First of all, let me confess that for the past few days I’ve been spelling it tye-dye. How did I get into my 30’s without ever realizing it’s not spelled like that? Sheesh.
Anyway, my sweet friend Tina and I had been wanting to do tie-dye with our kiddos for a while ever since we’d seen the materials at Hobby Lobby. I’d done some research on Pinterest, and to be honest I was pretty confused and overwhelmed by the whole thing, since it seemed that everyone had a different process for dying things. So we were thrilled when we hit the jackpot – a kit with absolutely everything we needed!
Here’s what came in the kit:
- 90 rubber bands
- 6 pairs of gloves
- 1 plastic tablecloth
- 18 plastic bottles with powdered dye (4 colors were duplicates)
- Instruction/idea booklet
The kit was $30, but we had a 40% off coupon, bringing the price to $18. The shirts were different prices ($3.49 – $7.99), but they were on sale for 30% off. So for about $15 each, we were ready to get started!
The process was surprisingly simple, and took less than an hour from start to finish (not counting the time it takes for the colors to set).
Here’s a step-by-step of what we did:
- Wash the shirts. We used the fast-wash cycle, so it only took about 20 minutes to wash all 6. Do NOT put them in the dryer if you want the dye to bleed a bit (typically what you want in tie-dye). If you don’t want your colors to bleed, then dry the shirt first. We opted to work with the damp shirts.
- Choose your design style. There are tons of tie-dye styles – the idea booklet in the kit had a few and we found even more online. We all liked the traditional spiral design, which is done by lying the shirt out on a flat surface, pinching the shirt in the center (grabbing the front and back together), and twisting the shirt in a circular motion. If the sleeves or ends of the shirt won’t twist well, then just tuck them around the central spiral, making sure to keep the whole shirt in the same circular direction.
- Use rubber bands to hold your design in place. Since we chose the spiral design, we had to use 3-4 rubber bands to hold them together. If you choose to do a spiral, be sure that the rubber bands cross in the center so that your shirt looks like a pie with 6-8 wedges.
- Prepare your work area. The kit came with a plastic cloth, so we laid it out on the floor and set our shirts on top. We put paper towels beneath the shirts to help absorb excess dye, but I’ve seen others use cookie sheets and I like that idea better.
- Mix your dye. Each bottle in the kit had pre-measured powdered dye inside of it, so all we needed to do was fill the bottles with water to a marked line and shake the bottles well.
- Choose your colors and start squirting! Get ready to get creative – this is the fun part! Carefully squeeze the dye you want onto one of the banded wedges on your shirt. You can use as much or as little dye as you like, keeping in mind that the more dye you use the less white will show on the shirt.
- Wrap the shirts. Once you have finished dyeing your shirt, wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a zip-top plastic baggie. The shirt needs to stay wrapped for 6-8 hours – the longer it stays wrapped the more intense the colors will be.
- Rinse out excess dye. After your shirt has been wrapped for 6-8 hours, remove the rubber bands and rinse out all excess dye until the water runs clear.
- Wash. I washed each shirt separately, then ran them through the dryer. *It’s recommended that you wash the shirts separate from the rest of your clothing for the next few washes as well.
And that’s it!
The shirts were super easy to make. Even Julia, who’s only 3, was able to get in on the fun. We proudly wore our creations all day the next day (which happened to be 7-Eleven Day), and received many compliments on them. I’m a bit addicted now, and I’ve already been trying to think of what I might tie-dye next!