In my mind, there are few things that say summer more than “tie dye t-shirts”, especially when it comes to kids. I love how happy and bright the colors are and that each shirt is as unique as the child who wears it.
Last summer, I was walking through Target and noticed some clearance items at the end of an aisle so I stopped to take a look. I found some small tie dye kits with 2 colors in each kit for $1.48. I threw a couple of them in my cart and decided it would be a fun activity to do with the kids the following summer.
Fast forward to 2016. I was making our family’s summer bucket list and remembered these tie dye kits that I had stored downstairs. I had picked up a shirt on sale for my daughter from Hobby Lobby during one of my many visits (I love that store!). For my son, I found a white shirt with a pocket at Target.
The day I had planned to do the project came and the kids were both super excited. My daughter was excited because it was a craft project of sorts which she loves and my son was excited because his sister was excited. I sent the kids outside for a few minutes so I could read through the instructions in peace. The kids kept coming in every couple of minutes asking if it was time to start and climbing on the chair and trying to grab the bottles of dye or take their shirts outside with them. I swear it took me 20 minutes just to read the steps!
So, I have a confession to make: I’ve never made a tie dye shirt. I know! How is it even possible I went my whole life without making one? I don’t really know. But today was as good a day to start as any.
Before mixing the colors, I went to my Pinterest page where I had found a pin for creating different tie dye designs. It took me to Tie Dye Your Summer and it had video tutorials teaching techniques. I asked my daughter which one she liked and she chose a heart. I chose a design like this for my son.
After the t-shirts were all bunched up and had the elastics in place, I grabbed a cooling rack, a cookie sheet, plastic wrap and a small plastic bin. Then I mixed up the colors and took everything outside.
I placed the cooling rack inside the cookie sheet. (Looking back, I wish I’d put some tin foil or something underneath.) The cookie sheet is meant to catch any dye that dripped of the shirt and the cooling rack made it so I had a surface that was higher than any dripped dye.
I pulled the plastic gloves on that had come with the kit and started on my son’s shirt first. He wanted to help of course, so I put the other set of gloves on him and he “helped” me for a couple of minutes before running off to play. I finished his up, wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep it wet and set it inside the bin. Then my daughter and I worked on her shirt until she got bored and joined her brother. So I finished hers too, wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it with the other shirt. (Honestly, I was ok with the fact that the kids didn’t insist on helping too much, since the dye would have stained any clothing it came in contact with.)
When using the dye I soaked the shirts pretty well. I used one hand to squeeze the dye onto the shirt and the other hand to rub it in and move the shirt around and make sure it was getting spread around. Since the colors were blues and greens, I wasn’t too worried about them overlapping each other or mixing a little. But if you are using lighter colors next to darker colors and don’t want them to mix, you should leave about 1/2″ of space on either side of the elastic.
I left the shirts wrapped up for about 7 hours before unwrapping them and rinsing them out in cold water. I washed them out in the bathtub under running water, squeezing the shirts until the water was as clear as I could get it.
Then I cut the elastic bands and unwrapped the shirts. They turned out SO good! I was seriously grinning from ear to ear because I was so happy with how they turned out. My kids were already in bed so I had my husband come into the bathroom and look at them and he was pretty impressed too.
I threw them in the wash using hot water for the wash and cold water for the rinse (all according to the instructions that came with the kit). When I pulled them out of the wash, I was surprised at how much lighter they were than before washing. Then I put them in the dryer and laid them out for my kids to wear the next day.
The next morning, my kids were so excited to wear their new shirts! I have to admit, I think they are pretty much the cutest kids in the entire world and wearing their matching tie dye shirts just about did me in. I love them. 🙂
Of course, I had to take my cute kids out in the yard to model their new shirts. You can see that the heart design on my daughter’s shirt turned out pretty well and my son’s design was really fun as well.
I found the whole process really simple. The instructions were clear and the dye did it’s job. I would definitely do another tie dye project next summer with my kids.
What do you think about tie dye?