Friday, September 20, 2013


A few years ago I found a tie dye kit at a yard sale for $1, so I snatched it up, and tucked it away with other "it's super messy so we'll wait until summer to do it projects".

I like to incorporate fun and unexpected things into our homeschool.  I want my kids to LOVE learning, as well as appreciate the privilege and blessing that homeschooling is.

Several years ago I decided to start a new tradition.  The day that all the other schools went back into session, we would not begin that day, but rather have a "not back to school" day.   We often take a road trip to visit our best friends that live on the other side of the mountains,  a couple of times we have played board games all day.  However we spend the day there is lots of fun, lots of laughter.

Since I had reorganized all the closets due to the flooring project last spring, I also tackled some bins I had in the garage. Well, guess what I found tucked away all neat and orderly.  Yep, the tie dye kit. All we needed were some t-shirts.  It would be the perfect thing to do on our not back to school day.  We actually chose to make the shirts on Labor Day since it was a holiday and everyone was home.  It turned out to be sort of a "Good-bye to summer" thing, and it was fun...and messy.

The kit had everything except the directions, so I went on line to find them. There wasn't a downloadable PDF for my particular kit, but I did find a great You Tube video.

She suggested covering the work surface in foil.  This is a really great tip.  It cleans up super easy affording you a clean surface for the next shirt.
Caleb and Hannah taking mixing the dye very seriously.
The first step is to soak your t-shirt in the soda ash wash and wring it out.
{It's probably safest if you wear gloves.}

First, lay out your t-shirt flat on the table, then place a fork on the place where you want the center of your design.  Twist the fork like you would spaghetti, until it's all wound up.  Tuck in any loose ends, and secure with rubber bands.
 Fill in each section with dye.

Hannah wanted stripes instead of swirls so she folded the shirt accordion style then placed rubber bands evenly along.

Can you guess what color she is planning for the other stripe?
It's really important that you do not have any dye on your gloves as your work with your "clean canvas".
Matthew's stripes were blue, purple, and white.

The kit came with just the primary color dyes and one other empty bottle to mix combinations to arrive at the secondary colors.  Even though the kit said it would dye up to 15 shirts, I don't think they considered a large family who has similar tastes and design ideas.  We ran low on some colors.  As it turned out, our orange had more red in it than we thought.  Hannah's shirt isn't so much a tribute to Ireland, as it is to Christmas. {wink}  She's happy with it anyway.

Once you have all the items dyed, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and then place in a plastic bag, and put it in an undisturbed place, like a bath tub. After 24 hours, rinse each one in luke-warm water and then run them through the washer.
{Hint: Place a vinyl tablecloth on the bathroom floor so that you can lay out eat t-shirt after you've rinsed it.  For the first machine washing, I would wash each one separately as a bit of the dye seems to run a bit.
Then proudly wear your "last hurrah before school starts shirt"



  1. This just looks like SO much fun!!!! Very unique. =D

    1. It was fun...and messy. Unique is one word for tie dye, another might be weird!

  2. How fun! Looks like a good summer project! =)

  3. Great idea, how fun!
    I love Hannas Ireland/Christmas shirt! My family tie dyed shirts a few years ago... before we moved up here :D


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