Sharpie Tie Dye

I love sharpies.  I don’t know why, but they’re fabulous.  This week’s science tip is the perfect excuse to go buy that mega pack of colored sharpies you’ve been eyeing.  (Or maybe that’s just me.  Am I the only one who lusts after cool writing implements?)

You’ll need:

  • colored sharpies
  • rubbing alcohol
  • a plastic cup
  • a white t-shirt (or other white cotton fabric)
  • rubber band

Smooth a section of the shirt over the plastic cup.  Secure it with a rubber band.  Use the sharpies to make dots of color in a circle in the middle of the section of fabric on the cup.  The circle should be about 1″ in diameter.  You don’t have to always make circles – any shape or design will do!  You can use more than one color.

Place a few drops of alcohol (a straw with your finger on the end works well as a dropper) in the white center of the circle.  After a few drops, the alcohol will begin to spread out towards the sharpie ink.  Add more drops until you like the pattern.  Allow the alcohol to dry for a few minutes and then move on to another section of the shirt.  Make as many circles as you like!

Let the shirt dry completely, then put it in your dryer on high for 15 minutes.  This will set the dye and allow you to launder the shirt as usual without washing away the dye.

How’s it work?  The sharpie ink is alcohol soluble, but not water soluble.  The alcohol dissolves the ink from the sharpie and spreads it out.  Once the shirt dries, you can wash as usual, since the ink isn’t dissolved by water.


Here’s our sharpie tie dyes.  Aren’t they fun?


Comments are closed.