Last Minute Tie Dye

Last Minute Tie Dye

It is Tie Dye Tuesday at my kids school for spirit week and despite knowing about it ahead of time, since last week, the day seemed to suddenly spring up on me.  Oh no!  Where was I going to find tie dyed shirts?  Better yet, could I make them easily, affordably, and quickly?

Store Bought Kit

Luckily, I remembered seeing some yarn dying kits at Ross Dress for Less in their Arts and Crafts section.  I quickly went there after picking up my 2 angels from school and found the kits on sale for $1.99 each.  Ultimate super score! Who doesn’t like to save on something you needed anyway?

The kit made tie dyeing really simple and easy to do with these steps.

  1. Tie your light/white colored shirt into a tight ball using rubber bands.
    • You can make swirl patterns, sunbursts, shapes, etc. if you prefer
  2. Wet the shirt ball with water, just until damp
  3. Fill each powdered color bottle to the fill line and shake!
  4. Let the kids squeeze different colored dyes onto their shirt balls
  5. Let sit for 4-6 hours in a plastic bag
  6. Rinse off the dye and let hang dry

I think for about 30 minutes total of actual dyeing and rinsing they turned out pretty awesome.  In-progress photos were not taken because the dyeing was completed so fast.  The kit easily made the 4 shirts shown, with lots of dye left over for more if needed/wanted.  We could have easily made 8-10 shirts with this seemingly small kit.  The shirts were just ones my kids had in their drawers, so the total cost of this minimalist craft was $1.99 plus tax.

Tip: Use plastic gloves, 3 sets came with this kit, which was perfect for me and the 2 kids. I bought an extra kit, so next time I plan on doing iron-on stencils with freezer paper and my Cricut Explore Air prior to the tie dye.  On second thought, it may be a long time before I have the time to do that awesome sounding project idea.  I encourage anyone willing to try, to make a stencil with freezer paper, iron it on, then do the dyeing process and post it to me in the comments so my idea can live vicariously through you.

Backup Plan: Kool Aid

So, I did have a backup plan.  It was going to be Kool Aid if I couldn’t find an over the counter dye kit.  Apparently, as seen on Pinterest and Google, you can make dye using unsweetened Kool Aid.  You add the unsweetened Kool Aid to 1 ounce of vinegar per packet and a little water.  The process is the same as above except that you need to iron the clothes to set the color.  Unsweetened Kool Aid Packets cost about $0.99 each, less if you buy in bulk.  Some websites talk about doubling up or combing packets to make a more vibrant color.

Who irons anymore?  I certainly don’t, just ask my poor husband who never has any ironed shirts.  I always tell him that I’m really bad at it anyway, so we try to get wrinkle free stuff, or maybe there are a few wrinkles when some clothes are worn.

But, I digress…the other thing I didn’t realize about the Kool Aid method is that you should let the dye set in a plastic bag for 24 hours.  Lots of people commented online that without the super long color setting and ironing the dye would simply wash out in the laundry.

For more detailed Kool Aid Tie Dye steps check out the list of recipes found on Scouting Web.

So, basically getting the 4 color dye kit seemed to take less dye, less waiting, and in this case cost less money.


For people who want the ultimate convenience of having the tie dye being delivered straight to your door, and have more time to wait for 2 day shipping, I have placed the links for the same tulip yarn dye kits we used from Amazon below.  They come in various awesome color sets.

This post contains affiliate links to products bought, used, and loved by me.  The links are here for your convenience.  I may make a small commission if you chose to buy products using the links above.

Other posts you may enjoy

Disney Cruise DIY Moana Fish Extender


Easy Fish Extender Gifts


Kids DIY butterflies

Comments are closed.