Wednesday, September 9, 2009

handmaking with kids: by paisley baby

for me, there is nothing as fun as making something with kiddies! the curious, creative, limitless possibilities of a child's mind is so inspiring! here's a fun new series for the rikrak studio, with lots of fun, easy, inexpensive handmaking projects for you to make with your children, your younger family members, your students or some fun kiddies you know & love (or easily adapted for adults to make as their own fun projects!) i've invited various fun folks to share a handmaking with kiddies idea with us: it might be a craft or art; a handmade excursion or handmade recipe. today is the next in the series handmaking with kids: tie-dye socks with guest Paisley Baby! enjoy!


"A really fun project for children of all ages is tie dye.

Kids as young as five love it, and so do teenagers. Two years ago I had to go to my son Jackson's kindergarten class and do an activity of my choice with them. I decided to tie dye some socks. Socks and sunhats are ideal for younger children because they can be dyed quickly and are small enough for little hands to handle.

Here a few links with lots of fabric dying information as well as detailed tie dye instructions:

I have purchased from both of these companies.

A little bit of info about the required supplies:

Sodium Carbonate – you can purchase this at any store that sells pool supplies. It is called PH Up.

Non-iodized salt – kosher salt

Procion Mx Dye – these are cold water dyes for natural fibers. You cannot dye cotton with RIT.

Urea – I didn't use this because I didn't have any. It is not 100% necessary but if you buy a tie dye kit it will be included.

Synthrapol soap – Not absolutely necessary but I would recommend having some if you plan to dye a lot of fabric. It is addictive!


I did all the sock prep at home. It is difficult to find 100% cotton socks and they are expensive! However, I did find some small socks with a small amount of nylon in them. The synthetic part of the socks will not hold the dye so the socks have a “heathered” look. The kids did not mind at all!

I washed the socks in the synthrapol, dried them, then divided the pairs into three sections with elastics. I had six different colours of dye for the project but you can use one colour or ten – it doesn't matter. I was working with the teacher so we each had three coordinating colours. I soaked the socks at home in the sodium carbonate (soda ash fixer) right before I left and brought them to the school in a garbage bag. I also mixed the dyes in the squeeze bottles at home.

In the classroom we covered the tables with old sheets. You can also use garbage bags or plastic tarps. This is an excellent project to do outdoors! All the children put their painting smocks on. It is also a good idea to wear gloves as the dye will stain your fingers, however it does wash off eventually. Each child in my son's class was identified with a number from 1-20 so we numbered each pair of socks with a permanent marker since I was bringing the socks home to wash them and they would all be mixed together. Then we got started!

The kids were a little tentative with the dye at first. I told them to squeeze the bottle hard and go for it! I individually wrapped each pair of socks in saran wrap when the kids were done. You can also use baggies. I brought the socks home, left them in the plastic wrap for the required amount of time, rinsed, washed and brought them back to the school. They were thrilled and the teacher told me almost all of them wore the socks the next day.

As children get older it is fun to tie dye t-shirts, tank tops and other pieces of clothing that require a bit more time and patience."



thanks so much, Paisley Baby!

what a fun project this would be at home, at school, with a whole group, or for a fun & crafty party, for kids of all ages!

Paisley Baby has lots of wonderful ideas for the whole family in her beautiful handmade shop, too! together with her mom, paisley baby crafts gorgeous bags & accessories. what a great selection of fabulously-well-made zipper pouches (who couldn't use a small one for pencils & goodies, a medium-sized one for organizing everything in your purse, and a nice large one for daytripping fun!), brilliant & fashionable wetbags for trips to the pool & beach, baby change pads and more. all in an array of gorgeous fabrics.

i've seen paisley baby's work first hand and can attest to its fantastic quality & craftspersonship! {and she's a real nicey, too!}

be sure to visit the Paisley Baby shop here,

and become a fan on facebook, too! & happy handmaking with kids!

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  1. What a great project! So much fun!

    A couple of years ago up at the cottage we all (grandparents, parents and kids and I think even our dog got involved unintentionally) tie dyed something - t-shirts, sweatshirt, shorts - the kids had so much fun they were running to their bags to pull out socks to dye. And you're right it was perfect to do outside!

  2. Tie dyed socks looks like a lot of fun! Great project to do with kids! ( or without!).

    One year for Megan's birthday we tie dyed t-shirts, it too was a lot of fun!

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful feature!

  4. thanks for this great tutorial! always looking for more fun things to do with the kiddies!

  5. Those are so sweet! I want to make themm for myself.

  6. what fun! i've been trying to get my son to wear a tie dyed tshirt, but he's not going for it.

  7. oh those are super-fun socks!
    now i want to make some!!
    i also like that you can use thrifted clothing for tie-dye!


thanks so much for your comments, nicies!
it's a joy to read what everyone writes here.
thank you!