Before my family and I returned back to the valley where I grew up, we would attend our local farmer’s market every weekend. My pace always slowed as I walked passed the table with tie-dyed clothing. I don’t wear tie-dye, nor does it decorate my house, but I cannot walk past such a booth without admiring the array of colors that invade my eye sight. Last summer I was so happy when I received a tie-dyed onsie as a baby gift for Corinne from a close friend of mine. It was such a break from her pink and purple wardrobe that the onsie was nearly threadbare by the time she grew out of it three months later.
William and I decided to try a mock tie-dye technique this week. I’m deathly afraid of the mess that would ensue if I bought real Ritter dye to make T-shirts with William, so I came up with something that seemed a little safer for his not yet three year old hands.
No dye tie-dye.
I kid you not. Here is what I used for this experiment: muslin fabric scraps, old pens, rubber bands, and washable markers.
Place the muslin scrap over the top of the pen and secure tightly with a rubber band.
Select your markers and begin coloring. Don’t work to color the fabric under the folds. Leaving non-“dyed” parts of fabric is a characteristic of tie-dye.
A note on why I used pens instead of just the fabric and rubber bands like the traditional way: I thought William might need the pen to hold onto as he colored the fabric…and I was right.
William had to coordinate holding the tie-dying pen in one hand while holding a marker and coloring in the other. Sometimes I helped steady his hand, and once he got the hang of it, William said to me, “Not thank you, Mama. I can do it all by myself.”
When the coloring is complete, unfold and layout to see the product of no dye tie dying.
William was so surprised by the results, and I was pleased with the turn out as well.
I thought these six in squares would make fun bean bags. Following that, our next step is to buy a white tee from the dollar store and some fabric markets (that won’t wash out) and try it again. The best part of this project was that the mess was so easy to clean up, because there is no mess with no dye tie dying!
Have a preschooler in your life?
I am Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home mama of five! I am the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught range of levels, including preschool and college, and a little bit of just about everything in between. Right now, my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction