Summer Day Camp Bleach Tie-Dye Shirts

Hello followers of the Summer Day Camp Series on The Craft Nest.  I am totally excited to be sharing along with others on things to do for Summer Day Camp!  I mean, who doesn’t have  a few howling kids hanging around them begging for things to do?  We are hitting the time when the excitement from being out of school is gone and the I’m bored and have nothing to do hits.

The girl scouts had a little campout in my backyard and I found a great project that I could control the mess, but they could have fun with the activity.  They are in charge of the design and twisting a thousand rubber bands.

summer day camp bleach tie dye shirtsummer day camp tie dye shirt / patchwork posse

Let’s get started shall we-

1)  Purchase your shirts—-any color!  For this process they really do need to be a color. I found a bunch at the dollar store {I know totally lucky, and they were Hanes brand too} that were this wierd kind of purple. Perfect for this project and the girls!

2)  I didn’t prewash, but it took a lot longer for the bleach to work.  Longer than I would have thought, so maybe you want to prewash to remove any kind of sizing and dye stuff they have going on when making them.

3)  Fold, twist, scrunch, bundle– and then rubber band the shapes.  Just like a typical tie dye method.

This is where the moms step in and finish it for them– the kids can go off and play.

4)  Mix bleach and water, equal parts into a bucket {use gloves to protect your hands}

5)  Stuff all banded shirts into bucket of bleach water

bleach tie-dye

6)  Wait patiently.  Keep an eye on those shirts.  The color does take a bit to start changing from the origional to another color that is layered underneath when they are dying the fabric.  We were thinking that this would take just a few minutes, but it ended up to take around 20 or so and then we got real impatient and I sprinkled bleach on them.  Yup, straight from the bottle.  These weren’t cheap thin shirts so they totally handled it just fine.

You do want to make sure that holes don’t appear.  That is when you have let the bleach tie-dye stick around too long.

7)  Remove the shirts, remove the rubber bands, throw into the washer for a wash and dry.

8)  Show off to your friends and of course wear them!

bleach tie-dye tutorial / patchworkposse

The dark purple is the original color.  The lighter purple/pink is what the bleach tie-dye revealed.  Super fun!  Each shirt was totally different.  I would recommend writing initials on the collar or tag so you can find whose is whose.  {we did luckily!}

Don’t forget to hop on over to The Craft Nest and see what other projects for Summer Day Camp will be posted.

Have you ever  used this bleach tye-die method?  If so, what was your results or tips to share?

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  1. kathleen babbitt

    18 July

    we tried this years ago with my cousins. but we bought solid color cotton fabric. a couple of days before we picked some leaves and put them in a book to flatten, you could use any kind of leaves or ferns, or grass what ever is outside. then we laid on the fabric that had been washed and dried. there are chemicals in fabric process that could block the bleach from working like you wanted it to. we also used sea shells, rocks, magnetic abc from the dollar store, stencils taped down with painters tape. then you have to decide what parts to discharge the original color. black has the most colors when you are bleaching it. watch it carefully so you can hopefully stop it on the color you like. we also had several buckets of water and regular vinegar. I think we did half and half it’s been awhile. when you shirt is the way you want it quickly dunk it in the vinegar water and it will stop the bleach in it’s tracks. we did tshirts that had been washed and dried also .
    If you don’t want the back to look like the front you need to slip something inside the shirt to keep the front and back separate don’t forget the sleeves. you can use heavy cardboard, newspaper but put a plastic bag over it to stop the newspaper from being wet and maybe ruining your shirt. Newspapers are laser printed and they smear really easy. unless you want to get ink on the shirt up to you. You can also use catalogs, magazines, here again put them in plastic bags. this way the back or the front can be basically unchanged or you can do different things on the front and the back up to you. another thing that was neat to try are clorox pens! you can draw, write, block letters, use your imagination or ed emberly’s drawing books that have drawing instructions even 5 year old’s could do. I hope this gives some of you more ideas how to have fun with supervised bleach art! enjoy

  2. kathleen babbitt

    18 July

    One thing i forgot using 100% cotton shirts will work better. the only place I have been able to find them nice but cheap is AC moore. everyone else the shirts are 50%cotton and 50% polyester. the polyester will be stubborn and not want to play nice. also we found out that we needed to put 75% bleach and 25% water in spray bottles so we could spray it where we wanted. like i said it was year ago so the proportions may be off but they are a good jumping off place. one more thing this is an outside activity or if you have an unfinished garage you aren’t fussy about lol

  3. Becky

    25 July

    Kathleen-
    Thanks for the info and the great suggestions. The content of the shirt is important and will affect the outcome. I might have to try a few new things. thanks!

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