Sarah Ganly
2 min readApr 22, 2021

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How to Tie-Dye with Kids: 3 Fun Patterns

Tie-dye is a great project for kids; it is inexpensive and a lot of fun, and it allows kids to be really creative. This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to tie-dye a t-shirt three different ways with your kids.

Supplies

First you will need the essential supplies, and you have two options to choose from. You can buy a tie-dye kit at your local craft store, or you can gather your own items for tie-dying. The items you will need are newspaper, all purpose dye in fuchsia, yellow, and turquoise, rubber bands, squirt bottles, plastic bags, and gloves.

Getting Prepared

Start by covering your work table in newspaper. If you are using a store bought kit you can now mix together the soda ash and water in a bucket. You can also mix together the colors of dye and fill the squirt bottles. For more defined designed you should wet the t-shirt prior to adding the rubber bands, but remember to wring it out well.

Patterns

To create a lined pattern pleat your shirt by folding it back and forth, but remember if you pleat it vertically your lines will appear horizontally and vice-versa. Kids will find this design easy, and you can help them add rubber bands at various points along the folded shirt.

For a spiral pattern you must start by pinching the center of the shirt. Next spin the point that you have pinched until the rest of the shirt is wrapped around it in a disk shape. This disk shape can then be wrapped in rubber bands to help keep its form.

A simple circle pattern can be created by pinching sections of the shirt and wrapping the rubber bands around it. This may be the easiest pattern for children, and its abstract results are a lot of fun.

Soaking, Dyeing, and Curing

Now that your t-shirts are all wrapped up in rubber bands you can add the dye using the squirt bottles. If you are using a kit remember to soak the shirt in the soda ash water mix for 10 minutes prior to dyeing. After the color has been applied wrap the item in a plastic bag for at least 4 hours to cure.When the shirt has cured you can wash it in the washer machine to remove excess dye, and your tie-dye shirt is complete. This simple project is a fun way to allow kids to explore their creativity while learning about color and having fun!

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Sarah Ganly

Sarah Ganly is an artist, entrepreneur, and lover of life. She is a lifelong learner dedicated to making people smile.