After School Fun: Tie Dye with Kids!

tie dye with kids

Tie dying was definitely the after school high light last week! One thing I have loved about moving to Silicon Valley is that we have been able to go to a few of my long-time bloggy friend Katherine’s Friday Art Groups! Katherine does really cool stuff with tie dye, but we stuck to basics – because, when there is one mom and four kids, that’s the sane way to roll. Tie dye is a kids art activity that I think is really neat, but my kids haven’t had much exposure to it. Thank you, Katherine, for letting us tie dye at your house!!!

Katherine ordered all her supplies from Dharma Trading, and you can find tie dye instructions and starter kits at their site.

kid dyed tie dye shirts

Can you tell which shirt belongs to which kid? Top left is Anna (1 year old), top right is Lily (4 years old), lower left is Johnny (5 years old), and lower right is Emma (7 years old). Anna didn’t actually have a whole lot of say in hers – she is too small to tie dye, at least when there are three other siblings requiring supervision. I should have put her in the backpack, but I left that at home and she thankfully stayed mostly out of trouble.

Johnny was pretty excited about the black dye. Lily was less minimalist than she usually is. Emma was the most undecided about where she was going with her design, but she is happy with how it turned out! I wasn’t really thinking through things when I rolled the shirts up and threw rubber bands around – I could have folded them for more even distribution of colors. Luckily Emma really loves the assymetrical vertical stripe down the one side of hers! We threw it in a crock pot of dye at the end, which is how it turned all teal-ish. Then we rinsed it off in water to keep it from being a super dark teal. Then we threw Anna’s shirt in the water with teal dye, which resulted in the pretty sky blue of her shirt. Interestingly, the yellow dye seems to be able to get around the rubber bands – both Johnny and Lily’s shirts were meant to have stripes like Anna and Emma’s, but they don’t show up! If you look at the right sleeve of Lily’s shirt closely, you can see where the stripe showed up with the red dye, but not the yellow.

If you’re interested in tie dye, or any kind of fiber dye, check out Katherine’s blog! She has an entire series on different dyes, including natural dyes. So fascinating! You could also try this simple tie dye kit

Have you ever tie dyed anything? Dying yarn with Kool-Aid is another fun activity my kids enjoy!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

23 thoughts on “After School Fun: Tie Dye with Kids!”

  1. Their shirts look great! We try to tie dye every summer. My kids love it. Have you ever tried the Sharpie tie dye with rubbing alcohol? We had fun with that too. The only one we have tried that didn’t work that great is the Kool Aid tie dye; most of it washed out.

    1. I haven’t done that one yet – we need to try! That’s interesting that the Kool Aid washed out. We’ve only used Kool Aid to dye yarn, and we haven’t washed the yarn after dying it, so it worked well for that.

  2. Cute! I particularly like Johnny’s. It reminds me of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle colors. J got a tie dye shirt from his new aunt’s mom, and he absolutely loves it! I think tie dye might make a comeback.

  3. These turned out so lovely!! I have such fond memories of tie dying at camp as a kid – I have to try this with my girls one of these days!

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