Try this super easy tie dye process perfect for kids. Create amazing tie dye designs using food coloring and tissue paper! All of the fun without the mess!

Tie dye is a favorite at my house.  We don’t do it terribly often because it is a big, stinkin’ deal.  Usually it involves a sunny day, buckets, and a hose.  Traditional tie dye is an outside only affair at our house.  This easy tie dye process uses just food coloring and tissue paper.  You get all the amazing designs without all the mess!

Tie dye with these materials, on this scale, allow for the same awesome patterns and vibrant color.  This smaller scale is easier to control and allows for some awesome art making possibilities!

What you need for this easy tie dye process…

As do lots of my favorite projects this one begins with a trip to the pantry.  These bright colors are all thanks to liquid food coloring.  We used the basic set from our local dollar store.  That  means we started with just four colors , plus made some new ones by mixing.  

Although if you wanted to splurge you could use this set with eight colors from Wilton.  Extra colors are always nice!

The other items you will need are plain white tissue paper  and rubber bands.  All easy, right? If you don’t have tissue paper try subbing coffee filters.  You’ll get some awesome tie dye radial designs!

Try this super easy tie dye process perfect for kids. Create amazing tie dye designs using food coloring and tissue paper! All of the fun without the mess!

 

Fold it up, baby….

Remember folding up notes in intricate patterns in middle school?  No, maybe you weren’t a 90’s teen as I was.  Pre cell service folded notes were the mode of communication.  

Take a square of tissue paper, any size, and fold it up.  I give no specific instructions because we made a bunch of these and folded every one of them differently and they were all beautiful.  Back and forth like an accordion, diamond shaped, football shaped, they all work.

Twist a rubber band around it if needed.  This helped some shapes stay together while others didn’t need it. 

(Edited to add- If you have no rubber bands continue on with this easy tie dye project..  As soon as the folded shapes get wet they stay folded.!)

Try this super easy tie dye process perfect for kids. Create amazing tie dye designs using food coloring and tissue paper! All of the fun without the mess!

 

Preparing food colors for tie dye…

Distribute a little food coloring, and a little water in some small containers.  Food coloring is concentrated so it doesn’t need to be pure.  But the more color you use the brighter it will be.  

Dip a corner into a color and watch how quickly the liquid travels up the absorbent tissue paper.  You wanna’ be intentional about this or you will end up with only one color in your tie dye design! 

Move around the folded tissue shape, dipping in corners here and there. 

Try layering colors on top of one another.  Dip the lighter color first.  It will absorb completely.  Then add an additional color on top.  It usually shows up best only on the outer layers which adds a whole new dimension to those areas.

I love how amazingly vibrant these colors remained, even after drying.

Try this super easy tie dye process perfect for kids. Create amazing tie dye designs using food coloring and tissue paper! All of the fun without the mess!

 

Patience, patience….

Leave them folded till they are dry.  That’s right, keep your grubby little paws off the pretty folded paper till it’s dry.  It’s hard, I know.  

Leaving them folded allows the color to soak in and stay where they are.  you want that, trust me. If you get impatient and try to unfold them when they’re still damp the tissue paper is super fragile making it almost impossible to do without some tearing.

Unfold them gently when dry.  I went so far as to iron mine.  Because I love them, and wanted them to look their best.  

Easy tie dye possibilities…

When dry and flat this is some pretty paper.  The possibilities for what to do with it are endless.  As is, it’s striking.  Think of the possibilities for using it as part of a collage,  a paper quilt, or making prints on top of the tie dye patterns.  

Try this super easy tie dye process perfect for kids. Create amazing tie dye designs using food coloring and tissue paper! All of the fun without the mess!

 

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The Artists and the Elements is a visual arts curriculum designed to connect the elements of art, art history, and fun, hands on projects!