girl tie dying a towel

How to Tie Dye Towels with Your Kids

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Tie dying towels can be a fun and useful project for your family. Instead of simply buying new beach towels this summer, try tie dying towels as a family. This is a fun way to get creative and make colorful tie dye towels. Transform plain cotton towels into swirling canvases of color. Tie-dye isn’t just about mixing colors; it’s about making personalized towels that your kids can call their own. From the excitement of choosing their favorite colors to the anticipation of unwrapping their creation, DIY tie-dye offers a perfect blend of summer fun and creative expression. Plus, you can personalize your towels in any way you’d like! Why settle for regular beach towels when you can make waves with your own colorful, personalized towels? Dive into the world of tie-dye and make this summer unforgettable.

Materials Needed

  • Tulip One-Step Spray Dye Kit: Your rainbow in a box, giving you an array of colors to create those vibrant, colorful towels.
Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit One-Step Spray Kit Fabric Dye, Confetti
  • This tie dye kit is as easy as it gets and allows for more versatility than traditional tie dyes
  • Kit contains 7 color-coordinated spray bottles with dye inside, gloves, rubber bands, and instructions
Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Party, 18 Pre-Filled Bottles, Creative Group Activity, All-in-1 Fashion…
  • Just add water to bottles to activate dyes
  • No need to presoak fabrics in soda ash before dyeing
  • 100% White Cotton Towels: The blank canvases waiting for a splash of color. I personally love a bigger towel, but for kids, a bath towel might be big enough.
Amazon Basics – 2 Piece Quick-Dry Oversize Bath Towel, 100% Cotton, White, 54″ x 30″
  • Bath towel measures 54 by 30 inches
  • Made of 100% cotton for softness and tear-resistant strength
American Soft Linen Oversized Bath Sheet 40×80 Extra Large for Bathroom, 100% Cotton Turkish Jumbo…
  • ✅ Oversized Bath Sheet Sizes are 40×80 inches. You can use Oversized Bathsheets After Shower in Bathroom or Pool, Beach, Sauna, Gym etc.
  • ✅ 100% Cotton Turkish Oversized Bath Sheet is 600 GSM Heavy Weight, Soft, Absorbent and Quick Drying. These XL Bath Towels are Double Stitched on Long Sides for Maximum Durability
  • Pre-Wash: Soda Ash is a great way to ensure your towels are clean and ready to absorb the dye. It’s like telling your towels to wake up because it’s time to get colorful.
Soda Ash Lite (2 lbs) – 100% Pure Sodium Carbonate – Washing Soda, Tie Die, pH Increaser, and More -…
  • Make your tie-dye designs POP! Preparing your fabrics by soaking in Soda Ash enhances dye absorption.
  • For use with natural-fiber fabrics including cotton
  • Duct Tape: Not just for fixing things! You’ll use it to write names or create designs, making each towel as unique as a fingerprint.
The Original Duck Brand Duct Tape, 1-Pack 1.88 Inch x 60 Yard, Silver (394475)
  • Recommended for temporary household repairs including holding, seaming, sealing and bundling
  • Works on a variety of surfaces, including wood, vinyl, plastic, leather, metal and laminate
  • Fabric Dye: Those magic potions that transform plain towels into colorful summer fun.
  • Protective Covering for Work Area: Because while we love dye on our towels, we don’t necessarily want it on everything else! We like to use gloves, aprons, and this plastic table cloth covering.
MoloTAR 100 pcs Plastic Disposable Gloves,Disposable Gloves, One Size Fits Most
  • 100 Piece plastic disposable gloves :11.2 inches*9.8 inches . each:0.7g/1Pcs .Suitable for everyone’s size.
  • Color :transparent. Gloves.25*28.5(cm),Thick Poly PE.Gloves thicker, ,environmentally friendly and recyclable.
smiry Rectangle Clear Table Cloth 60×84 Inch, Waterproof Wipeable Vinyl Tablecloths Protector, Oil…
  • [Reusable & Premium Quality] Crafted from high-quality vinyl material, our table cover provides effective protection against UV rays and scratches. Versatile for both outdoor and indoor use, it ensures enduring performance and resilience to repeated use over time.
  • [Waterproof & Spillproof] Our vinyl tablecloth features a waterproof design, preventing liquids from seeping into the table. It effectively isolates various spills, such as water, milk, and oil stains, keeping them on the surface for easy cleanup.

