by Lyn Lomasi; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
Looking for a craft both useful and green to do with your homeschool students? Try eco-friendly tie-dyed clothing. But wait, how can dye can be green? As a seasoned homeschool parent and green living guru, I've experimented with many projects using natural materials. It's very affordable and simple to make eco-friendly tie-dyed clothing.
First, gather some used clothing, like old t-shirts, socks, blue jeans, and headbands. Any clothing you and the kids have that's a little old or stained but still fits is good for this project. The tie-dye designs will likely cover up the stains and make the clothing new again. You'll also need some natural dyes.
Beet juice, blueberry juice, blackberry or raspberry juice, and carrot juice all make excellent dyes. Ever notice these are some of the hardest stains to get out? Many natural fruit juices are used in creating professional dyes. So are many vegetables. But you don't really need all the chemicals for efficacy. Be sure to also have some twine or other thick string handy. Have a bucket ready for each color of dye you have.
Making the Dye
Each natural dye has its own unique instructions. Some may require soaking the fabric in it for a while. Others may require cooking or otherwise preparing juices or ingredients prior to using them. The juices mentioned above can be used as they are. They will be most effective if they are heated before applying. Wonderhowto.com has a good video tutorial on making grape dye. Visit Moneycrashers.com for information on several options, including difficult colors like yellow, brown, and purple.
Creating Tie Dye Clothing With Earth Friendly Dyes
Before dying the clothing, twist it up in various locations and then also tie strings around it to keep it twisted. If you want to make some specific designs, but are unsure how, ehow has some design ideas and instructions. Instead of the rubber bands, use twine or another thick string. Once you have twisted your clothing items, submerge them in the dyes.
If you are using fruit juice or carrot juice, leave the clothing in the dye for about 24 hours after submersion. Then, take the clothing out of the dye and hang it upside down for another 24 hours to let the excess dye run off and dry. Slowly remove the twine and untwist the clothing. If there's still some dampness, lie the items flat to dry, so as not to cause the dye to run. If you are using the dyes from the outside links, use the instructions mentioned for each specific dye.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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