Tie-Dye Birthday | Atlanta Birthday Photographer

It has been a while since I’ve done a personal post– I guess that as I get older, I am becoming less inclined to put everything out there for the world to see.

Anyway, I do love to share tidbits, and this is one that I think all crafty mamas (and papas) can appreciate 🙂

I went against my better judgment and threw a tie dye (and water slide) birthday party for my oldest yesterday.

Yes, it was messy.

But in my opinion, totally worth it.

What better favor that one that is your own unique creation, and totally wearable?

I took the below picture of our tees just before throwing them in the wash… but to my surprise, they did not fade at all and still look this good even after being washed in hot water! The blue/orange overlapping areas on the child’s tee that look a bit brown (oops) in the picture, actually look much better after being run through the wash. Yippee!

After the last shirt had been tie dyed, and all of our guests had left, we realized that we had lots of small tees that had not been used, and others that had been dripped on with dye.

Instead of tossing them or sticking them in the bottom of a drawer, we re-examined the dribbled-on ones with fresh eyes, and decided that there were were happy accidents in that pile!

We loved them so much that we decided to just paint dye onto the remaining few.

There was only one complete disaster– the rest made the cut! Here are a few:

Is your inner flower child DYING to take on this project? If so, I’m going to outline my process below 🙂


  1. 6 colors of Procion MX Dye
  2. 6-16oz baker’s squeeze bottles
  3. cotton tee shirts
  4. calgon (optional for softening of any/all waters used– I used only in my initial tee shirt washing)
  5. large disposable baking trays
  6. 5 gallon bucket(s)
  7. plastic, sealable bags
  8. latex gloves
  9. rubber bands
  10. soda ash
  11. grill surface

Tie Dye in 7 Easy Steps:

  1. Pre-wash tee shirts in machine with normal detergent (no fabric softener), then dry.
  2. Soak tee shirts for 30 mins in soda ash mixture (2 lbs of soda ash per 5 gallons of water).
  3. Fold and tie shirts with rubber bands.
  4. Use water/dye mixture in squirt bottles to dye in areas between rubber bands (1-2/3 oz jar of powder Procion MX dye per 16 oz water; more powder and less water will yield brighter colors, and vice versa)– do this over baking trays topped with a grill surface to catch excess dye.
  5. Store shirt (tied and wet) in sealable plastic bags.
  6. After 4-24 hours (longer = darker colors), rinse in cold, then hot water until the water runs mostly clear.
  7. Wash tees in machine with normal detergent in hot water.

I am not an expert, but I think we had relative success for rookies 🙂

Happy tie dying!