Saturday, February 13, 2016

Craft Project: Tie Dye with Kool-Aid

May 9, 2009 by  
Filed under kid projects and DIY, Resources

Color Chart using Kool-Aid (copyright of Barbara M. Harris-Pruitt)

Color Chart using Kool-Aid (copyright of Barbara M. Harris-Pruitt)

Kool-Aid is one of the freebies that HEB gives away frequently as part of their Combo Loco or weekly Meal Deals so if you happen to have some lying around, using Kool-Aid as the dying agent for a tie-dye experiment is safe and fun; if you don’t have Kool-Aid, it is relatively inexpensive.  Old t-shirts and onesies with stains work great as the dye will cover up the discoloration.  If you’re looking to buy inexpensive t-shirts, Dollar General carries Fruit of the Loom 3-pack t-shirts for $5 (2T-3T as the smallest sizes).

The science teacher in me always pushes safety first, so first and foremost, teach your children (no matter how young) to treat the Kool-Aid powder like it is a chemical and not a food.  If you’re working outdoors where it is windy, be careful not to inhale the powdered Kool-Aid.


  • kitchen gloves or latex/latex-free gloves (found in pharmacies near first aid)
  • cold water
  • 1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid
  • plastic bowl for each color
  • 6 teaspoons (~30 ml) distilled white vinegar per color
  • iron, ironing cloth, ironing board


  1. For each color that you wish to use to dye the shirts, dissolve 1 package of unsweetened Kool-Aid with 6 teaspoons of distilled white vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. Twist the shirt and tie with rubber bands in any way desired.  (The rubber banded areas will remain the original shirt color.)
  3. Dip different parts of the twisted and tied shirt into each bowl of color, wearing gloves to prevent hand staining.
  4. Untie the shirt.
  5. Iron the shirt with an ironing cloth separating the shirt and iron to set the dye.
  6. Wait 24 hours before hand washing the shirt in cold water.
  7. Dispose of the leftover dye into the kitchen sink.

One alternative to dipping the shirts into the bowls of dye would be to give the children eye droppers, plastic pipettes, or squirt bottles so they can create patterns with more control.


One Response to “Craft Project: Tie Dye with Kool-Aid”
  1. Jestina says:

    This is a great idea! I am defiantly going to try this. I have a toddler and I want to tie dye with him but I have been searching for a safe method other than regular dye. This will be perfect! :)

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