Tie Dyeing with Toddlers and Preschoolers
One of my great loves is dyeing fabric. I find nothing more pleasing than creating the dyes out of natural materials, or using pre-made dyes to transform a blank piece of cloth into something stunning. I have always wanted to bring dyeing of fabrics into the world of children's art, and this project is my first introduction to you.
I have worked on ways to dye with young children over the years, and it has often been a frustrating experience for both the children and myself. It's too challenging to ask young (the 5 and under crowd) children to wrap fabric with rubber bands, or wrap the fabric with yarn, or even use clothespins to clamp onto the fabric to create a resist effect. I want children to experience success and joy when they are brave enough to try a new technique or a new material, and dyeing fabrics just hadn't worked out...until now.
So, my friends, I am pleased to share with you an easy and wonderful project that is not only perfect for young children, but also perfect for this fall season. The project uses fine motor skill development, as well as assists in the development of the pincer grasp skill- all important pre-writing skill practice!
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1 White Blank Flour Sack Towel
Liquid Watercolors: Red, Yellow, and Green (I love the Sargent Liquid Watercolors the most)
Tray to use as a work surface (optional)
1. Shake out your flour sack towel a few times (the kids love this part!), now that it is all spread out see how much you can crunch, and squish, and wrap, and twist until you have turned the fabric into a small twisted ball. For young children it is so exciting to watch a piece of material go from wide and long and spread out to small and compact. Opposites are astonishing and thrilling to young minds-and hands!
2. Place your now smaller and squished up towel onto your work surface (we really love these trays, as the lip keeps all the "mess" contained and provides a stellar individual work space for the young artists).Using your droppers and liquid watercolors, drip-drop the colors onto your fabric. Having trouble figuring out how to get the dropper to work? check out this video).
3. Drip-drop the liquid watercolors all over the fabric. Look for any bit of white fabric peaking out and drip more paint there. Turn the fabric over so the portion that was underneath is now the top and continue to drop colors onto the fabric. Honestly, children could do this process for hours.
4. Now, here's the fun part! pick up your fabric and unravel it. You should have a tie-dyed affect with some parts of the fabric remaining white, and other parts where the paints have blended together. Hang the fabric to dry, which will only take a few minutes.
5. Allow your fabric to dry. Once dry you can tie the ends around your child's shoulders to be used and worn as a stunning cape for dress-up and imaginative play!