I’ve done tie dye projects with my children in the past. While they were fun, they were also extremely messy and rather time consuming to set up and clean up. So when one of our favorite children’s librarians showed my 8-year old how to get a tie-dye-effect using Sharpie markers and isopropyl alcohol, we had to give it a try.
The process was incredibly simply. Simply draw a design on your fabric using the Sharpie markers, then activate it using the alcohol. So very easy, and the effect is beautiful.
Here’s what you need to make a similar project on your own:
Super Easy Sharpie Tie Dye
Put a piece of cardboard under a single layer of your fabric. This will keep your drawing from bleeding through onto another layer of fabric or onto the table underneath the fabric.
Use the Sharpie markers to decorate the fabric as desired. Small dots work well, as do thin lines. The ink will bleed together when activated.
Use a dropper to drop the alcohol one drop at a time onto each of your marker dots or along your lines. Depending on how much you want the ink to spread, you probably want to add 5-8 drops of alcohol per dot.
Allow the alcohol to dry completely. (This happens really quickly if you do it outside on a sunny day, as the alcohol evaporates fast.
Once you can no longer smell the alcohol on your fabric, you’ll want to use heat to set your design. You can either run your fabric through a high-heat cycle in your clothes dryer, or you can iron it using the cotton setting on your iron.
Wash, wear, and enjoy.
NOTE: While we did this with t-shirts, napkins, handkerchiefs, kitchen towels, or cloth shopping bags would also be great items to decorate. Also, I find the smell of Sharpies and alcohol to be rather overwhelming, so working outside is probably a good idea in order to allow the fumes to dissipate quickly.