I've been scared to death to attempt tie dye with my kids
for a long time now. And since I don't love the look (most of the time) there's never really been a reason to risk the stained hands, clothes, house, LIFE, etc.
The other day, though, when I saw these adorable watermelon tea towels
and realized that the same thing would work with beach towels, I knew it was time to take the plunge.
When I turned to facebook to get some moral support and tips, my first piece of advice was a reassuring "DON'T!" from one commenter who does tie dye quite a bit but never with her kids. Her warning further solidified in my mind that if we were going to attempt this project, I really needed to think it through ahead of time.
From this commenter and from other people I came up with a plan of attack. And I'm happy to say...we survived! Nothing was irreparably damaged, and I would even do tie dye again if there was another project I was excited about. (Look for an upcoming post about doing tie dye with kids without losing your mind!)
But specifically, to do this project and make the cutest, juiciest beach towels on the beach, here's what you do:
What You Need:
- White, 100% cotton towel. (we bought super cheap bath towels which work just fine for kids)
- 2 buckets that will hold at least a gallon of water each
- Some sort of stirring stick (one that you don't mind getting stained)
- Rubber bands
- Gloves (at least one pair for each person participating)
- Hot Water Dye Powder (you could use cold water dye, but the nice thing about hot water dye is that once it cools down, the drips don't stain as much) in two colors, green and either red or pink (or both if you'd like to layer it!)
- Black permanent marker (big size)
What You Do:
1. Wet your towel. The wetter the towel the more blurry your dye lines will be. (I let the kids do this part with a hose in the back yard).
2. Tie the towel in two places with rubber bands. The space in between the rubber bands will be the white part of the watermelon. I made my white space a little bigger than I should have because I was afraid the colors would bleed into the white space, but they really didn't.
3. Heat water to almost boiling. Pour in dye powder and stir. (the kids helped me stir)
4. Dip one end of the towel into the bucket of dye. Dip as far as the rubber band or a little further if you'd like a faint white stripe there. (the kids did this part) Let it rest there for up to a half hour. The longer the rest, the darker the color.
5. Squeeze out the dye (use gloves) and repeat with the other side in the other color.
6. Allow to dry overnight.
7. Take off the rubber bands for the reveal! (the fun part- the kids did this)
8. Hose the towels down again and wash separately from anything else (the first time they will bleed a little bit) in the washing machine with cold water.
9. Once the towels are dry, use a black permanent marker to draw on the seeds (the kids did this part)
Time to head to the beach!