When I was in 7th grade, growing up in South Dakota, my science teacher helped me learn a lesson that would encourage me all through my teenage and college years. On the first day of class, she asked each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. Fireman, teacher, doctor, lawyer… were the common responses. When my turn came, I blurted out “a mom.” I remember the snickers and giggles at my response, and even though I was slightly embarrassed, I felt a swelling in my heart. Right then, I knew that what I had just said was true. I hoped to grow up to be a mother. Years later, I’m so very grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with that opportunity.
As a mother, one of the ultimate joys of my heart is involving my kids in basically everything I do. I love having a child, or two, or three by my side as we make dinner. I cherish the moment when a little one sits on my lap as I sew. I smile so big when my 4 year old begs to help me with the laundry. I know these special years won’t last forever, which is why I try to soak it all in. Being a present mother to my kids is my passion. I love to create meaningful memories with them.
A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the craft store and purchased supplies to tie dye t-shirts. When we sat down to do the project, I realized it would be a messy job. My first instinct was to let them stand by and watch, but when I rethought the situation, I decided that with a little patience and instruction on my end, they could be trusted to apply the dye themselves. They were so careful and did such a great job, and they proudly wore the t-shirts they created.
Being a mother has helped me understand and relate to my Heavenly Father. Now that I see life through the eyes of a parent, I can understand how much He loves and cares for each one of His children. I imagine that He would love to take over and do the hard and messy things for us. Instead He allows us to learn and grow by figuring things out on our own, just like I realized I should do when helping my kids tie dye their shirts.
I found this kit from Hobby Lobby ($12 with a coupon. It comes with a lot of product, I think I have enough to dye at least 8 small shirts). The kit comes with the dye, bottles, rubber bands, and gloves. In addition, you’ll need shirts (or whatever you’re dying), an old towel or garbage bags, and aprons for your kids. The kit comes with directions, but I thought I’d share a few additional personal tips. To prep your shirts, get them damp. I threw ours in the washing machine in hot water to preshrink them.
Start by pinching bother layers (front and back) in the middle of the shirt. Start twisting.
Twist the fabric until it is all twisted up.
Now take 3 rubberbands and section off the shirt like a pie.
Put an apron and gloves on your little helper. Carefully explain where the color will go. Make sure the dye goes on the front, back, and all the little crevices. You might have to add more dye when your helper is finished and not looking… wink wink.
The Polka Dots
Pinch both layers of the fabric in random places and tightly wrap a rubberband on each section.
This might seem silly to mention, but be careful not place two sections right across the chest of the shirt, if you know what I mean.
Again, prepare your helper with an apron specific directions, and close supervision. Then let her have fun!
Fold your shirt accordian style (like the paper fans you made when you were a kid). You can make the folds lengthwise or widthwise.
Section off the shirt into equal portions, and add rubberbands.
Little brother was taking a nap when his sisters and mom were decorating shirts. It was a good opportunity for me to demonstrate to the other girls on what to do!
Once you are finished applying the dye, place each shirt in a plastic bag, and tie in a knot. Let the shirts sit at least 6 hours (I let them sit overnight, to ensure the colors really penetrated). Then rinse the shirts- a lot of excess dye will wash out. My directions said to wash each shirt separately in the washing machine, but I washed them all together without problems. (Just make sure you don’t wash them with any other laundry)!
We took these on vacation when we went to the Redwoods in August.
This post was originally published on Time Out for Women.