How to Tie Dye T-Shirts with the Kids

how to tie dye t-shirts #diy #kidsactivity

We are only 2 days in to summer vacation and the kids are already getting bored. What in the world will we do to keep them busy for the next couple of months between vacation trips?! If you’re asking your self the same question I have an idea you may want to try – let the kids tie dye their own t-shirts!

This is a DIY I shared on Celebrations a couple of years ago {the kids look so young in that photo!} and I thought it was about time I share it with you guys in case you missed it. It’s the perfect activity to do at a tie dye party or on any summer day since this is an outdoor activity. I let them gather a friend and I provided all the supplies needed, and walked them through the process.

I’ll show you how to create 2 different patterns: the swirl, and the star burst.


  • A tie dye kit that contains several colors of dye, the squirt bottles, rubber bands, and plastic gloves {available at craft stores}
  • White t-shirts
  • large plastic trash bag to work on
  • large rubber bands {if not included in kit}
  • extra sets of plastic gloves if you have several participants
  • Saran wrap
  • a fork
  • Bucket of water

Begin by cutting the plastic trash bag open so you can lay it flat on the ground to work on.

Soak the t-shirt in the bucket of water, then remove it and ring out the excess. Lay it flat on the plastic bag, front side facing up.

Continue with instructions below…


The Swirl:

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  1. Use a fork to help you; place the fork in the middle of the t-shirt and begin twirling it around and around, like a bowl of spaghetti, until the shirt is in a tight ‘disk’ shape.
  2. Use several large rubber bands and wrap them around the shirt, similar to the spokes of a wheel.
  3. Begin squirting the dye onto the shirt in any fashion you like. Cover the front and back completely for more color in the final pattern.
  4. Wrap the saturated shirt in saran wrap, and let sit over night.

The Star burst:

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  1. Choose a point on the shirt that will be your focal point. It can be in the center, or off center for a more random look. Pull up some of the fabric and wrap a rubber band around it securely. For more star bursts, repeat this process in another part of the shirt.
  2. Start gathering the 2 sides of the shirt accordion style so they meet in the middle lengthwise. Place rubber bands at intervals all the way down the shirt.
  3. Cover the shirt in dye, using as many colors as you want.
  4. Wrap the shirt in saran wrap and let sit over night.

Once the kids open up their shirts they will be excited to see what pattern unfolds.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wash the newly tie dyed shirts in hot water, separately from other laundry, once you open them up. In fact I would wash them separately 1 or 2 other times before adding them to other laundry just to be safe.

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What fun activities will you do with your children this summer? Any other great ideas?

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