Get the kids creating their own stylish looks with our guide to tie-dyeing T-shirts. Warning: this could get messy! It might be best to do this outside.

what you need to tie-dye

What you need:

  • plastic tablecloth
  • large bowl of soapy water
  • washing up bowls – one for each colour dye you want to use
  • kitchen roll
  • fabric dye
  • plain white cotton t-shirts
  • rubber bands
  • coins
  • rubber gloves

What you do:

1. Set up your dyeing station – make sure this is somewhere away from carpets or wood floors. Cover a table with a plastic tablecloth. This will stop any spills getting on your furniture. Have a bin nearby, and the bowl of soapy water, so the kids can wash their hands as they go along.

tie -dye steps 1-3

2. Soak the t-shirts in water to make them easier to work with. Then, let the kids choose what pattern they want to make – starbursts or lines.

To make lines, scrunch the whole t-shirt into a sausage shape and tie the elastic bands around it at intervals.
To make starbursts, twist small sections of the t-shirt into sausage shapes, placing a coin at the ends, then hold this in place with elastic bands. This will look a bit like an octopus when it’s done!

tie dye steps 3-6

3. Mix up the dyes according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Prepare each colour in a separate washing up bowl, and wear the rubber gloves to prevent staining your hands.

4. Get your kids (also wearing rubber gloves!) to put the t-shirts into the bowls, and leave for at least 15 minutes. The longer they leave them, the darker the colour.

5. After 15 minutes, or longer if desired, remove the t-shirts from the bowls and rinse according to manufacturer’s instructions until water runs clear.

6. Let the kids remove the rubber bands and coins and see their handiwork! Pop the shirts on an airer and leave to dry. When completely dry, hand them back to the kids so they can wear them with pride!

Finished tie-dyed T-shirts

Our top tips

After the t-shirts have been worn, wash them separately from other laundry to ensure any excess dye doesn’t come off on your other clothes!

Make sure the elastic bands are wrapped tightly round the material so no dye leaks onto the bits where you don’t want it.

Try tie-dyeing other garments, or pick a t-shirt in a different colour to white – remember that the dye will mix with the existing colour, so you’ll get a different result!

Try wrapping marbles instead of coins for a circle effect.


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