Tie dye party at the park
  • I am a newbie - I want to let my kids do tie dye at their birthday party - which will consist of about thirty 7 year olds at a park. My plan is to let the kids tie the shirts and then let me dye them. Because I really don't want deal with the mess of squirt bottles I thought I would just immerse the shirts - I have two BIG buckets (those jumbo plastic toy buckets, about 3 foot around and 3 foot deep). Then I thought I could just bag the shirts up and send them home with the kids to rinse out later. I having been surfing the web the last few weeks trying to figure out how to pull this off and I am getting very confused - - I glean a little from here and a little from there, but when I try to put it all together I get messed up!! Here are my questions:
    What is the simpliest type of dye to use to pull this off?? By that I mean what lends itself to being mixed with lukewarm water at a park?? What requires the least number of steps to do?? And is there a way I could do this where I didn't have to spend half of the party sitting and stirring the shirts? Could I just dip the shirts briefly in the dye and then bag them up?? Any suggestions on how to make this as simple as possible would be MUCH appreciated - I am going a little nutty! Thanks, MJ
  • Dear MJ, I am a great advocate of what you are going to do at this birthday party. I think it is one of the best projects to do because the kids will love it especially afterwards when they can wear their own shirts. Thirty kids is dang ambitious however. Lets say you do it like this. First get four Jacquard tie dye kits (the big ones) Do this project with the kids in groups of 5-7. This will take one adult's time so figure you can't do any other supervision at the same time. With this number of kids I'd try to get a teenager to do just the tie dye project. In small groups it will take 2 hours total.
    Have the kids bring one of their old tee shirts with them. 100% cotton only. Bring some extras as some will forget and be sorry. Go big because they like to sleep in them. Follow the tying instruction in the kit. There are rubber bands provided so that is easy. For those kids who want a brainiac shirt put some of the dye in a plastic bucket (yours are too big) Soak the shirt for a minute. Bag it in plastic. For the other kids who want to squirt the dye on. (The kit provides squeeze bottles). This is where the supervision takes place. Make sure they do not put on too much color because kids 7 yrs old will tend to put ALL the color on one shirt. The adult may need to hold the child's hands. Get the color into the folds of the fabric. Then bag those too.
    Have them take the shirts home and wash them in a washing machine the next day. All done.
    You could use a fine point Tee juice maker to write (like on paper) on the shirt if you want.
    It is always wise to do a test run first when it is relaxed to see the whole process but then again sometime you just can do what you can. No matter if the shirts don't come out perfectly, the kids will love them and will wear them all over town.
    Good luck.

    Michael Katz
  • hi MJ

    Just a quick addition to Michael's note to you. After the kids have tied their dampened tee shirts you will need to soak them in the soda ash solution for about 20 mins. Then they are ready for the dye.

  • Thank you for the advice! Quick question - - instead of soaking the shirts in water and soda ash, could I just add the soda ash to my dye solution?? How much do I add?? (I am not planning on doing the squirt bottles - I'm just planning on dunking them in a bucket of dye and then bagging) Thanks again!! MJ
  • Thank you so much for your advice!! Could I ask you a couple of more specifics?? I was planning on making up the dye solution before the party (I thought I would/could use plastic gallon milk jugs) and then adding more water to a bucket and mixing with the dye - does that sound doable??? Also, can I just add the soda ash in with the dye when I mix it all in the bucket??

    Also, do you think I need to give the parents any specific washing instructions??

    Thanks again!!!

  • Hi MJ,

    Adding the soda ash to the dye bath will be fine, however, once the soda ash has been added the bath is only good for one to two hours so you will want to wait until just before you begin the dye project to add it. (After everyone has their shirts tied up?)
    Also, you will definitly want to predisolve the soda ash at home - in hot water. You can use that concentrated (like your plan for the dyes) also.

    If you are interested, take a look at the thread called "can I reuse the dye water - procion immersion" under the Immersion heading - Paula Burch addresses soda ash/Procion MX reaction.

    And, last but not least, giving the parents instructions will probably be much appreciated by all. If you would like you can e-mail me at [email="annette@jacquardproducts.com"]annette@jacquardproducts.com[/email] - we have a handy dandy little 1/2 sheet I can send you which you can send home with everyone.

    Have fun!
  • Just wanted to let you all know how the party went.

    I decided I did not want to use squirt bottles - the idea of dye in the hands of a bunch of 6 year olds scared the heck out of me!! So I decided to do low water immersion - using only one color of dye per shirt.

    I bought PRO MX reactive cold water dyes and soda ash online from Pro Chemical and Dye (www.prochemical.com) - Then I got my blank white t-shirts for under a $1.50 from www.blankshirts.com. I bought cheap 5 gallon buckets (the cheapest ones are in the automotive section - go figure!), as well as rubber bands, kite string, gloves, gallons of bottled water and zip lock bags at Wal-Mart.

    I premixed the dye (in a very concentrated form) a few days before and stored it in old (well washed out) gallon milk jugs. I also did the same for the soda ash solution.

    I printed out washing instructions for the parents and put them, along with a pair of inexpensive latex gloves, in a sandwhich ziplock bag and put all of that into gallon size freezer zip-lock bags.

    I cut kite string before hand. And I cut some remnant into small pieces to use as labels on the shirts.

    I tie dyed 4 baby shirts a couple of days before the party - to show the kids examples of different ways to tie as well as the four colors of dye available - and also to give to the 4 babies attending the party.

    We ended up with almost 40 kids!! Thank goodness I had my teenage niece, as well as some wonderful parents, helping me out!

    I had all of the kids sit down at the tables with their shirts. I showed them the baby shirts. Then I had them tie their shirts either with rubber bands or with my precut kite string. I had about 5 adults helping me help the kids out. Then I had the adults write the kids name on a piece of remnant material, as well as their color choice [note, I should have used some sturdier cloth, maybe a canvas, the material I had was flimsy and hard to write on - also, make sure you only use a BLACK permanent marker - blue marker with blue dye very difficult!! My bad!] then they safety pinned the name to the shirt. Then sent the kids off to have a water balloon fight and a game of tag.

    I set up my dying station behind the park pavillion. Again, I had about 5 adults helping me out. I put a couple of gallons or so of the bottled water in each of my 4 buckets, added my soda ash solution and my dye concentrate. I gave each adult who was helping me a pair of long rubber wash gloves - One adult per bucket of dye. After they soaked for a few minutes we put the shirts into gallon size zip-lock freezer bags, wrote the kids name on the outside of the bag (5th adult did this and held the zip-lock open for us) then put the shirt bag inside the other big zip-lock bags that I had brought to the park that already had the little baggie of gloves and instructions inside it.

    I handed the bags out at the end of the party when the parents got there - and reminded the kids, again, that they could not open the bags - only an adult could do that.

    All in all it turned out really well! The kids all seemed to enjoy it - and my boys really love their shirts!!

    Thanks for all you help and advice!! MJ
  • YeeHaw!

    Glad to hear it was so successful.