Tie Dying a T-Shirt and Almost Dying at the Hands of Your Cousin (Allegedly)

Shirt after it has been rinsed, washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer!

It’s morning, and I’m in the kitchen cooking.

My mom, is stationed next to me, assisting me in whatever needs to be done as we are chatting it up.

My children, along with my nephews are upstairs playing around, laughing, giggling, and having a great time. All is well it seems, in Woo World.

Suddenly, there is a loud thud, followed by a skirmish, a slammed door, some moaning, and a pair of feet that pound furiously on the stairs as they make their way down to the kitchen.

“Mommy,” Bella says. “Shelbi’s throwing up.”

Without looking up from my chopping board (I’m cutting up bananas), I say, “Hmmmm.”  Which I know is not the mosting loving responce, but honestly, this sort of thing happens all the time, and one can’t get their panties all in a ruffle based soley on the information that ‘someone is throwing up’.

Clearly, Bella is agitated and yells, “She’s in the bathroom THROWING UP, right now!!!!!! Shelbi and Chase were playing on the ground, and then Chase just burped right in her FACE!!!  Right in her mouth, I think. Shelbi jumped up and ran into the bathroom, and now she’s throwing up.  ALOT!”

“Oh my,” I say. “What happened?”

“I just told you what happened, Mommy!”  Bella squirms quite agitated. And in the 2 seconds it takes me to figure out what my next step should be, the MASTER, springs into action.  With her head tilted at a slight angle, and one eyebrow hitched up at me (in utter dissappointment) my mom nods her head, and moves over to get more details from Bella.  A few instructions are exchanged, and she flies up the stairs to find Shelbi.

Tap, tap, tap. “Shelbi honey, open the door, it’s me Nana.” Shelbi opens the door, Nana goes in. . . . .and Voila! She fixes it. Makes it all okay, just like that.

This my friends,  is no small feat, because Shelbi and Chase love each other more than anything in the entire universe, but they fight worse than ANYTHING in the entire universe.  And Shelbi, sweet Shelbi, generally has an attitude from hell and does not forgive anybody, for anything EVER.

Meanwhile, I’m downstairs STILL trying to figure out what happened and how we can circumvent, Shelbi hating the whole lot of us for the rest of our lives.  Damn, that lady is good.

All I can say is, “My mom is the bizzy bomb.”  And I’m not saying that lightly.  I don’t know how she does it, cause God knows,  she is not perfect, to that my sister and I can fully attest. But,  she does love perfectly.  She is everything that I hope to be. She is the one person that I know who loves so completely and thoroughly. She never tells the children she is tired when they want to play, always has something fun to do and something yummy to eat.  She never has to say she ran out of bandaids and her house is never boring. But mostly, she’s just never out of time or love,  no matter the situation.  This little grasshopper has much to learn.

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So, in honor of Shelbi wanting to DIE, when Chase ALLEDGELY burped in her mouth, we are going to Tie DYE (get it? Die and Dye?), the quintessential summer holiday craft.

OK, generally when I decide to do something, I decide at the last minute, and I don’t have the stuff needed to do it. C’est la vie.  So, this means that I am always looking for work arounds. 

In this little Tie Dye experiment, I used the dye from a kit purchased at a craft store (super cheap – best way to go, I’d say). But, RIT also works well. It can be easily found at grocery, fabric, and craft stores. Also, I have heard, that Kool-Aid, or food coloring (mixed with about 4 oz. of water) can be used as dye.  This I have NOT tried successfully, so if you try it, and it doesn’t work, IT’S NOT MY FAULT!

My kit, unfortunately was missing the component that helps make the dye set.  Many people use ‘soda ash’ (can be found at a pool supply store) but guess what.  I don’t have a pool, and I don’t feel like going to a pool supply store.  So the next best thing is baking soda.  However, baking soda must be used in conjunction with heat, so this is were the microwave comes in handy. If you’re not using Kool-Aid or Food Coloring, you may only want to use your microwave if it is not used for food preparation. I don’t know if the effects of fabric dyes in microwaves are known, so for me, better safe than sorry.

So there you have it, I just wanted to let you know, you have options.

What You Need:

White cotton T-shirt or other garment

Microwave safe glass bowl (must be able to hold garment to be dyed)

Dye (from a kit, Kool-AID, Food Dye, or RIT)

Squirt bottle or small measuring bowls (to dissolve the dye into and then squirt or drip onto shirts)

Plastic bags or plastic wrap (to cover your working area)

1/2 cup of baking soda

Tongs (to flip your garment during the microwave process)

Rubberbands or String ( not natural rubberbands – those might melt in the microwave)
What To Do:

1. Dissolve the baking soda into a sink of warm water. Soak your cotton garments for atleast 30 minutes. (Again, I’m not an expert, just the guru.  You probably could skip this step, but I fear your colors won’t come out as rich. I definitely would not skip this step if I used Kool-Aid or Food Dye).

2. While your garments are soaking, dissolve dye into small containers of warm water (about 4oz).

3. Wring out each item to be dyed.  Using rubberbands or string, strategically place the rubberbands to create the design.  My kids just did whatever they felt like, but for tips, click HERE.

4.  Place your items on a table covered with plastic, or better yet, go outside.

5. Now the fun part, squirt or dribble your dye onto your garment.
6. Place one garment into a microwave safe bowl, and nuke it!  I microwaved our shirts in increments of 2 minutes per side, checking the item every 30 seconds or so, for a total of about 6 minutes. 
Be sure to keep an eye on your garment, because it needs to be steaming hot for the color to set, but you don’t want the garment to catch fire.

8. Remove the item from the microwave, and let it cool completely.

9. Once cool to the touch, remove rubberbands, unroll and allow to air dry.

10. Rinse and/or wash garment to remove any residual dye and enjoy!


All microwaves are different, so your drying times be be more or less.

Make sure your item is thoroughly wet, before placing in the microwave. The craft might not be as much fun, if your microwave catches fire. 

Make sure none of your items have metal snaps or pieces, if they do, DON’T PUT THEM IN THE MICROWAVE.

Oh, one more thing.  We used the microwave for fast results and it worked well with the fabric dye.  If using the food dye, you may want to let it sit on the clothes overnight to really set the color.  Like I said, I haven’t used that before, but it’s just a guess. OK, two more things.  You may not need to go out and buy a new t-shirt to dye, look for a white shirt you have already that has stains on it, that can be brought back to life.

Shirt after it has been rinsed, washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer!
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