. Looking back to when I was 10, I remember tie dying tshirts in my parks program and thought it would be a great idea here.

Now my knowledge of tie dye is limited, i remember having a white tshirt, then a crazy coloured shirt but not a lot in between. So after a bit of research here’s what I learned:

  • fill the dye bottles
  • separate sections on your fabric with rubber bands so the color doesnt bleed
  • dye the fabric
  • wrap in plastic
  • let sit for 6 to 8 hours
  • rinse in cold water
  • put in the laundry

I bought a tulip create basic kit at Walmart for 20 dollars in the craft section. It came with 10 squeeze bottles filled with dye powder, some plastic gloves and rubber bands. Set up is easy, fill the squeeze bottles with water and you are basically ready to go. We did have to bring extra rubber bands and gloves since there were a lot of us. I put a plastic bag on a picnic table to try and catch the dye. I decided to dye a tshirt and two pairs of socks. This kit could make 20 small projects but if you have a larger group you may want to pick up two.

The socks I twisted up and tied with a rubber band, they seemed to soak up a lot of dye. the shirt I tried to tie evenly from top to bottom to try and make stripes. A lot of the dye was rolling off the shirt, I developed a technique where I just rubbed the shirt into the dye on the plastic underneath and it seemed to work well.

Sectioning off evenly from the top of the shirt down, make sure dye gets in all the folds

As for the kids, the whole rubber band idea was a bit lost, but they really took the opportunity to be creative. The nice thing with tie dye is theres no mistakes, They responded well to that, some used a lot of dye, some were more reserved and every one soaking up any excess dye from the table. When we were done we wrapped in plastic and let soak over night. The kids were really excited, this would be great for a kids party or sleepover and even the youngest ones were able to do it.

Everything is wrapped up and soaking in the dye

A few ideas on things you can make:

  • tshirts
  • bandanas
  • headbands
  • socks
  • pillowcases
  • sheets
  • fabric bags
  • dress
  • towel
  • cover up

A couple recommendations for this project, try and use cotton, the more natural the better color you’ll get and make also make sure the water you rinse with is cold or the colors will fade.

Socks were rinsed in hot water, the colors faded a lot
The colors are a lot brighter, sectioning off worked to create stripes

For those wondering about different techniques this website seems to have it all. everything from a simple spiral to a heart. No two pieces you create will be the same.

This was originally intended for the kids but it may be something I revisit this summer, after I review a few techniques.


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