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Photo: Heather Gaumer.

Tie-Dye Fourth of July Crafts

Picnic in patriotic style with these easy and festive projects.

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This summery spin on Independence Day must-haves will be sure to turn heads at any park. For these projects, you’ll want your dyed items to be 100 percent cotton (or as close as possible). Cotton will give you the most vibrant color with many store-bought kit dyes, while nylon and spandex blends will appear lighter and more faded.

American Swirl Beach Towel

You will need:

Directions:

  1. Place the beach towel in a tub and wet thoroughly. Wring it out lightly.
  2. Spirals on towel
    Photo: Heather Gaumer.

    Spread out the towel. With the long end in front of you, measure 14 inches in and 9 inches down from the top right corner. This will be the center of your first spiral. Pinch this spot and twist counterclockwise, keeping the towel as flat as possible. Continue twisting until the outer edges are pulled tightly into the spiral.

  3. On the left side of the towel, measure 14 inches in and 9 inches up from the bottom left corner and make a clockwise twist. Tightly spiral it clockwise until you reach the first spiral. The towel should make an “8” shape.

    Rubber bands on white towel
    Photo: Heather Gaumer
  4. Taking one of the towel ends, wrap three rubber bands vertically around the entire spiral to create six triangles. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Put on gloves. Mix the dyes in the bottles according to the kit instructions.
  6. Turn your trash bag inside out on the ground and place your towel on top. Note: You can also use an old sheet in the backyard. The dye will soak through, so be mindful to select an area where the dye won’t ruin what’s underneath. Using your dye bottles, squirt colored dye on each triangle on the spirals, starting with red and alternating. Once the top is saturated, flip your towel over and finish dyeing the bottom half. It’s OK if the application is messy. Note: Don’t be afraid to be heavy-handed with your dye. The more you add, the more it will seep into the folds of the towel.
  7. Once the dye is applied, use paper towels to wipe any excess dye from the trash bag. Pull the trash bag inside out again over your towel to cover. Leave wrapped in a warm spot (this helps the dye set well) for 24 hours.
  8. After 24 hours, uncover the towel and place it into a sink or tub. Rinse it once thoroughly with cold water. Remove the rubber bands and rinse the towel under lukewarm water until most of the water coming off is clear. Wash the towel by itself in a washing machine with detergent, in warm or cold water, to remove any remaining dye. Dry and enjoy!

Spectacular Striped Tote

You Will Need:

Directions:

  1. Wet the tote thoroughly, then wring out lightly.
  2. Spread the tote out. Starting on the left side, accordion fold your tote across, with each fold 1.5 to 2 inches wide. Note: The project works fine with a different size tote, but adjust instruction measurements accordingly.
  3. Five inches from the bottom, put a rubber band around the folded tote. Wrap a second rubber band one inch above the first rubber band, then add another four inches above the second. Continue adding rubber bands in this pattern until you reach the top of the tote (handles included).
  4. Put on gloves and mix the dye according to the package instructions.
  5. Flip a trash bag inside out and place it on the ground. Place the tote on the trash bag.
  6. Starting with the blue, dye the first “block” of your tote, from the bottom to the first rubber band. Leave the smaller space between the first and second rubber bands as is, and fill your next “block” between the second and third rubber bands with red dye. Continue this pattern for the rest of the length of the tote.
  7. Use paper towels to dab away any excess dye and flip the bag inside-out to cover the tote. Wrap it tightly and store in a warm place for 24 hours.
  8. After 24 hours, unwrap the tote and place it into a sink or tub. Rinse it once thoroughly with cold water. Remove rubber bands and rinse under lukewarm water until most of the water running off of the tote is clear. Wash the tote by itself in a washing machine with detergent, in warm or cold water, to remove any remaining dye; dry and use.

Red, White, and Ooo! Socks

Tie dye socks
Photo: Heather Gaumer.

You Will Need:

Directions:

  1. Place the socks in the sink and wet thoroughly. Wring them out lightly.
  2. Roll the socks lengthwise.
  3. Tightly wrap a rubber band around the sock about a third of the way in from one end. Repeat on the other side so the sock is divided into three equal sections.
  4. Lightly squirt blue dye onto one end of the sock, and red on the other. The center should remain white. Note: This is a procedure that kids could do mostly on their own.
  5. Wrap the socks in a plastic bag and leave to set overnight.
  6. Remove the rubber bands and rinse the socks under lukewarm water until most of the water running off is clear. Wash the socks by themselves in a washing machine with detergent, in warm or cold water, to remove any remaining dye; dry and use.

Halloween Ideas

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