KinderArt® ► Painting | Drawing | Printmaking | Sculpture | Seasons | Recycling | Printables | Art History | More...


Level: Primary, Junior
Grades: K-5 | Age: 5-11 | Written by: Amanda Formaro
[Amanda is the crafty, entrepreneurial mother of four children.]

Learn how to tie dye and use your new skills to decorate a pillowcase. This is a fun, but potentially messy project. Be sure to wear a smock and work outside if possible. If not, be sure to use an old shower curtain or tablecloth to protect the work surface.

What You Need:
What You Do:

  1. First, be sure to wash and dry the pillowcase, but do not use fabric softener. Lay the pillowcase on the work surface.

    click to enlarge

  2. Gather the center of the pillowcase in your hand and wrap a rubber band around it, leaving about an inch of fabric exposed at the top, as tight as you can without breaking the rubber band.

    click to enlarge

  3. Continue adding rubber bands around the pillowcase, leaving a two-inch space between each one.

    click to enlarge

  4. When you get to a point that the ends of the pillowcase split, wrap rubber bands in the same fashion on the two different sections.

    click to enlarge

  5. Soak or dip the pillowcase into warm water to saturate the fabric. Squeeze out the excess water. This will make it easier for your dye to soak in.

  6. Mix dye according to package directions and pour into plastic squeeze bottles. Note: We used 1/4 of the package for each color, with 1/4 of the suggested amount of hot water. So in other words, we could do 4 pillowcases with 4 different colors of dye.

  7. The plastic bottle will be hot, so use a potholder to grab the bottle with. Squirt the first color onto the first section of exposed fabric. Be sure to saturate the fabric, taking care not to drip onto the next section. If you do, don’t be concerned, you will not notice these little marks in your finished product.

    click to enlarge

  8. Skip 3 sections then squirt the fourth section with that color again. Repeat until you have the first color on every fourth section.

    click to enlarge click to enlarge

  9. Mix dye for second color and add to a clean squeeze bottle. Dye the second section of fabric, and repeat the pattern you did with the first. Repeat these steps for the remaining two colors. Allow the dyed fabric to sit for 30 minutes or longer.

    click to enlarge

  10. Rinse the pillowcase first in warm water, then gradually reduce the temperature of the water, rinsing until the water runs clear. Squeeze out the excess water.

  11. Carefully cut the rubber bands, making sure you don’t cut the fabric as well. Remove all of the rubber bands and open up the pillowcase. For the first time, wash the pillowcase in cold water with only a small amount of soap; a teaspoon of soap per pillowcase is plenty.

    click to enlarge

Tip: We used plastic squeeze bottles from a salon supply store, but you can also find them at craft supply stores. You can also purchase tie dye kits at the craft supply store that come with everything you need, including rubber bands, dye and bottles. Tie dye kits will provide more vibrant color that will not fade like Rit dye can.

Recommended Books/Products:

The Kids' Summer Handbook
This compendium of activities offers ideas galore for young vacationers. Six broad sections-Shoreside, Landside, After Dark, Hiking and Camping, Rainy Days, and Cottage Crafts-cover a wide range of nature investigations, water sports, arts and crafts, recipes, and safety information that varies greatly in both difficulty and age appropriateness. From crayfish trap to canoe strokes, raising monarch butterflies to building a tree fort, paper-folding to whittling, there is something for everyone here.

Nature's Art Box
From t-shirts to twig baskets, 65 cool projects for crafty kids to make with natural materials you can find anywhere.

Tie Dye! The How-To Book
by: Virginia Gleser
Learn the secrets of tie dying and create your own beautiful fabrics. Tie dying is an ancient art form developed in the Far East over a thousand years ago. This user-friendly book will show you how to create seven unique and beautiful designs.

This content has been printed from:

Click here for more art lesson plans

Free newsletter:

Summer Reading Camp printable workbooks

Over 1500 products from Teacher Created Resources

2-for-1 Sale & Free Animal Poster & Stickers

Get FS & Save 20% Off Order at with coupon code ATHREE

classroom decor, rewards, and learni