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Tie Dye Summer Fun for Kids (and Grown-Ups too!)

Welcome to the Summer Fun blog hop on Craft Critique!

Today I’ve got a fun project that will not only keep bored kids busy – it will create something practical they can use and enjoy all summer long. I’m talking, of course, about that never-goes-out-of-style tie dye!

[Disclosure: Some product used in this article was supplied to Craft Critique by Tulip for editorial review purposes but opinions are entirely those of the author. Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay a commission to support Craft Critique if you make a purchase after clicking. You pay the same price but our site’s commission helps support our continued operation. Thanks for supporting our site!]

Summer Fun Tie Dye

For these shirts (due to a craft fail on my part), I actually ended up working with two different tie dye kits from Tulip:  Tulip One Step Mini Tie Dye Kit (Princess) and Tulip One Step Mini Tie Dye Kit (Pixie). They are different color versions of the same product, Tulip’s One Step Mini Tie Dye.

I used basic white t-shirts purchased from Walmart and the local craft store for this tie dye project. It’s important to get 100% cotton shirts if possible and to also wash them before dying them (let’s not talk about how I know that…).

The Tulip dye packages come with instructions for creating various kinds of dye designs on an item. My daughter chose a simple striped design for her shirt, and I decided to experiment with a more complex swirl design. The great thing about tie dye is that there really are no mistakes! Anything you do just adds to the character of the design.

tied up tshirts

The striped t-shirt for my daughter was dyed dry (and it hadn’t been washed on top of that). It used loads of dye – almost two whole of the mini bottles for a medium sized t-shirt.

Tie Dye Shirt in process

The upside of this was that the color on the shirt is intense, especially on the purple. And using the dry method meant I controlled exactly where the dye went.

Striped Tie Dye Shirt

For the swirl shirt, I used the wet method (wetting the shirt before applying the dye) and the shirt had been pre-washed. It used much less dye as the dye traveled a lot through the shirt instead of staying exactly where it was applied. The color was still quite intense but there wasn’t the same white borders between the colors since the dye traveled into the banded area.

Swirl Tie Dye Shirt in process

The result with the swirl design was much more white area than with the stripe, because of the the way the shirt is bunched up to achieve the swirl design.

Swirl Tie Dye Shirt

I recommend completing tie dye projects outside to minimize messes. I cut open trash bags to use as a protective cover for my porch table, and then used the bags to roll the shirts up in while the dye had to set (6-8 hours) before being rinsed. Very efficient!

In all this is a quick and easy (and affordable) project that is practical too. Tie dye is a fun way to work with groups of kids to make t-shirts that then make the kids easily identifiable when you take them out as a group (such as for a summer camp) if you give them a limited set of colors to work with like school colors.

Looking for more summer fun? Check out the links below!

Summer Fun #1 Cotton Candy Cookies - tie dye shirts - fruit juice lego jello - Splatter shirts - Beach Bag - From Nap-Time Creations

Fruit Juice Jello Lego Snacks – Nap-Time Creations

Zipper Beach Bags – Sew What Alicia

Splatter Shirts – Andrea’s Notebook on Nap-Time Creations

Cotton Candy Cookies – Sweet Jenny Belle Bakery

Review | Tulip SuperBig One-Step Tie-Dye Kit

Reported by Maria del Pinto

[Some products on this website have been provided to Craft Critique by manufacturers for review. Some links are affiliate links which support this site by paying a commission on sales generated after the site visitor clicks on them.]

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit
Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit

Summer is coming, and what says summer more than tie dye?

The Tulip One-Step Super Big Tie Dye Kit provides almost everything you need to have a fun tie-dye party or project for an easy summer vacation kids craft project. The only thing you need to have on hand is the natural fiber item to dye, along with a large plastic zip lock bag, scissors and paper towels (or rags). These are items I usually have around the house, so it was no problem to get started on a project.

Growing up, my family used to tie-dye old clothing to give it new life. I come from a large family, so there were plenty of hand-me-downs available to us kids to wear or craft with. An old shirt could easily gain new life by just adding some new color and an accent or two.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit box contents
Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit box contents

The Tulip One-Step Super Big Tie Dye Kit box contains:

  • squeeze bottles
  • 12 dyes: black, violet, purple, blue, turquoise, green, lime, yellow, orange, brown, red and fuchsia
  • 40 rubber bands
  • 16 gloves
  • A reusable surface cover
  • Project guide & instructions

The dyes are in powder form, and they are already in the bottle in this kit.  This is great because I did not have to activate any colors that I did not intend to use for a specific usage.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit dye bottle with powdered dye

The back of the box shows the different techniques that are explained in the design sheet.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit Patterns

The instruction guide is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. It shows how to do a variety of designs:

  • bullseye pattern
  • swirl pattern
  • gradation pattern
  • crumple pattern
  • folding pattern
  • sponging pattern
  • sunburst pattern
  • free hand designs

The dyes themselves are very simple to use. You fill the squeeze bottle 1/3 of the way up. Shake the bottle with your gloved finger covering the tip. I found that filling the container all the way up without shaking it first did not result in the powder dye mixing well. Once the powder is mixed, you can add more water until it dilutes to the desired color shade. You can change the hue by adding more or less water (depends on how faded the color you are looking for) to the squeeze bottle. Then just squeeze the bottle, or shake it over the project, until you have the color coverage that you are looking for.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye Kit project

One thing that I discovered is that if I did not saturate the project with dye, the project will come out looking faded. Be aware of this when adding color to projects! You can see above that I really saturated the project to get maximum color coverage. I just kept adding color until I had most of the shirt covered. I then let the color dye soak into the shirt for around 35 hours inside of a ziplock bag. The next morning, I washed and dried the shirt according to the manufacturer’s directions.

