Boredom Buster Monday: Tie-dye time!

It all started with these t-shirts….

For July 4th, I bought some cheap white T-shirts with a flag motif, and the whole family wore them.  I’ve never really tried to be all matchy-matchy with the kids’ clothes, so I’m not sure where this impulse came from, but they humored me for that one day.

After the holiday, I knew they would never wear them again.  They’d stuff them somewhere underneath a bed or in the back of a drawer — waiting, waiting — and then they’d sneak them into the donation bag.  Or cut them up as rags.  Or surreptitiously give it to Louie the Smelly Wonder Pup to rip apart.

And then E found this book….

and wanted to dye this yarn….

and suddenly we were googling everything we could about designing tie-dyed t-shirts.

I’ve never attempted tie-dyeing before.  I think I was always worried that the colors would run and create unsightly blotches on all the other clothes or that my fingers would be stained purple forever and ever.  But with E loving color the way she does, I pulled out some Rit Dye, took a deep breath and went for it.

We set up the area….

twisted up all the shirts….

applied the dye….

and rinsed them out on the line (squirting the kids standing behind the shirts with water from the hose too).

Pretty, no?  And then, in my hurry to get them finished (because I am not a patient gal), I took them in and threw them in the washer to spin out all the extra water and turned everything, EVERYTHING a weird shade of pink.  Oops.

The guys aren’t pleased, but E thinks it’s awesome.  And the yarn that started it all?

It’s still white.  I totally forgot to dye it.  Double oops.

Oh well.  Everyone liked creating their shirts and seeing what design happened when they untied them.  It was fun watching how-to videos online and messing around with folding the shirts and squirting everything with dye.  Next time I’ll be sure to let them dry first.

And now… back to watching the Olympics!


About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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11 Responses to Boredom Buster Monday: Tie-dye time!

  1. Micha says:

    Have you seen the colored Sharpie method of tie dyeing? I’m curious to know if that works as it seems less messy. Looks like the clan had fun!

    • Ooooh, I haven’t seen that! I feel a little Googling coming on…

      Yeah, they all had fun, but the one who really got obsessed with it? My husband. He was so bummed that the shirts came out pink, and he’s the one who’s trying to figure out when we’ll have a day to try this again. He’s all about the tying and the dyeing. So funny.

  2. Lynne says:

    Check out Michael’s craft store…on Facebook today, they posted a video on how to make tote bags out of t-shirts. E may like to give it a try!

  3. Love the shirts. Evan and I just did some tie-dye a few weeks ago. Fun for this Grandma – not so much for Evan, although he loved the end result!! Love your shirts!

    • How did your shirts come out? Did you use Rit dye or some other type of dye? And how do you keep the colors from all blending together — do you have to let it dry completely and then wash each shirt individually? Obviously, I need a little help in the dyeing area…. 🙂

      • Hey Joan- I actually used a tie-dye kit from Michaels. I’ll post some pictures later this week. The colors blended together in a few spots, but turned out pretty cool. I washed the shirts by themselves after we were done, and dried them in the dryer to set the colors. I think the dyeing process just takes practice. Happy Summer Monday!

      • I’m guessing I really need practice! Looking forward to reading your post.

  4. candleowlknits says:

    My family has started a tradition where we get together at someone’s house in August, make tie dye, then go indoors and watch a movie from the 60s or 70s while our creations dry. Last year it was “The Yellow Submarine.” That happened to a lot of us last year that everything turned pink in the wash…

    • What a great summer idea — a tie-dye party! Sounds so fun, even if everything turns pink. I love the movie choice too!

      I think next time we try it, we’re also going to try headbands and bags as well as shirts. Now all we need is a 1960s VW van and we’ll really freak out the neighbors.

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