Tie Dye With Your Toddler

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Tie Dye Tips with Toddlers

I’m not one to shy away from a craft project for fear of a mess. Starting my toddler off experiencing different art forms is more important than the mess. We went to the Farmer’s Market this past weekend and stopped at a Tie Dye booth swooning over their toddler summer dresses. I caved and bought one for Sophie with a $20 price tag. Thankfully she wants to wear it every day but that was a really hard purchase. She loves the swirly colors in the dress so I thought she’d enjoy making her own tie dye clothes.

There are several different ways to approach tie dye but I’ll be showing you the easiest way to tie dye with your toddler.

Tie Die with your toddler

Tie Dye With Your Toddler

You’ll need:

  • White clothes, bags, bandanas etc. washed and dried
  • Tie Dye Kit (I used the Tulip brand bought at Hobby Lobby but it is less expensive on Amazon)
  • Paper towels
  • Extra rubber gloves
  • A wire rack
  • Plastic tablecloth
  • A nearby hose
  • all® free clear detergent and all® free clear dryer sheets

Step 1: Rubberband all clothing items. This step will mostly be done by an adult but you can ask your toddler what designs they want on their shirt. For example, I did a Mickey Mouse on my daughter’s shirt per her request.

Step 2: Lay your wire rack on top of a few layers of paper towel. We started on the table but moved to the grass once we saw how much dye gets on the table. I recommend wiping off excess dye between projects to avoid muddling of colors.

Step 3: Put gloves on yourself and your toddler. We used rubberbands to help keep the giant gloves on the kids. If you have kid gloves it would be much easier.

Step 4: Place the white clothing item on the wire rack and show your toddler how to squeeze the bottle on the shirt. I really enjoyed this video on simple swirls and this video on Earth Day shirts.

Step 5: Wrap clothing in plastic wrap or bags and let sit for 6-8 hours.

Step 6: Put on gloves. Rinse clothing in cool water until the water is murky. Remove rubberbands and continue rinsing until water is almost clear.

Step 7: Throw all tie dye items into the washer with a minimal amount of all® free clear detergent. I only use this detergent because it keeps the colors vibrant while still being gentle on my toddler’s sensitive skin.

Step 8: Hang tie dye out in the sun or dry with all® free clear dryer sheets.

Step 9: Go out and PLAY!

tie dye tutorial

Tie Die with your Toddler


This product suggestion may seem like a stretch for my site but it’s the detergent I would recommend to my friends and family with sensitive skin or new babies on the way. We switched to all® free clear detergent (found at Kroger) when I found out we were expecting in 2010 because I started doing low or no fragrance products for my body as to not bother my daughter’s breathing once she was born. I got used to not wearing perfume and I actually had less headaches because I wasn’t loaded up on fragrances. We also don’t sort clothes when we wash. We literally dump the entire hamper in the wash and hit start. We have white whites and bright brights despite mixing them all by using cold water and this detergent.

Do you have any tie dye experience with your kids? What worked best for you? What do you find to be the best way to keep your tie dye colors bright? Continue the conversation by joining the all® free clear community and connecting with parents just like you!


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