To finsh the shirt, I added a few rhinestones to it.

Tulip Tie-Dye Shirt

The fuchsia shirt is great and I am very happy with the color results.

To give you a broader idea of the type of coverage you can get with these dyes, below are some photos I took at a trade show of various projects that were dyed with the Tulip Tie-Dye product. These are a selection of tie-dyed onesies.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dyed Onesies

The colors are bright and cheerful. However, don’t be mislead by them. You must saturate (I can not stress this enough) the project with dye to get these results.  Otherwise, the colors will come out pretty but not as vibrant.

Tulip Tie-dye Caravan Accessories

So plan accordingly and buy extra dye if you want to have really vibrant results.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye colors

For more projects ideas, I suggest paying a visit to the ILovetoCreate website.

Tulip Super Big Tie-Dye hair band

The Tulip One-Step Super Big Tie Dye Kit can be found online at Amazon, and at your local large general crafts stores.

Tips:

  • To get good color results, you need to saturate the item with the color.
  • Wash projects in cold water to maintain color longer.
  • Don’t forget to heat set projects.
  • I found that if I left the project in a closed large plastic ziplock soaking for an extra 24 hours, I got much better color saturation. I love bright colors so the results were quite pleasing.
  • You do not have to pre-soak the projects in soda ash or other chemicals before you tie-dye. Just wash it to remove fabric sizing, and do not use fabric softener on the item before starting the dye process.

Pros:

  • The supplied squeeze bottles make it easy to mix the dyes and use them.
  • You don’t have to waste product because you only mix the colors you want to use.
  • Instructions are easy to use.
  • I had very little fading after the first wash.
  • Easy to use, squirt the project like you would a bottle of mustard or ketchup.

Cons:

  • I had to saturate the projects with colors, so the colors did not go as far as the box implied that it would. However, since I liked the color results I felt the product was a good investment.
  • It can get messy if you don’t keep a vigilant eye on the kids, so make sure you use the plastic surface protecting sheet. (This is a great outdoor project if you happen to have light-colored rugs in your home!)
  • The squeeze bottles squirts just like a ketchup container would, so you will get drops of color all over! If you only want color in a specific area, I would suggest taping it off before you start to protect your item from color splashes.

What is your favorite tie-dye product? Do you have any tie-dye tips to share with our readers? We would love to know if our readers prefer these types of kits over individual products and why or why not?

Review | Tulip Spray Dye Kit for Tie Dye

Reported by Cassandra Darwin

Disclosure: This site participates in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

The Tulip Spray Dye Kit was exciting for me to try out for two reasons: I love to make homemade gifts and I love doing crafts with my daughter. I started this project by gathering a new white shirt in my daughter’s size, three bibs for a baby gift, and a big piece of flannel to make a blanket.

Tulip One Step Spray Dye Kit

After reading the instructions, I learned that you need to use the dye in the spray bottles within 45 minutes after adding water. So I knew we didn’t have enough pieces to dye in order to use all the colors. My daughter (very predictably) picked purple and pink for this dying session. The powdered dye is already measured and in the spray bottles when you buy the kit. All you need to do is just remove the lid, add water, and shake!

Tulip Spray Dye Bottles

It really is easy to get started – just put on the gloves and add water to the spray bottles. The instructions included have some tie dying and masking ideas.

Tulip Spray Die for tie dye

I chose to do two different techniques. For the flannel to make a blanket, I got it wet and then scrunched it up on a piece of plastic to spray on the dye. At this point the purple spray bottle had been giving me trouble. It was leaking from the top when I sprayed, and dripped in the pink sections.

Tulip Spray Dye

I should have also noticed that my gloves had holes in them as well, but I didn’t see that until later. For the shirt and bibs, I used the rubber bands included in the dye kit and did some traditional tie dye. And I love the results for those ones! One problem….I still had more than half of the dye left for both pink and purple. I hate to waste, and since I couldn’t save the dye for later I soaked one of my white shirts in the purple dye.

Tulip Spray Dye Kit

Here you can see the final results for my projects, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how great they look. Is it right to say tie dye looks “professional”?

Tulip Spray Dye Kit results

After using the spray dye, you have to let it sit for 6-8 hours before washing (in your washing machine) with hot water and drying immediately. The piece of flannel was actually almost 75% white when I put it in the washer, but I think it absorbed all of the purple dye from my shirt. So now it has a two-tone light and dark effect that was a surprise. The other surprise was realizing half way through the dying process that my gloves were leaking, and still having purple fingers 3 days later.

Tulip Dye Kit leaky gloves

If you like to keep things neat and tidy (like I do) then some pre-planning is required for this project – like setting up near a sink, having lots of paper towels on hand, putting down a plastic tablecloth, etc. I will need to scrub our stainless steel sink to get rid of a few pink spots, but other than that, the dye stayed where it was supposed to.

After an afternoon of dying clothing and making a few gifts I think I am hooked on tie dying! My biggest complaint about the kit is that you have to use the dye all at once. I would have rather had smaller quantities of lots of colors to use at one time (like the rainbow projects shown in the instructions). But even just using the two colors was lots of fun and produced some great results. I would absolutely buy this kit for a birthday party or Scout troop that wanted a big batch of shirts dyed all at once – it would be a great group activity.

PROS:

  • Kit has everything you need to dye lots of pieces
  • Really easy instructions
  • The dye colors are vibrant and true to the bottle colors

CONS:

  • Dye has to be used within 45 minutes, so be prepared to dye a lot of fabric fast or just plan to dump out a large portion at the end
  • One spray bottle leaked at the top making it hard to keep the colors separated
  • Gloves in the kit had holes, so I would highly recommend having your own (at least as a back-up)

The Tulip Spray Dye Kit retails for $29.99 and is available on Amazon.com or at your local craft stores.