Tie-Dye/Crafting While Camping

Camping at the local KOA campground in Okeechobee, Florida is always great fun. This campground has a golf course, two pools, its own bar, and lots of things to do (for those who want to jump in and participate). I know, you can hardly call that camping.

One of the planned activities this Labor Day weekend was tie-dye T-shirts. I haven’t done that in at least 43-years, so one of my camping buddies came along with me and we crafted while we camped. In full disclosure, even though the campground advertised this as a family activity, it was actually all children who showed up — and the two of us who are old enough to have invented tie-dye T-shirts. Ha, ha — but we had a great time.


white cotton T-shirts, various colors of Rit dye in plastic tubs, ladles for each color of dye,  rubber bands, rubber or latex gloves, and white vinegar

I made two shirts, so the directions will take into account for that. The first thing you do is dip the entire T-shirt into a bucket of water, then wring it all out. The color takes better if the shirt is wet. I wanted a striped effect on my first shirt, so I folded it accordion-style and then tightly wrapped rubberbands around it every 2-3 inches. For the second shirt, I wanted a bunch of circles, so I tightly wrapped rubberbands around small sections of the T-shirt until it was knot-looking ball of a T-shirt. (Both shown above.) There are so many other methods that you can find on Google.

The campground had about 12 tubs of various colors of Rit dye set up for us to use. Once all of your rubberbands are tightly wound, then it’s time to start coloring. After putting on gloves, you can dip the entire T-shirt into one color, if you’d like, but you won’t get the same effect you’ll get from using several colors. You see in the photos that we used ladles to pour the color on to the shirt — one color at a time. When you have saturated your shirt with all the color you want to use, you can begin removing the rubberbands. It’s pretty much that simple.

Now comes the part that takes more patience. Hang the shirt to dry. Once it is completely dry, then you soak it in a white vinegar and water mixture that is about 1-cup vinegar and 1/4-cup water. Make sure the entire shirt is soaked in the mixture. Do not rinse. Wring it out, and hang to dry completely. It is the vinegar that sets the color, but not wanting to take any chances, I also heat set mine with an iron. Then you hand wash the shirt in a sink, to remove the vinegar. Some color will run into the sink. Hang to dry completely.

You now have stepped back into the late 60s early 70s with your own tie-dye T-shirt! This could be a project you could enjoy with your kids and grandchildren!



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