All throughout school I was always coloring on my shoes. I had canvas shoes for the most part, and they just begged to be colored. Then the white parts of other shoes needed to be colored. I would get in trouble if I colored on my jeans, but I could mark all over my shoes and no one would notice. All the tweens and teens I’ve every worked with are the same way- designs on shoes, designs on the soles of their shoes, designs on jeans, on their arms, hands and other places.
One of the most magically disappearing office supplies that would walk out of my office would be sharpies, as well. Coincidence? Right.
Today I’ve pulled together some of my favorite sharpie-based crafts. I’ve done them all within a library setting, so they’ve all been tested, and they’ve all turned out extremely well. I’ve provided the art-based materials for the program (sharpies, rubbing alcohol, etc.) and had teens know that they would have to provide the shoes, socks, etc. due to budget restrictions. I also asked for donations from local dollar stores and leftover clearance items, and had good luck with that for teens who might not be able to bring items. If you have larger budgets, you can find cheap shoes and items online on wholesale sites.
Over on Time for Tea, she has a wonderfully simple description of how to sharpie die (sharpie tie-die) canvas-based shoes with rubbing alcohol. This example turns out as a galaxy print, but I’ve done them in rainbows for a “retro” theme, spirals, and a variety of other patterns. The rubbing alcohol dries really quickly, enough so that while you’re working on one shoe, the other will dry. If you’re doing this specific print with a bunch of teens, be prepared to have a whole box or two of black sharpies, as everyone needs at least one. Keep tables covered, and let teens know to wear older clothes as the rubbing alcohol can stain clothes with certain colors or types of fabric.
On Moments with Maisie, they have instructions for shirt tie dying, with circular patterns that blend depending on how much alcohol is added. They use spray bottles to control the amount of alcohol that goes onto the areas and thus control the patterns. Teens could easily use dots in a stencil of their favorite character, band, logo, or their own design, and then let the pattern grow as much or as little as they like. With shirts, socks, and other material, after the alcohol dries, make sure to give written directions for the teens to take home on how to take care of their new creations for the first couple of washes, because the marker will run for the first wash so they need to be washed separately with cold water and then dried alone as well so as not to “bless” any other clothing.
Even HGTV has sharpies on their radar. They have instructions on how to use sharpies to create upscale pillow cases and throw pillows. They used a geometric pattern and a ruler, but teens could take inspiration from the harder coloring pages and zentangles and let loose their inner creativeness. In addition, they can add on to their pillows as long as they have room- an ever changing art project.
Have you used sharpies for tie dying? What have you done? Share in the comments!