Star-Spangled T-Shirts

Written by Michelle Schaefer

Several years ago, our homeschool group took a trip to Washington DC to see the sites in the city.  Before we went on our trip, our group got together to tie-dye t-shirts.  Our red, white, and blue t-shirts were fun to make and they helped to keep our group together too!  My children still wear their shirts when we go on a trip as a family, and I have to admit that it helps to keep track of all 5 of them.  I just look for the tie-dyed t-shirts.

Even if you aren’t taking a trip with a large group, your family can still have fun making tie-dyed t-shirts.

To make your star spangled tie dyed t-shirts, you will need:

White t-shirts( purchase a size larger than you usually would need to allow for shrinkage)

Red RIT dye

Blue RIT dye

Inexpensive buckets for mixing the dye

Rubber Bands

Spray bottles

Plastic Gloves

Fabric Glitter Spray(if desired)

Take your t-shirt and tie(or gather) sections of the shirt with rubber bands.  We like to dye our shirts outside on an inexpensive plastic tablecloth.  It doesn’t matter if the dye gets splattered on the grass and the tablecloth can be thrown away for easy clean up.

The next step is to prepare the dye according to the directions on the package.  I’ve found that RIT dye is the easiest to use and also is the most readily available.

After mixing the dye, pour into the spray bottles to make dyeing easier.  At many discount stores, you can pick up spray bottles quite inexpensively or you can use clean bottles that you have at home.

Spray the dye on the shirt and follow the manufacturers directions for best results.  Some dyes require you to rinse after coloring.  Other dyes require you to let the colors sit for 24 hours before washing the garment.  Remember to remove the rubber bands before washing your garment.

When laundering your garment for the first time, make sure to wash it alone as the colors will run and may stain other clothes.  Once your garment has been washed and is dry, you can spray fabric glitter spray on the garment if desired.  Follow the directions on the spray for best results.

If you wish to re-use buckets and spray bottles, it’s important to wash them immediately after finishing your project.   Because it is very difficult to remove all of the dye from these items, you may wish to purchase your supplies at a discount store and just discard them after using them.

I hope that your family will have just as much fun tie-dyeing as our family has had!  Happy summer!


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