Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tie Dye Shirts

Last Friday we had Gracen and Layla (our nephew and niece) over again, and Jared was home from work because he had been gone all week on a business trip.  I thought this would be the perfect day to attempt Summer List item #4:  Tie Dye a Shirt.

I had purchased this kit at either Walmart or Hobby Lobby:

It seemed like such a good idea.  It looked like it would be less messy.  However, this kit requires LOTS of time and planning ahead.

There are tablets of setting solution that have to be dissolved in water for 1-2 hours.  Then you twist your shirt and rubber band it.  Then the shirt has to soak in the setting solution for 24 hours.  Then your shirt has to dry completely, which is actually impossible because it's all twisted up at this point.  Then the dye tablets have to dissolve for 1-2 hours.  And the tablets only come in red, yellow, and blue so you have to dissolve an extra set of dye tablets and then mix them to create orange, green, and purple.  Whew!

After all that prep work, I looked at the tube and realized not only that the twisted shirts were too long to fit in the tube but also that we wouldn't be able to control the placement of the dye in relation to the rubber bands.  So we just put the tube aside and didn't use it.

We used the setting solution for all five shirts and just ignored the fact that they were still wet after nearly 24 hours of drying time.  Then I dissolved the dye tablets in plastic cups so we would have enough to mix for the secondary colors. 

Here are the squeeze bottles of dye:

We decided just to hold the shirts over foil pans and squirt the dye in between each set of rubber bands.

I had purchased latex-free vinyl gloves at Walgreen's (the kit directions said not to use latex gloves).  The kids loved wearing the gloves.

Layla started on her shirt first.

Then Gracen started his.

I helped Griffin with his, despite his pleas to do it all himself.

Layla helped Nolan with his shirt after she finished hers.

Jared helped Nora with her shirt.

I loved how super focused Gracen was.

The dyed shirts had to sit in sealed bags overnight.

Then the next day the shirts had to be rinsed and then washed and dried.  My sister followed directions and washed her kids' shirts the next day.  I completely forgot and didn't get to them until the second day after we dyed them.  I actually think my kids shirts came out a little darker because of the extra soak time.

My kids' shirts (Nolan's and Griffin's in the back and Nora's in the front)

Unbelievably, we did not get any of the dye on anyone's clothes or skin or any other surface.  The gloves kept everyone's hands clean, and the foil pans caught any drips.  (Actually, I just remembered that Nolan accidentally got two drips on Layla's sock, but she didn't mind.)

My report:  I would not recommend the kit I bought.  It was way too time-consuming and even confusing.  And the colors were not bright enough.  I definitely recommend the gloves and just squirting the dye in between your rubber bands.  The kids enjoyed this activity and were excited for their finished shirts.  

Tip:  Be sure to squirt the dye in between the folds of shirt fabric or you'll end up with lots of white space like Nolan's shirt (on the left in the picture above).
For "tying" our shirts, we just grabbed the center of the shirt, let the rest of the shirt hang down, and twisted the shirt.  Then I put rubber bands at regular intervals.

So, this was a fun project, especially on a cousins day, but I wouldn't do it again unless we had a different kit and maybe something more interesting to tie dye.

P.S.  This is my 100th post!  Woo hoo!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on post #100! The shirts look great! Sorry the kit was as helpful as you hoped. I love that I got to see the shirts live. And I love how proud of the shirts the kids were as they each showed them off to me. Now, you need to study up on the different ways to fold to get different designs. I had a student whose parents owned a tie dye store. Our whole staff went in and made shirts. It's amazing how many ways the shirts can be folded.