The Sharpie Tie Dye!

No matter what decade it is, there is just something about a tie dyed t-shirt that speaks to me! I remember coveting my friends’ brightly coloured duds when I was a child, the psychedelic apparel calling out to the playful nature in me. When I became a mom, and my daughters were old enough to start exploring with crafts, one of the first things we enjoyed together was dying old t-shirts to make new and exciting designs – a craft which they could wear and take with them! It was a hit and has become a summer tradition in our home.

As we became “experts” with our colourful fashion statements, it didn’t take us long to discover a new swing on the traditional dying process, and found that brightly hued Sharpies (permanent markers) worked wonderfully as an alternative to the messy dye. All you need to create this classic craft is a white t-shirt, old or new, but preferably 100% cotton, Sharpies of your favorite colours, Cardboard, a baking sheet or glass bake wear, Isopropyl rubbing alcohol and an eyedropper.

To begin you need to make sure your t-shirt is clean and dry. Place the cardboard into the t-shirt to prevent the colours from running through to the other side. Using the colours of your choice, mark the t-shirt with the sharpies in any pattern you desire – our favorites are usually a flower or dot design. When you’ve drawn on your unique pattern, stretch the t-shirt over the baking pan or glass wear, making sure it is taut enough that the material doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan. I use plastic clips or clothespins to secure the material onto the edges of the container. Now comes the fun part! Using the eyedropper, drip a few drops of the alcohol into the centre of the design you created with your sharpie – the more drops you drip onto the design, the bigger it will be. Go slowly! You don’t want to drown your artwork in too much liquid or it will become washed out.

When you (or your kids!) are finished creating your pattern, throw the t-shirt in the dryer on the hottest setting for about 15 minutes to set the colour. Remove and voilà! You are now the proud new owner of a flashy new wearable piece of art that will inspire memories for years to come!

sharpie tie dye shirt


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