Full of Color

This activity was once again found on Pinterest. Tie dye is a fun activity for all ages and is always exciting when you see your final creation. I have done tie dye before with my 2nd graders, which was kind of a disaster. It was the last day of the sessions and I thought we’d do something fun while learning about color. I had twenty-two students and there was dye everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I did do a shirt with my 2nd graders to remember the fun times, but I was more interested in helping them that my shirt ended up muddy. I also didn’t know that the shirt was suppose to be damped before you put the dye on the shirt. This was a fun learning experience and I was able to focus on the design of the shirt and placement of the colors. So lets jump into my exciting creations!

Here are all of the supplies I gathered up for this project.

Make sure if you do this project to wear gloves even when mixing the dye because it will stain your hands. The tie dye I used I just purchased from Walmart along with different sizes of rubber bands. The kit I purchased included: 10 no-mess squeeze bottles containing dye, 6 protective gloves, 30 rubber bands, and an instruction sheet. I read on my instruction sheet that I needed to prewash the fabric to remove sizing. It stated to not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. I chose to use the wet technique, which meant I used the shirts directly from the washer. IMG_3874After I took the shirts out of the washer I had to come up with what design I wanted to do on them. The two designs I liked were called swirl and crumple. To do the swirl design I had to lay the fabric on a protected work surface. I had to decide where I wanted the swirl. For most of the shirts I chose the middle or the corner. I tried two methods: pinching the fabric and using a fork. I twisted the fabric around into a flat spiral after I did this I wrapped the shirt into 6 wedges. The crumple was much easier by laying the fabric on a protected work surface. Scrunching the fabric by using my fingers.

Once I got my designs how I wanted them I began to plan the colors I wanted on each shirt. I did three shirts for my nephew and three shirts for myself. The instructions were very easy to follow. I simply apply the dye to the fabric, checking to make sure dye has worked it’s way into the folds. It mentioned not to over-saturate the fabric and noted that if dye is applied too close together, the colors may become muddy. This was a very fun process and very creative. Below are pictures of two shirts crumpled and two shirts with a spiral or swirl.

When I decided that the shirts looked good and I was happy with the colors I had to wrap the shirts in plastic wrap to keep damp and let them sit for 6-8 hours. I let the shirts sit longer for the more intense colors I used. I also decided to put the wrapped shirts into plastic bags to help make it less messy. IMG_3887Twelve hours later I decided to go ahead and rinse the shirts until the water was clear. I took the rubber bands off and filled the washer to a large load setting with hot water suitable to the fabric and a small amount of laundry soap. The instruction sheet mentioned to wash and dry separately for the first few times, but I decided to just stick all of the shirts together. And here is the finished product!

This was a fun project to do! Compared to the last time I did tie dye I’d say I learned a lot. It was a fun experience and the final product was more than I could imagine it would turn out to be. My nephew loved his shirts and had to instantly put one of them on. The two methods that I tried for the spiral or swirl: my fingers verses a fork, and I have to say the shirt I used the fork with turned out way better than my pinching. The shirts I used the fork method on was the rainbow shirts and the pinching method I used on the red, orange, and yellow shirt. The colors are very intense and all in all fantastic!

This tweet was great information for a how to establish creativity in the classroom. Just like I did with my 2nd graders and their tie dye activity. I could have incorporated some type of technology into that lesson. For example, possibly showing a tutorial video of how to tie dye may have helped my students create.



“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

  • – Albert Einstein

10 thoughts on “Full of Color”

  1. Your shirts look fantastic! I know to prewash, I’ve never tried pulling the shirts straight out of the wash and dying them wet. Do you think that made any sort of difference?


    1. I’ve done this activity with my students before and I’ve learned a lot since the first time. With my students I didn’t wash the shirts or have them wet. The dye was very muddy and didn’t turn out at all like the second try. I did my research and it said that the colors tend to blend together more when the shirts are wet, which was really fun to see the colors make new shades. I think either way the shirts would turn out great. I think when I do this again I will have the shirts wet again.


  2. This looks a heck of a lot better than any tie-dying I’ve ever done, so I think they are pretty neat! I think this would be a stressful activity to do with second graders and can definitely see why you got so caught up in helping them that yours got muddy! Great job and can’t wait to see what you come up with next week!


    1. Yes! It turned out a lot different this second time. I never got the chance to see my second graders shirts and how they turned out, but I hope they look amazing. I learned to use wet shirts instead of keeping the shirts dry and I’m pretty pleased with my results.


  3. Those are awesome! Again, something I would love to try with my boys. I have always been afraid because it looks so messy. I like the kit idea, I will have to look into it. I will definitely keep in mind taking them out of the washer and doing the color on them while they are wet. I have never heard about that before.


  4. I think it is great that you were able to compare this experience with another tye dying experience. This shows true learning! Plus Pinterest activities are usually fun! I agree that the ones twisted with a fork turned out much more interesting than those that were done only with your hands. Although, each of those shirts are beautiful!


  5. Pinterest is a great place to check for creative ideas. Your tie dye shirts came out very nice. I have not tie dye anything in such a long time. You kind of inspire me to get some shirts to tie dye them on my next day off.


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