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Summertime is the perfect time for getting outside and doing some messy crafts that you’d rather not do in your house. With the kids home all summer, I like to try and fill our downtime by doing those projects that are fun, a little messy and the ones that we just don’t have time during the school year- and these super easy summertime tie-dye shirts are exactly that! I have always wanted to make some tie-dye shirts for the kids, and now that they are a little older, they can really make them their own and do it themselves. Being the first time I tie-dyed anything, I was surprised at how easy they were and just love the finished products!
When you hear “tie-dye” most people automatically think “mess”- I know I sure did! With some additional prep work, and some special clean up tools, making tie-dye shirts doesn’t have to be a hassle. It can actually be quite fun.
Tools Needed for Prep and Clean up:
Plastic sheeting for the ground (we love re-using an old plastic table cloth or shower curtain!)
Huggies One & Done wipes (for surfaces)
Huggies Simply Clean (for hands and faces)
When you use any type of dye, it’s very important to protect your surfaces! Even though we were outside making these, I still threw down an old table cloth to be sure if anything spilled or splattered (which it did) then the ground was mostly protected. Even when using the plastic gloves, some dye still ends up on arms or faces (who knows how!!), which is why keeping a few packs of Huggies wipes around is a fantastic idea. These wipes aren’t just for babies, they are durable, efficient and not to mention VERY convenient. I like the One & Done wipes for surfaces and other harder to clean areas. The thicker and textured nature of these wipes makes them perfect for tougher and heavier messes. The Simply Clean wipes are great for hands and faces. They are more gentle but super strong and are great for lighter messes. And you don’t have to venture into the baby aisle for these, you can get then right in the personal care aisle at your local Walmart!
Now that your surfaces are prepped and ready to go, now it’s time for the shirts!
Tools Needed for the Tie-Dye Shirts:
tie-dye kit (get the one in the squeeze bottles!)
large plastic zipper baggies (one per shirt)
Now that you have your gear, it’s time to start! Before you dye, you will want to begin by washing your shirts so they are nice and clean, this will help the shirts absorb the dye better too. You can reuse and old white shirt or buy some at the craft store like I did.
Once you have your shirts clean and dry, you will next want to twist, fold and secure your shirts. In my opinion, there is really no wrong way to tie-dye. Depending on how you roll your shirt and tie it with the rubber bands determines the pattern that the dye will make. You can let your kids roll and tie their shirts how ever they want or you can try and make a more purposeful design. Since this was our first time, we kept it on the simple side and twisted their shirts around kind of in a swirl pattern. Begin with using a fork in the center of your shirt and keep twisting until your whole shirt is in a ball, then be sure they are nice and secure with rubber bands before you put dye on them.
After you are done with the twisting, then mix your dye. Follow the instructions on the dye kit you buy, mine just needed to be mixed with water- easy peasy! Then, with gloves applied, allow your kids to squeeze the different colors of dye they would like on their shirt, in whatever pattern they want. They can use one color or tons of them- let them decide! Be sure to cover all of your fabric, unless they want some white showing, and don’t forget the sides and back.
Once they are finished with the dye, you will want to cover your tie dyed fabric in plastic to keep damp while the dye sets. I just stuck mine in large resealable plastic baggies. Let them set for 6 to 8 hours or longer for brightest colors. After your fabric has set then fully rinse it under running water until the runoff is clear, then you will want to wash them each separately according to the tie-dye instructions included in your kit.
Not too hard, right? We think our shirts turned out so cute and the kids really had a BLAST making them- and with the help of my Huggies wipes, clean up was a breeze! Be sure to stop by the Walmart website and print a coupon to save some additional money on your wipes all summer long! These wipes are perfect for tossing in your car, pool bag or sports bag for simple mess clean up no matter where you are.