This weekend we had a great deal of family fun with an old school art project. M received this Tie Dye Kit for Christmas and although we (well, Mom and Dad) thought it would be a mess, we used it as inspiration for a fun activity on a chilly, winter weekend.
We started off by going to the store to pick out a few things to tie-dye. We decided on long sleeve t-shirts for M and L, onesies for R & Q, and some cozy socks for Mom and Dad. We also picked up an extra bag of decent rubber bands and some latex gloves. Thank goodness, because the kit didn’t have enough rubber bands for our projects and only one pair of gloves (we had far too many messy hands for only one set)!
After ensuring R & Q were cozy and entertained in their excersaucers, we lined our kitchen table with trash bags, put on some old clothes, covered the kids up with aprons, and put on our “blue gloves.” Dad got the garments wet and rung them out. He also mixed up the tie in the squirt containers that came with the kit. Mom reviewed design techniques with M and L. The design instructions in the kit weren’t very easy to visualize. My kids know me so well… they said “Are you going to find us some pictures on Pinterest?!?” M decided to attempt the “bull’s-eye” while L chose the “spiral”. Mom (representing R’s onesie) picked “sunburst” and Dad (representing Q’s onesie) also attempted the “spiral”.
We all went about folding and (rubber) banding per our design instructions. Everyone teased me, as it seemed to take me much longer than everyone else to rubber band up Riley’s “sunburst” pattern. In order to keep the kids busy while Mom and Dad finished (and R & Q were put down for a nap), we sent the kids up to their rooms to find an old pair of white socks and we let them rubber band those up as well.
After some guidance and discussion about what colors mix well to make another color, and telling them to put different colors in between their rubber band sections, we (gulp), let the kids use the dye. They had lots of fun squeezing on the dye and putting their design touches on their garments. Mom and Dad were a little worried the shirts might not end up so great because the kids were far from perfect in their technique! Regardless, we laughed and said it was “theirs” to design.
While dying our garments we came up with the idea of family superlatives. Shockingly enough, there were 6 categories including: best overall, most colorful, least white, most unique, best design replica and craziest. It was fun to come up with the categories and guess, as a family, who would win each category!
Once we finished dying, we bagged everything up into Ziplocs and let it sit for 6-8 hours or so. After the kids went to bed for the night, Mom and Dad cut off the rubber bands, rinsed the garments in cold water and gave everything their first round through the washer/dryer so the kids could see, touch and feel their projects in the morning. Mom and Dad had a great time seeing how everything turned out.
The next morning, the kids loved the big reveal and we all voted on winners. M won “most unique”, L won ‘best design replica’, R won ‘best overall’, Q won “most colorful”, Mom’s and Dad’s socks won “least white” and M’s & L’s socks won “craziest”.
I’m DYEing to get a photo of all four kiddos in their shirts/onesies after a few more “safety” washes/dries! 😉
We all had so much fun that we agreed we will tackle the project again in late summer/early spring so we can all make something fun for playtime out in the sunshine. I can’t wait to see what we all create next! I think it would be fun to let the kids dye sun shirts as pool cover-ups. I’m personally planning on using this Glue Tie Dye technique I found on Pinterest as a design inspiration in a future project.
Lessons learned for next time:
1) Pick a kit big enough for the number of garments you want to dye. Our kit said 12 garments and we barely finished 2 long sleeve kid t-shirts, two 6-12 month onesies, and 4 pairs of socks… plus we would rather have mixed in less water and left the dye more concentrated for even brighter colors.
2) We had 3 main colors in our kit, fuchsia, green and blue. It would have been fun to have another color or two (yellow and red maybe?!)
3) Find a kit with the squirt bottles to dispense dye or make your own squirt bottles full of dye. The kids were able to handle them without making a mess and it made it easier to use multiple colors on one garment.
5) Pay attention to which colors end up next to each other. It’s easy to mix the colors together and make a dark brown!
6) Some of the designs are tough on smaller garments (like socks and onesies). Pick something simple on small garments.
7) Rinsing off the dye and removing the rubber bands is a messy job!
8) Rinse out with cold water first before removing rubber bands if you are trying to retain as much white as possible on the parts of the garment that didn’t get dyed. Then, continue rinsing after removing the bands.
9) The “great reveal” as you unwrap the garments is a little like Christmas morning. Such a fun surprise! Next time we will make sure the kids watch us do this part.