teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘slow release activities’

No Mess Tie Dye

I found this interesting activity on the Internet, but didn’t have all the ‘ingredients’ on hand.  The process calls for scraps of material, preferably white or light coloured and definitely cotton,not polyester 🙂 (old sheets or pillow cases from  your local op shop would be great!) A rubber band, small bucket or large bowl each, a medicine dropper or syringe, permanent  markers and rubbing alcohol.

I didn’t have coloured permanent markers or rubbing alcohol, so I initially tried it with water and washable markers.   

It kinda worked, but the  colours really did wash  out. Pretty, but not permanent 🙂

Seeing as the kids enjoyed the activity so much, I decided to was worth it to go buy the missing ingredients. After the activity was complete I had to wonder if I could have just used the antibacterial hand gel that is everywhere? It removes permanent markers from walls and most surfaces, so if watered down into a liquid form, it should work too. Actually, “Impulse” and other body sprays also remove permanent markers from laminated surfaces and whiteboards, so it might be interesting to try this too! Admittedly, that would be a bit much for a class of kids, but interesting to try with my spray obsessed little man!

I asked my kids to draw big swirls and circle patterns, which my girl took to a new level 🙂 I was meaning something simpler and drew one on my son’s work sheet so that he understood what to do.  Choosing complimentary colours and avoiding using black would be my only hints for this.

Once the kids were happy with their designs, we came to the syringes. My kids are fairly familiar with these as water toys and using as hydraulics (a small plastic tube between syringes and coloured water!) So the control they have is pretty awesome. Other children might like to practice with water first, before using the more expensive stuff! For our large cereal bowls, 10 ml was enough. If they squirt the liquid all in one spot, just tip the bucket/bowl upside down and roll it round 🙂

Almost immediately you will see the colours start to travel. To give more even spreading or for new effects, tilt the bowl to a side and watch the colours change direction!

As the material dries out, over the next hour or so, the colours continue to spread over the edge of the bowl, so if you were to hang them up, I can only assume this means the colours would run down! I’m looking forward to doing this one at school, using buckets from the sandpit as our bases and creating our own flags or banners 🙂 The thing I love about ‘slow release’ activities is that the kids can come back and see their art grow and change in short periods of time. Keeping them attached and their curiousity piqued opens doors to some amazing conversations!


As for the ‘no mess’ part, clean up involved putting lids on markers, rinsing syringes and washing bowls. Heaps easier than traditional tie dye and no stained hands in sight!