Tie-dye is fashionable, fun and easy for teens.

Tie Dye Crafts for Teens

by Leigh Bennett

Summer is the perfect time for tie-dye psychedelic colors and patterns, but tie-dye crafts are as fun to do and wear anytime of the year. This is one of those activities that teens might want to do with friends or family, including grandparents who were teens in the 1960s -- when tie dying was in its hippy heyday. While the art of tie-dyeing dates back several centuries, teens today are rocking all sorts of tie-dye clothing and accessories.

Personalized Summer Tote

A tie-dye tote makes a fun accessory for a trip to the beach or shopping. You'll need a white or cream colored canvas tote bag, a tie-dye kit or fabric dye in desired colors, elastic bands, plastic wrap, a plastic bag. Iron-on letters are optional. To begin, gather sections of the tote bag that you wish to die, wrapping each one with an elastic band. Mix the dye, according to the package's instructions. Saturate each banded section with the desired color, then wrap the tote in plastic wrap and place in a plastic bag. After about 8 hours, the dye should be set. Remove the bag from the plastic, free it from the elastic bands and rinse in cold water. Next, wash the tote in the washing machine on the hottest setting and dry. If you wish, apply iron-on letters – initials, first name, "peace and love," or any message you desire.

Socks and Tights

Socks or tights tie-dyed in bright stripes makes a fun addition to any teen's wardrobe. The supplies you'll need include long socks or tights, tie-dye kit or dye of choice, plastic dispenser bottles, plastic cable ties or elastic bands, newspaper or a drip tray, and a wire rack for drying.

Fold socks or tights in half and then repeat. Bind with elastic bands or cable ties approximately two inches from the end. Continue to bind socks in the same manner every 2 inches. Next, prepare the dye according to instructions and place in dispenser bottles. Cover the area that you'll be working on in newspaper, placing several layers or a drip pan under the wire rack. Then place socks or tights on the wire rack, and saturate the bound sections with the dye. Let sit for 8 to 10 hours so the dye can set. After cutting the ties, rinse out excess dye and then wash and dry as usual.

Permanent Marker Tie-Dye

No fuss tie-dye looks can be achieved with permanent markers and rubbing alcohol. To make hair ties, all you'll need is some white elastic, colored permanent markers, rubbing alcohol and some paper towels.

Lay out a paper towel on your work area. Cut your elastic to desired length and using the paper towels to catch stray marker, color your elastic with the markers in your desired pattern. Remember the colors will bleed so you don't have to fill in the pattern completely. After you've colored the elastic, drizzle it with the rubbing alcohol and let it soak in. Then, fold over the paper towel and pat it to smudge the colors a little more. Let dry then rinse with warm water. After the elastic has dried again, tie it in a loop. Use larger pieces of wider elastic for hair bands.

More Ideas

The methods above can be used to tie-dye just about anything. Use the marker technique on bandanas, ribbon or paper to use for scrap booking, card making and bookmarks. Kits and dye mixes are good for bags, sheets and tees. Experiment with colors and binding techniques, and see what kind of patterns you can create.

About the Author

Leigh Bennett is a youth services librarian in Southeast Louisiana. In addition to managing the library's young adult and teen book collections, she develops and plans educational and recreational library programming for children, teens and adults. She has been writing for online publications for more than 5 years.

Photo Credits

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