Tie-dye tees

This creative activity will splash color into your child's world.

You'll Need

  • One washed cotton T-shirt
  • One to three colors of fabric dye
  • Rubber bands
  • One to three plastic tubs
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old apron

Learning Stages

With your child or a group of children, enjoy creating festive tie-dyed cloth items, like T-shirts, tablecloths, sheets, curtains or even placemats. Follow the instructions below, and be sure to use rubber gloves and an old apron to protect your hands and clothes from the dye:

  1. Follow the directions for the fabric dye and mix up one to three plastic tubs, each filled with a different colored dye.
  2. Have your child wet the T-shirt with plain water and wring it dry.
  3. Show your child how to gather the fabric in bunches (grab a small area of the T-shirt, pull it so that you're just bunching one side of the shirt and twist), and secure each bunch tightly with a rubber band. Tie many bunches on the shirt, varying the size.
  4. Once the shirt is tied, submerge it in the washtub of dye for one hour.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the shirt in cold water, until water is clear, remove the rubber bands and hang to dry.
  6. Another variation on this is to set up several large bowls with different colored dyes. Dip several bunches into one color for about an hour, then several other bunches into one or more different colors, an hour for each color.
  7. Again, rinse thoroughly, remove rubber bands and hang to dry.