Monday, August 1, 2011

twist it tie it dye it hose it wash it wear it

I had been wanting to make a few tie dye shirts for some time. When I looked into materials I found that a lot of the kits allow you to dye a lot of shirts.....

light bulb!

Commence the tie dye party planning.

This meant I better learn how to tie dye since the last time I did was in super young girl scouts!  Thank you Internet!

I had the party on a weekday at 9am.  This was going to be the 24th consecutive day of triple digit heat in Dallas, so I set up shop in the parts of the lawn I knew would be shaded. Luckily, we had overcast skies that morning, making the whole thing much more enjoyable than it might have been!

My list:
1. tie dye kits.  I bought the kind that use squirt bottles instead of buckets of dye.  I thought it would be easier for the 1-6 age group. I also bought two because I wanted there to be enough bottles for everyone to be able to work at once.
2. plastic drop cloths
3. masking tape and pens
4. rubber bands (some come with kits)
5. rubber/plastic gloves (some come with kits)
6. yummy snacks

In retrospect, I wish I used old towels over top of the plastic drop cloths. That would have absorbed the liquid dye better rather than letting it bead up and sit on the plastic, waiting for a cute kid to lean over on top of it!

I also would have looked into some kid-sized gloves.  They managed, but it would have been easier I think.

Here's how it all went down:
1. Kiddos arrived, snacked, met each other (lots of cousins and second cousins were already partying together!)  Mine were probably hanging onto my legs at this point.

2. We all gathered in the living room where I was able to brush up on my teaching skills and instruct everyone on twisting the dry shirt.  You can google lots of different twist patterns online.  Everyone secured their shirts with rubber bands then used scotch tape and pen to make a name label attached to one of their rubber bands.

3. All shirts were placed in a large bucket of a soda ash water solution for about 10 minutes. I read somewhere that this helps prepare the shirt to hold the dye well. I don't think it was all that necessary but the shirts should at least be wet for the dying part.

4. Everyone was given gloves and sent outside to the dye station, and told, "do not touch the bottles yet!" Those are my chaise lounges by the way. Who knew they were perfect kid tables? 

5. Shirts were distributed and I gave more instructions on how to use the dye bottles. Since I'm not too familiar with how this age group handles arts and crafts, I specifically said, "don't squeeze the bottle too much or too much dye will come out!"
Nolan didn't follow that instruction very well.

6. So the dying began.  Some were meticulous, others were wild.  I think people enjoyed it. I was so busy rotating mine between the swing and the dye station and making sure they didn't try to drink it, it was difficult to look around!  At some point my family (me included) had so much dye on our skin, I just said, "whatever!"  I checked out everyone else and they all seemed so clean! We must have been pretty sloppy!  By the way, in 24 hours, the dye on our skin was hardly noticeable.  By the 3rd day, it was gone. Whew!
this picture is the story of my life by the way!
I definitely had envisioned how I wanted my shirts to look and what colors I wanted to use but once we got going with the dying chaos that all went out the window! 

7. Shirts were placed in zip lock bags to set.

8. Guests who had to leave took their bags, extra gloves, and washing instructions.

9. Some guests stayed to swim and we later rinsed the shirts in the yard with the hose and hung them to dry.

That afternoon, I gave them a much needed second rinse (until the water ran clear), then machine washed them together (separate from other clothes!).

10. Finally we could wear them!  I think they turned out great and each one is so unique! (TIP: do a second machine wash with only tie dye shirts before washing them with other clothes! The colors may still bleed a bit.)


  1. Love how you have an entire family shot in the shirts - so cute!

  2. Wish we could have made it, they turned out really well!