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Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"No Tie" Tie Dye Bags

I love the look of tie dye, but I don't like the mess...and the prep...and the post-dying process to set the colors...it's just too much work for this mama! So I was intrigued when I saw the "No Tie" Tie Dying technique online using Sharpies and rubbing alcohol to create tie dyed effects on T-shirts! 



Why should you do this?
  • WAYYYYYY less mess than traditional tie dye! Actually no mess at all!
  • You probably have the supplies already (Sharpies, white T-shirt, rubbing alcohol).
  • It's addicting and the success rate is high (good for Kinders to adults).
  • This project not only combines ART (color mixing, warm & cool colors, the color wheel, etc.) but it also is a SCIENCE lesson in solvents and molecules.
I did this with my after school Recycled Art class--I had the children do their "No Tie" Tie Dying on squares of white T-shirt fabric I had pre-cut to about 9" square. This gave each child the opportunity to create 4-6 designs. Once their panels were done, I sewed them to bags I had made from an old T-shirt. The design for the bag mimics a traditional plastic shopping bag and is very easy to create (two seams) from an old T-shirt. 

This created a bag from RECYCLED resources (old T-shirts) and REDUCED our art supply consumption (using items we already had on hand) to create a beautiful and useful project students can REUSE over and over (instead of using a disposable bag). WOW!

Don't want to work that hard? Instead of creating a bag, use a plain white T-shirt or a plain bandana--the results are fabulous and perfect for the summer! ENJOY!

"No Tie" Tie Dye Bags

Supplies Needed:
  • White T-shirt
  • Sharpie in rainbow colors
  • Eye droppers or pipettes (I bought ours at Michael's craft stores in the soap-making section--five for $2.00)
  • Plastic cups (we used old yogurt containers)
  • Elastic bands
  • Rubbing alcohol
Additional supplies for the bag:
  • Other color T-shirt (we used blue)
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
Directions:

1. Cut the white t-shirt into 9" squares. Discard the rest of the t-shirt, or keep for another use.

2. Use the Sharpie markers to draw a simple design, about the size of a quarter, onto the white t-shirt material. We experimented with a variety of designs from simple, geometric designs to flowers and peace signs (see the photos).

3. Place the t-shirt over the plastic cup, centering the design over the opening of the cup. Secure with a rubber band. 

4. Using the pipette, slowly drip rubbing alcohol onto your design. Don't flood the design--you want to allow the rubbing alcohol to slowly dissolve the ink and allow the colors to blend as the fluid wicks along the threads of the fabric. We used about 20-30 drops of alcohol.

5. Repeat so that the surface of the t-shirt square is nicely covered. Allow the square to dry toroughly before heat setting. Fifteen minutes in the dryer is recommended, but you can also use an iron on cotton setting for a couple minutes.

Make the t-shirt bag:

6. Place the t-shirt you'll be using for the bag onto a table and smooth out. Referring to the photo, use sharp scissors to cut off the collar and sleeves close to the seams. You can use a real plastic shopping bag as a guide or just eyeball it. Leave the shoulder seams about 3"-4" wide.

7. Increase the sleeve openings to be 7"-8" tall. I used kid-sized t-shirts for my art class, so I made the arm holes 7" tall, but if you are using a grown-up t-shirt, you might want to make the openings 8" tall or so.  

8. Enlarge the height of the opening of the collar by cutting a "W" shaped hole--use the photos as a guide. This will make the opening of your bag larger and easier to use. Still keep the shoulder seams about 3"-4" wide.

9. Fold the inner and outer seam at the shoulder of your t-shirt in and tack it (with a sewing machine) to make the handles narrower as they are on a real plastic grocery bag. The finished shoulder seams can be about 1" wide or so.

Detail of the finished shoulder seam.

10. Pin and sew the bottom edge of the t-shirt. You can add gussets to the side edges of your bag before sewing the bottom seam (see photo). Real plastic grocery bags have gussets on the bottom and it make the finished bag look nicer (in my opinion). Sew two seams at the bottom of your bag for durability.

Detail of the gusset on the right side of the bag.
11. Pin the square of fabric you tie dyed onto the front of your bag. Sew on.

12. Go shopping!




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