Rainbow Rock cold dyes work really well, and hold up great. I haven't
done it as a class project, but have worked with 40-H groups, and there
is a kit you can buy at Wal-Mart for about $19, the kit says it will do
about a dozen shirts, but I have easily done about twice that many.
Instead of dipping the shirts, you spray them with a spray bottle or the
provided dispenser bottles. I've even found the dye is pretty bright
even watered down by half or so. Maybe if you look them up online, you
can find a supply in bulk.
Another option for "dye" is to start with a colored shirt, and spray it
with bleach then rinse it out. Same effect, MUCH cheaper, the only thing
is the fact that bleach isn't as safe to use, especially in spray
bottles. Not to mention the smell factor.
You could use pre-cut string instead of rubber bands, just have various
lengths to choose from, they can always take more string if they run
out. Waxed string works particularly well, and doesn't come untied as
Brookings Middle School
From: Feldman, Amy [mailto:AmyF@susd12.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 8:48 AM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: RE: [teacherartexchange] I need suggestions for fabric dye and
Why don't you change the "tradition" and create something you prefer
Good lord...they don't expect much, do they? I hope they gave you
plenty of lead time to prepare. Why does it have to be done in one
day?! Is it actually done ON field day?
I'm thinking Dylon cold-water dyes would be safe since no hot water is
necessary, unlike Rit. Just mix the powders yourself, and wear a dust
mask. Limit color choices to just a very few. The school is supplying
the shirts? Make sure they're 100% cotton, and wash them--at school
expense--to remove the sizing. Your health office or custodians might
have a machine you can use. If not, the MS or HS most likely has a
Do you think they really have to be tie-dyed, since you can't use rubber
bands? Literally tying and untying string would take forever. Maybe
tie, with string, one big circle in the middle of the front and dye
that, then add more colors by painting the dye on? These are just ideas
off the top of my head...I'm sure you'll get more, and probably better,
I would discreetly ask just how long this "tradition" has been going on,
and if it's truly been done every year. But then, I was always pretty
>I've been told that in order to prepare for field day at my school, it
>tradition for the art classes to tie-dye T-shirts for the kids to wear.
>All the dye is supposed to be ordered by me - the only problem is I
>very little about it. Does anyone have recommendations of child-safe
>dyes? I'd like them to be of decent quality, but I think the deciding
>factor is going to be cost, since I have to have enough for 600 shirts.
>Where can I buy in bulk?
>Also, does anyone have any tie-dye tips? I know I'm not allowed to use
>rubber bands with them, so I'm kind of at a loss for how to do this.
>Ugh...the idea of tie-dying 600 shirts in one day is making me break
>in cold sweat.