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How to Make Tie Dye Shirts…with kids

OK, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Tie Dye is back and it’s everywhere. The soccer fields are full of kids with tie dye socks. The shirts were in every beach souvenir shop this summer. So of course, we had to make them.

We actually bought two different kits and I won’t tell you what the bad one was but the good one was made by Jacquard and I totally recommend it. I had contemplated doing it old school and buying the Rit dye and doing the separate buckets of color but then I realized it was way cheaper to just buy the kit. What I didn’t know was how much easier the kit would make it. The squirt bottles were perfect for the kids. Even my two-year-old got into it with ease – a little too much at times.

Here’s what I learned:

  • One or two shirts per kid is plenty. We had a stack of white shirts that had stains on them – making them perfect for tie dye – and it got to be too much. So keep it simple and try to encourage the kids to take their time on a couple of items.
  • Do it outside and don’t wear anything you care about. We just laid our shirts right on the driveway. Grass would work just as well because you need to wash the clothes after anyhow.
  • Follow the directions on the box. We did and the colors came out beautifully.
  • We did the first few shirts the way you may remember doing them when you were younger, with the elastics, etc. and if you want to make one for yourself, go ahead and do that. But I found that the kids liked the instant gratification of seeing how the shirts looked while they were making them. So if you’re not looking to make a fashion statement, I recommend just skipping the elastics, laying out the shirt and letting them squirt the dye where they want – draw hearts, swirls, etc. Just remember when enough is enough because too much dye looks yucky and it gets “muddy.”
  • Definitely do some socks. They are so fun and an inconspicuous way for even the most conservative mom to get in on the action.
  • Save the gloves for when you have to put the stuff in the wash.

clothes line

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