Tie Dye Birthday Party Activities

by Shannon Ankeny
Tie dye is a great summer birthday party activity.

Tie dye is a great summer birthday party activity.

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Tie dying is the practice of dying pieces of cloth using inks and dyes while the fabric has been tied into different sections using rubber bands. Tie dyeing at birthday parties is a fun way to send your guests home with a memorable party favor they can keep and reuse. Tie dye kits can be purchased or you can buy individual colors of fabric dye and the necessary materials at your local craft store. This is best done outside; protect your guests' clothing with smocks to prevent unwanted stains.


T-shirts are the first choice for tie dye projects. Provide a variety of sizes of t-shirts, according to the ages of your guests, or have them bring a white t-shirt. Having adults around will help with time management because they can help kids tie the different sections of their t-shirts with rubber bands in order to prepare them for soaking.


Tie dye socks are too funky to pass up, and are also more affordable to provide for guests. Follow the same instructions as when dying t-shirts. You will not need as many adults for hands-on assistance, since socks are smaller with less fabric to handle. Socks might use more dye solution than t-shirts because they have a higher thread count and thickness than t-shirts.


Scarves or handkerchiefs are also easily tie dyed. They are most widely available in cotton or silk, with cotton being the most affordable to buy in bulk. These are great for younger children and for parties with more guests because they are smaller, use less dye and the process goes much faster.

Permanent Markers

If you are limited on space or don't have an adequate area for setting up traditional tie dying, use permanent markers. Prepare your t-shirt or socks the same way, using rubber bands, but instead of dunking them in different dyes, use colored wide-tipped permanent markers to stain the fabric. After that, spray the inked areas with rubbing alcohol. This will cause the inks to spread and soak the fabric.


Get crazy and make the cupcakes out of two brightly colored cake batters swirled together. Divide the batter and color it using gel food dye, which results in a brighter and bolder color. Continue the tie dye theme by making brightly colored frosting for the kids to decorate the cupcakes themselves. Show them how to carefully swirl the different colors together to resemble tie dye. Top the cupcakes off with multicolored sprinkles.

Photo Credits

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