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Re: [teacherartexchange] I need suggestions for fabric dye and tie-dye


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Dec 18 2007 - 11:57:14 PST

Heather wrote:

>I've been told that in order to prepare for field day at my school, it is
>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 know
>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 out
>in cold sweat.


What if you use this to teach invention, creativity, and student choice making? Not using rubber bands is perfect because they would need to invent other ways to do it. What if you put them into research teams for an idea development game. They earn points for the every workable idea that a team develops that no other team comes up with. Play several rounds until no more original ideas emerge. They would have to test the ideas with materials to prove that they work before they would earn actual game points.

Have them post the verified working list of ideas with small sample cloths for all to see and pick from to do their own additional experiments. Teams could take digital pictures of the working methods and post photos of the process with the examples (they could be printed inexpensively on a b/w school laser printer).

To illustrate, these are some secret examples (not to share, but to illustrate what might be generated by kids): cloth tied with twine, wire twisted tight with pliers, C clamps on cloth, twist the cloth and clamp it between two boards, vise grip wrench, dowel rods bolted or wired together with layers of cloth between, tie cloth with wire twists and plastic used to close garbage bags, use spring clips, temporarily sew the cloth together, Elmers glue dried over night (then soaked overnight when done), masking tape, packaging tape, knot the cloth, etc. (some of these may work). They can also experiment with ways to dip, pour, brush, dribble, baste, etc. The exhibits of the experiments with brief descriptions and photos of how the experiments were done would show the learning process -- not merely how to decorate a shirt.

Having idea development session(s) would allow for more personal shirts being made during the one day of shirt production. Having time in between sessions allows their unconscious minds to continue to generate creative ideas to try.

I think this could help them learn how creative thinking works. I would tell them in advance that they will get credit and affirmation for both innovation and for good design. During their experimentation and development sessions there should be lots of chances to discuss the meaning of innovative thinking and their ideas about good design criteria.



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