Two days a week, Oliver heads off to school and I have Eleanor to myself all morning while Martha naps. Sometimes I mail it in and let Eleanor pretend she’s going to the beach or is a flying pirate and I sit in front of the computer or fuss around the house. But sometimes, I don my parenting cap and we do more ‘grown up activities’ than we can get away with when Oliver the toddler of terror is careening around. Today’s activity? Tie dying…brought me back to my teen years; I crimped my hair and pinch rolled my jeans for the occasion.
I gave Eleanor the choice of 3 colors (she chose yellow, pink and navy blue). I found some plain white t-shirts at the craft store but she has some of her own that we could have used also.
For lack of any plastic bins, I settled on pots… I figured the dye couldn’t stain the metal and they were big enough. They also could withstand the heat needed to dissolve the dye powder.
While the dye was cooling down a bit, we wrapped up our t-shirts. I let Eleanor do as much as she could, but that pretty much meant pointing to where she wanted a circle on her shirt and choosing her rubber bands. Brand new clothing often comes with a fabric ‘sizing’ still on it so it resists the dye a bit… I got Eleanor’s shirt wet to help it absorb the color, but I would have washed it first if I’d focused.
I’m not sure if this counts as a full circle moment, but the most useful tools for this activity were the squirt bottles I was given in the labor and delivery wing at the hospital after delivering the kids… and now they’re part of a craft activity. (It doesn’t matter what they were for in the hospital, but we used them to make the dying process a little easier to wrangle.)
I put the shirt on a cookie sheet to contain the overflow, and let Eleanor go to town.
She loved how the squirt bottles were “like the water fountain at summer camp.”
We started with the lighter colors and worked our way darker. She did a pretty good job soaking through her fabric!
It was clear that Eleanor didn’t really know what she was doing until she saw the finished product, but she thought it was rad. A child of the 70’s was born today, folks. Get your lava lamps ready, because Eleanor’s coming for you with an arm load of macrame and her new awesome t-shirt.
- Before You Know It (ciburbanity.com)
- Here’s Looking At You, Keds (ciburbanity.com)
- A Clothes Horse by Any Other Name (ciburbanity.com)