Finding the Perfect Towel for Tie Dye

Stepping into the realm of DIY tie dye projects is akin to opening a book full of endless possibilities. You might wonder why we use 100% white cotton towels for our creations. It’s simple: these towels are like sponges that eagerly absorb and retain the vibrant fabric dye, ensuring that the masterpiece you create remains bright and beautiful, wash after wash. According to the experts at Tulip Tie Dye, renowned for their Tulip One-Step Spray Dye Kit, white cotton isn’t just a recommendation; it’s a necessity. It’s the secret ingredient that allows the colors to truly shine, transforming a basic beach or pool towel into a personalized piece of summer fun. Just like a cherished book holds stories within its pages, a tie-dyed towel holds memories of creative summer days.

tie dying towels green and purple

Setting Up Your Tie-Dye Station

Where you set up your tie-dye station matters! The main goal is to keep the mess at bay. Slipping on disposable gloves and aprons lets everyone dive into this colorful escapade without a worry. For the little ones, consider a DIY apron from a trash bag – their own armor against splashes of dye.

We also like to set up our tie dye next to the sink. Have plastic wrap on hand to wrap up your towels after the dye is applied. Lastly, we like to use a baking cooling rack over the top of a cookie sheet or cake pan so that we can catch the excess dye without it reapplying on the back of the towel. This is crucial for keeping your designs nice on the back!

Writing the Name with Duct Tape (Optional)

Transform a plain, 100% white cotton towel into personalized beach gear. The magic starts with a simple roll of duct tape. Begin by stretching the towel out on a protected surface to ensure your DIY tie dye project doesn’t leave a colorful surprise on your workspace. Now, think of duct tape as your brush and the towel as your canvas. Tear off pieces of tape and carefully place them on the towel, forming the letters of your child’s name. If you’re aiming for summer fun with a touch of uniqueness, this step is important. Each letter you craft personalizes your kids’ pool towels. But here’s a DIY tie dye tip: press the edges of the tape down firmly to avoid dye seeping underneath, ensuring the name stands out crisply against the swirl of colors to come.

Applying the Dye

tie dyed towel on a counter
  1. Start with your towel laid flat on a covered surface if you are using spray dye with a duct tape name. If not, go ahead and tie up your towel however you like, and lay it out.
  2. Select your first color from the Tulip One-Step Spray Dye Kit. Holding the bottle about 6 inches away from the fabric, begin spraying lightly. The key to a whimsical ombre effect is to spray more densely at one end and gradually lighten the touch as you move along the towel. If you are not using spray dye, apply with the applicator bottle to cover the area.
  3. Add more colors to create a vibrant, personalized beach gear masterpiece. Remember, this summer craft is all about expressing yourself, so don’t hold back on mixing colors that reflect your or your child’s personality.
  4. Let the colors blend slightly where they meet for a seamless transition. Personalized towels aren’t just about the bright colors; they’re about how those colors dance together, creating a unique piece every time.
  5. Wait a few moments before applying the next layer of dye if you’re looking for deeper color saturation. This DIY tie-dye project is not just a fun activity but a lesson in patience, as each layer uncovers more depth and intensity.

Patience Pays Off

After channeling your inner artist and transforming your cotton towel into a masterpiece, it’s time for the hardest part – waiting. This step is all about letting the dye do its magic and firmly set into the fabric. Carefully fold, scrunch, or roll your towel small enough to wrap with plastic wrap. Once covered entirely with the plastic wrap (bottom and top), set the towel aside. You’ll want to wait 24 hours for the dye to set.

