How To Tie Dye T-Shirts

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

In my mind, there are few things that say summer more than “tie dye t-shirts”, especially when it comes to kids.  I love how happy and bright the colors are and that each shirt is as unique as the child who wears it.
Last summer, I was walking through Target and noticed some clearance items at the end of an aisle so I stopped to take a look.  I found some small tie dye kits with 2 colors in each kit for $1.48.  I threw a couple of them in my cart and decided it would be a fun activity to do with the kids the following summer.

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

Fast forward to 2016.  I was making our family’s summer bucket list and remembered these tie dye kits that I had stored downstairs.  I had picked up a shirt on sale for my daughter from Hobby Lobby during one of my many visits (I love that store!).  For my son, I found a white shirt with a pocket at Target.

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

The day I had planned to do the project came and the kids were both super excited.  My daughter was excited because it was a craft project of sorts which she loves and my son was excited because his sister was excited.  I sent the kids outside for a few minutes so I could read through the instructions in peace.  The kids kept coming in every couple of minutes asking if it was time to start and climbing on the chair and trying to grab the bottles of dye or take their shirts outside with them.  I swear it took me 20 minutes just to read the steps!

So, I have a confession to make: I’ve never made a tie dye shirt.  I know!  How is it even possible I went my whole life without making one?  I don’t really know.  But today was as good a day to start as any.

Before mixing the colors, I went to my Pinterest page where I had found a pin for creating different tie dye designs.  It took me to Tie Dye Your Summer and it had video tutorials teaching techniques.  I asked my daughter which one she liked and she chose a heart.  I chose a design like this for my son.

After the t-shirts were all bunched up and had the elastics in place, I grabbed a cooling rack, a cookie sheet, plastic wrap and a small plastic bin.  Then I mixed up the colors and took everything outside.

I placed the cooling rack inside the cookie sheet.  (Looking back, I wish I’d put some tin foil or something underneath.)  The cookie sheet is meant to catch any dye that dripped of the shirt and the cooling rack made it so I had a surface that was higher than any dripped dye.

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

I pulled the plastic gloves on that had come with the kit and started on my son’s shirt first.  He wanted to help of course, so I put the other set of gloves on him and he “helped” me for a couple of minutes before running off to play.  I finished his up, wrapped it in plastic wrap to keep it wet and set it inside the bin.  Then my daughter and I worked on her shirt until she got bored and joined her brother.  So I finished hers too, wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it with the other shirt.  (Honestly, I was ok with the fact that the kids didn’t insist on helping too much, since the dye would have stained any clothing it came in contact with.)

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

When using the dye I soaked the shirts pretty well.  I used one hand to squeeze the dye onto the shirt and the other hand to rub it in and move the shirt around and make sure it was getting spread around.  Since the colors were blues and greens, I wasn’t too worried about them overlapping each other or mixing a little.  But if you are using lighter colors next to darker colors and don’t want them to mix, you should leave about 1/2″ of space on either side of the elastic.

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

I left the shirts wrapped up for about 7 hours before unwrapping them and rinsing them out in cold water.  I washed them out in the bathtub under running water, squeezing the shirts until the water was as clear as I could get it.

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

Then I cut the elastic bands and unwrapped the shirts.  They turned out SO good!  I was seriously grinning from ear to ear because I was so happy with how they turned out.  My kids were already in bed so I had my husband come into the bathroom and look at them and he was pretty impressed too.

I threw them in the wash using hot water for the wash and cold water for the rinse (all according to the instructions that came with the kit).  When I pulled them out of the wash, I was surprised at how much lighter they were than before washing.  Then I put them in the dryer and laid them out for my kids to wear the next day.

The next morning, my kids were so excited to wear their new shirts!  I have to admit, I think they are pretty much the cutest kids in the entire world and wearing their matching tie dye shirts just about did me in.  I love them. 🙂

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

Of course, I had to take my cute kids out in the yard to model their new shirts.  You can see that the heart design on my daughter’s shirt turned out pretty well and my son’s design was really fun as well.

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

What says summer more than tie dye t-shirts?  See how easy it is and create some fun memories with your kids!

I found the whole process really simple.  The instructions were clear and the dye did it’s job.  I would definitely do another tie dye project next summer with my kids.

What do you think about tie dye?

Bubble Snake

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

The weather here in Utah has been pretty crazy lately.  It will be sunny and 80 degrees one day and the next will be rainy and 60 degrees.  My poor kids ask me every morning if it’s going to be a warm day outside so they can play in the yard.  Thankfully, today the answer was yes and they were outside as much as they could be playing on the swing set, jumping on the trampoline or splashing in the water.

One of their favorite things to do outside is blow bubbles.  We go through more bubbles than almost anything else they play with.  (This could also be due to the fact that they tend to spill the bubbles…)  While my son was napping, my daughter and I made a little contraption that when you blow into it, a stream of bubbles comes out the other end.  We call it a ‘bubble snake’.  It’s really simple and costs practically nothing to make.

What you’ll need:

  • sock
  • empty waterbottle
  • scissors
  • duct tape

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

First, cut of the bottom inch of the water bottle.

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

Then cut the sock below the heel.  You may need to cut a little more off depending on the size of the sock and the size of your waterbottle.  Just keep trimming until it’s about an inch or so below where the bottle starts to taper towards the top.

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

Use some duct tape to secure it to the bottle.  Make sure you pull the sock tight so that it’s not baggy at the bottom.  This will create a better bubble snake.

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

Mix up some ‘bubble juice’, as my kids like to call it, by putting some water and liquid dish soap in a shallow bowl or container.  You can also use the pre-made stuff from the store, but I think the homemade kind works better for this activity.

Put the bottom of the sock in the soapy water and then blow through the top.  Don’t suck back in otherwise you’ll get a mouthful of bubbles (not that I know this from experience or anything…).

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

My kids love this activity.  They will take turns making bubble snakes while the other one will try to pop them.  Super fun.  Super cheap.  Super easy.  Definitely my kind of kids activity.

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

Bubble Snake: My kids love making these bubble snakes and I love that they are free to make!

I hope you have fun!