Would this work with 8th grade students?
  • I am doing a tie dye project with an 8th grade class. Because we meet each day for a limited amount of time would there be any harm in following this timeline?

    Soak cotton shirts in soda ash for 24 hours

    Remove shirts, squeeze out water and tie in desired design

    Place shirts in a zip lock bag for 24 hours They are now all tied and ready to go

    Next day (24 hours later) remove shirts from bag and apply dye.

    Place shirts back in back for another 24 hours and rinse and wash in wash machine.

    Your expertise would be most welcome.
  • I think you should have them tie the shirts before soaking them in soda ash. If the shirts are wet with soda ash, then the kids must wear gloves to tie, and that's a pain. The gloves get caught in the string or rubber bands. You can moisten the shirts with plain water for tying, or have them tie them dry.

    -Paula
  • I have a 4, 7 and 9 year old and did not want them handling the soda ash chemical with bare hands either and you cannot find gloves small enough for little kids.

    Last year, I soaked my shirts in the soda ash solution and then let them line dry. Then, my kids worked with the soda-ashed infused dry shirts.

    The shirts still had the chemical on them/in them but much much less got on their skin during the tieing process.

    The shirts came out awesome. This is more time for you up front but will save a whole class period and you won't have to keep wet stuff in ziploc bags for a second night - tie one day, dye the next.

    You can also put the soda ash in with the dye instead but this has a short shelf life (2 hours is what I remember).
  • There is absolutely no need to ever allow children to tie soda-ash-soaked shirts, wet or dry. It's easy to tie unsoaked shirts when they are either dry or simply dampened with water. Even after the shirts have been dampened with water for tying, it works perfectly well to soak the damp tied shirts in soda ash solution, made at a strength of one cup of soda ash per gallon of water (250 ml per 4 liters).

    Line-dried soda-ash-soaked shirts are nice for adults to get slightly more intense colors and crisper lines, but the subtle difference will not be apparent in the results when kids are doing the dyeing. Soda ash is irritating to the skin and should never be handled with bare hands. Line-dried soda-soaked shirts cause respiratory difficulties for some dyers, as the result of the dry soda ash dust floating up into the air and getting breathed in, so watch out for that.

    All dyers, regardless of age, should wear gloves while handling any dye other than food coloring. You can buy extra-small disposable gloves for children; for very small children, use a rubber band at the wrist to keep the extra-small gloves on the hands. Some crafts dealers also sell latex gloves specifically sized for kids.

    -Paula
  • You are correct, I really should not let my kids (or other people's kids) handle the soda ash without gloves. I'd rather do away with that whole step - wet or dry. I don't like the dunking idea because I don't trust 7 year olds not to splash it up into their faces and if they have to wear safety goggles, maybe that is a hint that it is not really safe for a 7 year old to begin with.

    Because of the hassle of the soda ash and because my youth group project involves kids who are not my own, I have decided to go the activated dye route and am going to add the soda ash to the bottles of dye. The kids will tie the shirts clean and dry and go right to dyeing. The kids are going to be wearing gloves for that part anyway.

    Just like the OP, my project has a small window. It is going to be done on a weekday evening, in a one hour window, and I need to be able prepare most of the stuff in advance because I work during the day and don't have the afternoon to mix dyes etc. I have to bring the whole project with me to the meeting.

    I'm using 8oz bottles and planning on mixing the water+dye+alginate ahead of time but using only 3/4c of water instead of a full cup (leaving out about 1/4 c. of water).

    The one recipe for activated dye I have fpund calls for 1/2t soda ash per 1 c. of water.

    I am going to mix up a solution of soda ash and water using a ratio of
    1/2 t. per 1/4c. water. (So 2t soda ash per 1c water).

    When I go to replace my screw tops with spouts for the activity, I'll top off my bottles of dye with 1/4 cup of the soda ash solution, mix it, and that should give me 1/2 t. soda ash in my 1c of dye and it'll be activated right before it gets used and I still get to prepare most of it in advance.

    Thanks for the links to the small gloves. Dharma carries only small adult gloves with the disclaimer that they have searched high and low for small/kid gloves, blah, blah, blah. The rubber bands are a good solution. I'll have them anyway for tieing.