Consider it a perfect opportunity to teach your kids (or remind ourselves) about the beauty of delayed gratification. Hang tight, because the end result of this DIY tie dye adventure is definitely worth the wait.

Rinsing and Revealing

rinsing a tie-dyed towel

Once you’ve given your towel the time it needs to let the colors of the fabric dye set, you’re moving into one of the most exciting steps of your DIY tie dye project. Here’s how you’ll uncover the magic, your soon-to-be personalized beach gear that screams summer fun. Here’s what you do:

  1. Peel off the Duct Tape: Gently start peeling the duct tape from the towel. This is where you see the crisp lines of your design or the name you’ve chosen coming to life against the backdrop of your DIY tie dye masterpiece.
  2. Rinse in Cold Water: Now, take your towel and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Wear gloves as you do this…we’ve learned the hard way that your hands will get dye on them without. This step is crucial for removing any excess dye and helps in setting the colors properly. It’s like watching your efforts pay off, as each rinse brings out the hues more vibrantly.
  3. Reveal Your Artwork: Once the water runs clear, unfold your towel to reveal the final design. Seeing the unique patterns and the way the colors blend can be incredibly satisfying. You’ve just created personalized towels!

How to Clean Your Colorful Creations

So, you’ve transformed those plain cotton towels into a burst of tie-dye wonder, and you’re probably asking,

“How do I wash these without turning everything in my laundry into a rainbow?”

I’ve got you covered. Washing your DIY tie-dye towels is simpler than you might think. Initially, give them a solo journey in the washing machine. This is just to make sure none of that vibrant dye decides to vacation on your other clothes. You can even throw in a color catcher to keep the colors from running into one another. We use these color catchers.

Shout Color Catcher Sheets for Laundry, Allow Mixed Washes, Prevent Color Runs, and Maintain…
  • One 72 count pack of Shout Color Catcher Laundry Sheets lock up loose dyes found in the wash water, allowing you to mix whites and colors in the same load
  • Each laundry color catcher sheet helps prevent dye transfer to maintain the original colors of your clothes

After the first one or two washes, your tie-dye towels are ready to mingle with your regular laundry, no fuss needed.

Diving Into More Tie-Dye Adventures

Did you catch the tie-dye bug? We try to tie-dye something every summer and our kids LOVE it! We’ve tried sweatshirts, bags, and even socks! Here’s a few ideas for more fun projects.

  • Canvas Sneakers: Why not give those plain white canvas sneakers a makeover? Imagine turning them into vibrant masterpieces of color – a perfect way to add a bit of personality into your child’s everyday look.
  • Cotton T-Shirts: There’s nothing quite like the classic appeal of tie-dyed T-shirts for summer. Grab some plain tees and let the waves of creativity lead you to fashion unique pieces that scream summer fun at the beach or pool. Our family especially loves doing red, white, and blue as the 4th of July gets closer!
  • Pillowcases: Night time can be just as colorful as daytime with tie-dyed pillowcases. It’s an activity that’s as fun as it is colorful and fun, acting as a lively splash of color in your child’s room.
  • Bandanas: Crafting colorful tie-dye bandanas can be a fabulous way to keep hair out of the face during those windy beach days, or simply to add a pop of color to any outfit.
  • Socks: Don’t forget about those feet! Sprucing up a pair of plain socks with some tie-dye flair can add an unexpected pop of color to your child’s outfit, making getting dressed an adventure.
  • Beach Sarong: For those looking to expand their summer craft projects, tie-dyeing beach sarongs offers a creative outlet. They serve beautifully as unique cover-ups or chic picnic blankets for beach outings.

Seize the joy of summer by creating beach gear that’s uniquely yours. Your kids will love the chance to get creative just in time for summer!

Have you ever tie-dyed beach towels? How did it go?

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