Monday, May 18, 2020

Cool Tie Dye Shirts to Make with Kids

Tie dyeing shirts is one of my favorite classic summer activities! It is much simpler than you think!

Today I have a fun twist to make your shirts even cooler this summer! I'll give you a hint... it involves white glue!

RELATED: Find more of our favorite classic Camp Mom summer activities here.

How do you tie dye t-shirts?

Here's my favorite low-mess way to tie dye shirts!

  • big plastic containers (underbed storage bins work great!) 
  • squirt bottles (for dye)
  • spray bottles (for water)
  • rubber bands
  • plastic gloves 
  • white t-shirts (the $5 Target ones are great!)
  • tie dye powder  
  • Elmers glue
  • 1-2 gallon Ziploc bags (depending on how many you are making)

* I like to buy the Tulip Tie Dye kits because they come with the dye, squirt bottles, rubber bands, and gloves! Easy peasy!


Follow the directions on the dye container to mix the dye and put it in the bottles. Make sure you wear gloves.

Glue Batik Tie Shirts are so cool! Here's how you make them.


1. Draw a design on a piece of paper or cardstock and then slip it underneath the shirt. Let kids make whatever design they want!

2. Use glue to trace the design onto the front of your shirt.

3. Let the glue dry.

4. Scrunch up the shirt and add rubberbands where you want to create your tie dye designs (you can find loads of tutorials on YouTube that show you fun ways to tie dye- spirals, bulls-eyes, etc.). I tried to only use the rubberbands on areas where there weren’t batik designs.

5. Dampen the shirt to make it easier to apply the dye (I used a spray bottle to squirt water on the shirts). The more water you use, the more the dye can seep in. Make sure you spray water inside the creases on the shirts. This is always my kid's favorite part!

It may turn into a mini water fight.
6. Squirt dye onto the shirt with the squeeze bottles (make sure you cover table surfaces with plastic and use gloves- dye stains!).

Kids can squirt the dye as long as a grown up is nearby and helping.

7. Wrap the shirt with plastic wrap or put it into a sealed plastic bag and let it set overnight.

8. Rinse with water to get the leftover dye out and take off the rubber bands. Follow the rest of the directions that come with your dye kit for washing and drying in the washer/dryer. Don’t wash the shirt with anything else the first few times.

9. Check out the awesome tie dye and batik designs on your shirt!! This unveiling process is our favorite!

Why we love classic camp crafts:

I grew up going to our town’s recreation department camp every summer. My twin sister and I and our friends did lip syncs to Tiffany for the talent show and spent our afternoons making dream catchers and popsicle stick jewelry boxes. I loved sitting at the picnic tables and lazily crafting while chatting with my friends.

I try to recreate this sort of fun and relaxing summer camp atmosphere in our home each year by attempting some classic camp crafts with my kids and some friends.

RELATED: Need a simple plan for the summer? Try out our Year of Play- Toddler Activity calendars!

We did all of the shirts in Fourth of July colors since I think they are perfect to wear all summer long, but you can use any colors!

Do you have any favorite classic camp crafts or activities you remember from when you were growing up? Which ones have you tried with your kids yet?

Tell us in the comments!

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