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Friday, November 14, 2014

TEA - Shirts

A couple years ago, my teammate and I ventured to try something new and exciting -- dying become 'tea'-shirts, and then painting them with natural dyes, like they would do years (and years) ago.

We wanted more connections to 'the past' and thought this would be a fun experience. 

We found help online with suggested 'dye sources', and proceeded to give it a try. 

Four years later we're still loving it !

 Step One:  Soak white t-shirts in a tea 'bath' overnight. We start out in a small tub so all the children can have the experience of dying their shirt.  I then transfer them to a large bucket where they soak overnight.

Step Two:  The 'tea'-shirts hang on line ( thanks to the tree we have nearby our rooms) overnight - or two nights depending on the outdoor temps.

 Step Three:  We demonstrate the blending of our natural (food source) dyes.

We've narrowed it down to our favorites
 (most effective - and not too costly):

carrots  (2 cans - drain first, add water as needed)
mustard  (1 jar)
beets   (2 cans - drain first, add water as needed)
spinach (2 cans or frozen, drain)
turmeric (spice - a little goes a long way -- add water)
blueberries   (frozen pkg.)

All blended (except mustard and turmeric)
Add Alum (about a tsp.) to non-berry foods
Add Salt  (about a tsp.) to berries

The Alum and Salt are to help preserve color.

Muffin tins work great as 'paint' holders.

Step Four:  Yeah! Let's paint!   We do this outside on tables. I have a couple parent helpers to monitor refilling 'paints'.    I use 4 six cup muffin tins, fill them 3/4 full, and have plenty still left after a class of 24 have finished their shirts. 

They dry overnight, and then we wear them at school for a couple days.  The week before Thanksgiving we make corn husk dolls, and always wear them during that project.

Important:  I send a note home reminding parents to wash them separately, as I cannot guaranteed what the dyes will do to other clothes. I also tell them to expect some fading over time/washes.

Feedback from a couple years ago:  My daughter still has her shirt -- loves it, and yes the colors/designs are still there (some fade -- but not much)! 

Reports like that encourage me to keep doing it every year.  

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