I love this craft! I first saw it on the Martha Stewart website years ago and could not wait to do this fun craft with my own kids! As a kid, I remember my mother patiently tie dying shirts (and any other white fabric we could get our hands on) during summer vacation. It was so fun and SO messy! My daughter is 3 and while I knew she would love to tie dye something, I just wasn’t ready to embark on actual tie dying with her, I could see it ending as a huge mess in the yard. Instead, we tie dyed a shirt for the 4th of July using Sharpie markers. It was easy! It was fun! But best of all, it was almost totally mess-free!
She loved how all the colors ran together (and in the process learned that red + blue = purple). I loved that I was able to complete this project with items I already had in my house. We transformed a stained white t-shirt into a fun red, white and blue shirt for the 4th!
How easy is this? All you need is:
Sharpie markers (I like the wide tip markers)
1 white shirt
Step 1: Insert cardboard inside your shirt. This is just to make sure your design doesn’t leak through to the other side of your shirt. Draw your design and get creative! My daughter is really into Minnie Mouse right now, so I tried to create a Minnie face using red and blue Sharpies. Drawing on fabric is surprisingly difficult, so I did this part since my daughter is so young.
Step 2: Spray with rubbing alcohol. Super easy! I had a little travel spray bottle that I filled up with about an ounce of rubbing alcohol, which was plenty for a small shirt. It does take awhile for the design to really look tie dyed, I think my daughter got a little over excited and sprayed too much- but it still looks super cute! Give your design a few sprays and then check on it after a few minutes.
Here is what our shirt looked like after about 3 minutes. We sprayed a tiny bit more and waited. Please make sure you are doing this craft in a well ventilated area, or outside.
After about 10 minutes our shirt looked great! My daughter did give it a few more sprays, so our end result looks very tie dyed! Now, we need to make sure the design will set. After the alcohol is completely dry (not even a little damp, completely dry. Let it sit for a few hours at least) you can either iron it or just toss it in the dryer. I put mine in the dryer with some old towels for about 20 minutes to really set the design.
That’s it! You are all set to wear your creation! If you wash the shirt frequently, it will fade a bit. I really recommend using really bright colors to make sure your design looks beautiful for as long as possible.