Get creative with these fun activities!

Tie Dye!

Dye Resist

Dye resist fabrics are popular throughout West and Central Africa. Artisans use different techniques that prevent dye from coloring parts of the cloth. The areas that resist the dye make the designs. Artisans prepare the cloth by binding it with raffia. They also fold sharp creases into the cloth or stitch it closed to stop the dye from penetrating. The cloth is then soaked in a dye bath. After it dries, the raffia is removed, cloth unfolded, or stitches pulled out to reveal patterns.
Tie dye is a fun dye resist technique. In this project you will make dye resist samples using different tie dye techniques.

You Will Need:

• 1 yard of 100% white cotton cloth, 45” x 45” 

• Scissors 

• Rubber bands 

• String 

• Dyes (You can find dyes in the supermarket) 

• Buckets 

• Rubber gloves 

• Large spoon or stick 

• Iron

Tie dye can get messy, so be sure to set up in an area where it is okay to work, and cover the area, especially under the buckets of dye, with newspaper. You may need adult help using the iron. Remember to wear rubber gloves unless you want colored hands.

Let's Get to Work!

Cut your cloth into five, nine-inch squares for dying. Try these techniques with different color combinations for your samples:

1. Sunburst: Poke your index finger under the center of your square and grab the cloth that it pushes up. Traditional tie dyers would use raffia, but you can use either string or rubber bands to wrap around the piece of cloth in different spots. You can tie thick or thin lines on the cloth. Try twisting the cloth before you band it. Tie in several spots along the length of the cloth. The banded areas will resist the dye to produce a series of white rings like a sunburst.

2. Bubbles: Use your finger to poke out a piece of cloth and wrap it near the tip with string or a rubber band. Repeat the process all over your cloth. The further you tie away from the tip, the larger your bubble will be. The tied area will produce a thin white circle.

3. Stripes & Checks: Fold and crease the cloth with an iron. You can also make the folds without an iron. Go back and forth lengthwise like an accordion or a fan. Stop there to make stripes, or continue to fold back and forth in the other direction like an accordion that ends up as a thick square. Wrap a rubber band around the square to hold it together. When dyed, the folded areas will produce a checkered pattern.

Dyeing the Cloth

Mix dyes according to directions, one color for each bucket. Experiment with different techniques. Be sure to leave your cloth in the dye long enough to absorb the color. Follow the directions and be patient!

1. Submerge your entire cloth in one color before removing the bands. Your cloth will have white plus one color.

2. Dip the tips of your sunburst or bubble in one color and the end in a different color. Your cloth will be three colors.

3. Dye the checkered cloth a different color on each end. Try dipping your cloth in more than one color. See what colors you can create.

4. Remove the bands and re-band them in different ways. When you dye your cloth, some of the white areas will get colored.

Be careful not to muddy your colors by mixing them too much. When you are finish, rinse your cloths according to the dying directions. Which technique did you like the best? What else can you tie dye?

More Projects

T-Shirts: Use 100 % cotton T-shirts to tie dye your favorite techniques and colors.

Wall Hanging: Arrange your sample squares and sew them together to make a wall hanging. Research “sewing by hand,” on the internet to learn basic hand-sewing stitches.  

Download the Poster
Reader's Group Guide

Saving Kenny

by Corinne Gaile

Twelve-year-old Kenny Reed is a scholarship student at a private school across the river from his apartment in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, which he shares with an older brother and sister and their abusive mother. He has always lived in the shadow of his siblings' success, but when he watches a performance of the opera Aida, Kenny discovers the magic of costumes and decides to become a costume designer.

In the midst of tumultuous family dynamics and domestic violence, the three siblings find a path to achieve their dreams and break the cycle of violence in this coming-of-age story.

Go to the Opera with Kenny!

Show off your love of Aida with a downloadable poster ➛