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Tips on tie dye shirts for kids with kids!

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Tips on tie dye shirts for kids with kids

Tie dye with kids can be easy and fun! This summer I ran a co-op day camp with some of my son’s buddies, and I wanted to have “camp shirts”. I hear people talk all the time about how tie dye is too messy but I knew how much he’d love making his own shirt, and we forged on! I googled for some tips before we started, and the posts that came up were intimidating. It really wasn’t that hard with a little prep work, so I’m sharing my quick tips and hoping you’ll dive in and test out my tips on tie dye shirts for kids with kids!

tie dye kit from tulip

My first tip is to buy a specific product; Tulip makes a one step kit in a variety of colors and sizes that is perfect for tie dye with kids – there is no salt, no ash, you just add water, mix it up, and squirt. I did get mine for free when I made this upcycled DIY tie dye blanket, but I really love it and bought some of the refills this year.

Shop for the one step kit: on AmazonWalmartMichaels

I highly recommend looking at your kid’s current clothes and tie dyeing something they already own, it’s a great way to cover stains! Or shop second hand for  a white dress or tshirt on Ebay, Thredup, or Kidizen.

tie dye bottle

The kit includes rubber bands, gloves, and a picture tutorial for different techniques. The squirt bottles are a good size for kid hands, just make sure not to lose the caps. Like I mentioned, you can buy powder refills for the bottles or reuse them with liquid RIT dye, so don’t toss them!

You might be interested in these other posts while you’re here!

hand in glove

My second tip is to secure the gloves! The gloves that come with the kit are adult size, so I put some of the rubber bands around his wrists.

tie dye process

I think I’m going to order a pair of kid size rubber gloves that are reusable – we could use them when we pick up trash, too!

kid tie dyeing

My third tip is to do it outside; tie dyeing in the grass made for easy cleanup. Fourth tip would be to have the kids wear socks – otherwise they will end up with dyed feet!

tie dye bag

Tip 5 really only matters if you’re doing this as a big group, and it is to pre-label ziploc bags and put each kid’s shirt inside. I tried labeling on the clothing label, but it was quickly covered with dye and illegible. Ziploc bags made it easy for parents to take their shirts home without making a mess.

tie dye shirts

That’s it! You can see my son & daughter’s shirts above, they were so thrilled to wear them each week. It really wasn’t that much clean up; I just hosed down the lawn, threw away the gloves, and put the dye bottles away for next year.

Pin these tips for tie dye shirts for kids with this link or image:

Tie dye with kids can be easy and fun! Check out these tips for tie dyeing that makes a minimal mess - perfect summer craft for older kiddos and a great "camp shirt" idea.

Are you willing to let your kids get potentially messy for some fun? Any favorite tips for tie dyeing with young kids that I can share?

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Linda Goodwin

Tuesday 19th of May 2020

Hi, Stephanie, do you have any tips on "setting" the dye so it doesn't run? I did some muslin several years ago and discovered that nothing I tried (salt, vinegar...) worked, so the fabric was basically useless. Thanks! I always enjoy your posts, have saved many, and look forward to when my 5 month old grand daughter is old enough to do crafts with me!!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 12th of July 2020

Hi Linda! I'm sorry, this got kicked to spam so my reply is late :( I haven't had any running issues; you could use color catchers in the wash? Or if you're wanting crisper borders, doing one color, setting, washing, then doing the next. Thank you so much for your kind words!

Susie Reis

Wednesday 11th of September 2019

Thank you for the great info! My daughter has put me in charge of tie dye for my granddaughters birthday party. One quick question, after you dye the shirts and put them in the ziplocks, do the parents need to rinse them out before washing?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 11th of September 2019

I didn't/don't! I wouldn't wash them with a load of whites or anything but one wash + one rinse and they have always been good to go for me :) Hope it is a fun party!

Joy B

Saturday 6th of July 2019

Thanks for the great ideas. I bought white t-shirts at thrift stores over the winter, and since we begin two months of babysitting four grandjoys of different ages, this is a great first project.

I think I will plan to “prefold” the shirts for the younger two so they can just squirt away! And maybe have them all wear white socks too! 🙂

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 10th of July 2019

Joy, that sounds like SUCH a fun time and I'm so glad my post helped you, I hope it goes great!!


Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Thank you for this post! I am going to be making tie dye shirts with my 24 transitional kindergarten students on Friday! This info is exactly what I needed to know.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Yay! I am so happy to hear it, I hope it goes well and everyone has fun :)


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

you put the shirts ina ziplock so that kids could wash them afte die right?

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Tuesday 12th of September 2017

Yes! So they were easy to transport home and be washed without making a mess.

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