How to Tie Dye Shirts With Kool-Aid

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Use Kool-Aid to create colorful tie-dyed shirts.
Use Kool-Aid to create colorful tie-dyed shirts. (Image: tie-dyed shirts image by Jim Parkin from Fotolia.com)

Tie-dyed shirts first became popular in the 1960s and have not gone out of style. Scout troops and 4-H groups often use Kool-Aid as a dye for shirts and other garments. Kool-Aid is non-toxic and safe for children. Kool-Aid is available in a variety of colors, including blue, purple, red, orange and yellow. Bright colors will give the dyed shirt the classic look of tie-dye.

Things You'll Need

  • Kool-Aid
  • Water
  • Small bowls
  • Spoon
  • Shirt
  • Rubber bands
  • Brown paper bags

Mix together one package of Kool-Aid with one cup of water in a small bowl. Stir until the Kool-Aid is dissolved.

Pinch together or twist sections of the chosen shirt and wrap the section with a rubber band. You can do this with multiple sections of the shirt to create the tie-dyed look.

Soak the banded section into the first color choice. Allow the material to soak until the desired color is achieved.

Continue the process by soaking the other banded sections of the shirt.

Set the freshly dyed shirt on a brown paper bag to drain off any excess liquid.

Remove the rubber bands, flatten the shirt and allow to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wool, silk or nylon take well to Kool-Aid dye. Other materials will fade more quickly with multiple washings.
  • The longer you allow the shirt to soak in a color, the more vibrant that section will become.
  • For pastel colors, simply add additional water to the Kool-Aid until the softer color is achieved.
  • As with any home-dyed fabric, garments tie-dyed with Kool-Aid should be washed separately from other clothes for the first three or four washings. This keeps the colors from bleeding on other clothes in the washer.

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