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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Safe & easy dyeing with kids!

After years of tie dyeing at camps and being disappointed by the results every time, I discovered Procion dyes. The real thing and wow! what a difference!
In fact my business began as with dyed (and painted) clothing...

However, Procion dyes and the chemical dyeing process are decidedly NOT kid-friendly.
So I was thrilled to find out that you could 'dye' with Sharpies!

We did the activity with 8 six year olds on a sunny afternoon.
It took them anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to do the colouring, and we were able to wash and dry them and send them home at the end of the 2 hour party.

{This is also a great way to refresh faded or stained white tees! Cover the spots or cover the whole shirt!}

• Sharpie markers in desired colours
• Rubbing alcohol
• Eye droppers
• Rubber bands
• Plastic or other cups
• Cotton tshirts
Work in a well ventilated area~ the alcohol is stinky!

1) Prewash your tshirts. Avoid purchasing 'stain resistant' shirts. 
Wash them in hot water to remove any remaining sizing or other chemicals from the fabric.

2) To create the circle patterns on your shirts, insert as many cups as you wish, putting an elastic band around the mouth to attach them to the tee. 
You can also tie your shirt in traditional tie-dye patterns and folds and follow the rest of the instructions to create the effects.
If using cups, be sure that each can stand upright.  If doing front and back, do one side at a time.

3) Colour the circles.  Encourage children to use the entire space and a variety of colours in each circle.
A couple of hints:
Small dots are very effective when applied around the circle... alternate colours to create stripes!
Large patches of a single colour are not effective in the end, nor are patterns that are too far from the edge of the cups. 
Colours do not blend much (unlike real dyes) so there is little concern with how close they are to one another.
Specific shapes and pictures (ie. a heart or a name) blend away and do not work well.
Circular patterns of dots, dashes, lines and so on work the best in the end.

This child didn't add much to her circles and was disappointed with the lack of colour on her finished shirt:
These kids filled up the circles with a variety of shapes and colours to better effect:
4) Add the Alcohol: Use your eye dropper to apply the rubbing alcohol to each circle.
Be sure that the cups are upright to allow the ink to spread evenly around the circle and beyond.
Apply the alcohol around the outer edge of the circle, allow it to spread and then saturate any remaining dry spots in the center.
 Varying the amount of alcohol will change the distance of the ink flow.
This step is captivating for kids and adults alike!
Set aside and allow the alcohol time to evaporate for a brighter finished item.

5) Wash the Shirts: toss the tees into a cold water wash on their own. Dry as desired.

And you will have very proud and happy kids who have designed their own tees!


Anonymous said...

This is wonderful! I've been doing a similar paper craft with my kids this summer: coffee filters, washable markers, and a spray bottle. Now we can do the same thing on their shirts!

DearHelenHartman said...

That looks like such fun! Can't wait to try it.

MamaWestWind said...

What an awesome craft! How fun!


Lee said...

That looks fun-- going to remember this one. Thanks for posting!

April's Homemaking said...

This looks like so much fun, this is something I am so excited to try. Thanks for sharing all of the great step by step pictures!

Unknown said...

My pleasure~ easy and fun, my favourite kind of craft! And the spreading ink is very cool to watch!

Mandy Beyeler said...

thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday - you were featured today!

Unknown said...

Awesome thanks!

Tammy R said...

We are about to do this project at a birthday party. Your pictures are the best I have seen. We have found that if you want smaller circles do a small design with alot of color in the very center about quarter size then apply r.a. in drop in the center and it flows away from the design. We have found that afew of our markeres do mix so this makes a satined glass effect with some practise.

Unknown said...

I didn't realize you had a blog! We have several of your toys purchased from Etsy and HC. I found you via Happy Whimsical Hearts. :)

Chris said...

I wish I could remember where I found you from, but I absolutely LOVE this activity. We tried it with what I had on hand -- fine tip Sharpies. Definitely did not work, but it was enough for me to see HOW it does, and I've decided it'll be an incredible playgroup activity with our kids. Thanks for sharing!

Nelly@DGInnovations said...

Thanks for sharing this idea! I mentioned this on my blog, full credit to you, of course!

Chloe said...

This really is a fantastic way to personalise a plain t-shirt. The results are so pretty and fun - children will love creating and wearing their designs!

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