Tie-dye Aprons, Tee-shirts and Pillowcases

I adore tie-dye.  Maybe it’s the time I spent in San Francisco and Berkeley as a kid, but I think it’s really just the rainbow of bright colors and swirled patterns that makes me smile every time I see it. 

Last week, my kids and I had a great time making our own tie-dye shirts, aprons and pillowcases.  This is a project that required a trip to the craft store, but it was worth the time and $20 I spent on the kit.  We bought a basic kit with five colors: red, yellow, green, blue and purple. It came with squirt bottles containing the powdered colors, rubber bands and rubber gloves.  The dye does stain (obviously), so no matter what kit you buy, be sure that you have rubber gloves and cover your workspace with plastic.  We taped together plastic bags to cover our kitchen table.  You will also need cotton items to tie-dye.  We dyed aprons, a tee-shirt and a pillow case.  The instructions had us wash them before starting the project so that the fabric would be damp. 

We did both swirl and target patterns.  For the swirl patterns, we just layed the tee-shirt flat, grabbed the fabric in the middle and twisted until the entire shirt was coiled up.  Then, we criss-crossed rubber bands around the shirt, dividing it into 8 sections, like a pie. 

 For a target pattern, grab the fabric where you want the center of the bullseye and let the rest hang down.  Then put rubber bands every three or four inches down the length of the fabric.  I helped the kids twist the rubber bands around the fabric 4 or 5 times to get them as tight as possible.

Finally, with gloves on, I added water to the powdered dye and shook it up.  The kids donned gloves too, and we carefully squeezed different color dye on the sections of the cloth, trying to saturate the fabric with color.  We then wrapped the tie-dye items in plastic and let them sit overnight, before following the washing instruction in the kit. 

The results were beautiful, and now the kids have fun, colorful aprons to wear when they do crafts and science projects.  Give tie-dye a try. You’ll be glad you did!

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