Brighten your day with a tie-dye Tibetan flag

If the cold wintery days are beginning to affect the vibrancy in your home – then this kids friend;y DIY project is a great way to brighten things up.

This tie dye Tibetan flag brought beautiful colours to our kitchen space and it was not only great fun to do with the kids, but I found the creative process quite enriching for them, so I thought it a project worth sharing. I had some fun flashbacks to the 90’s when my friends and I used to tie dye our t-shirts (or anything we could lay our hands on to be honest!).

This activity, although it doesn’t involve nature elements, is fascinating for the children because they get to see how the colours emerge on the fabric just from dipping them in food colouring and how the folds you make initially affect the end outcome. It’s a beautiful demonstration of visualisation, ideation and reaction.

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

  • Food colouring
  • Tissue paper – white or natural colour is best
  • Elastic bands
  • Small glass or plastic bowls for the colouring mixture
  • String
  • Cold glue
  • Wooden ice cream sticks
  • Latex gloves if you want to try and keep hands clean

It is a much simpler version of tie dye – so very kids friendly. You won’t need any fixers. But I suggest you do it outdoors on some old fabric or plastic bags underneath because it can get a bit messy.

Tie Dye Tibetan Flag making steps:

Step 1

Cut the tissue paper into square rectangular pieces. For kids, bigger is better to handle. 10x10cm is good.

Step 2

Start folding your tissue paper in different ways. There is no right or wrong way, just fold the paper into triangles, or make squares or just scrunsch it all up like my youngest son did. Use the elastic bands to keep the shape of your folded or rolled paper if needed.

Step 3

Get your food colouring containers ready. Dilute the food colouring with some water first. A 1/4 tsp of colour to about 2 Cups of water is a good mix.

Step 5

Dip a piece of the tissue paper into the food colouring dye. Use lighter colours first, otherwise they won’t show up if using darker colours first. You will see how the colour is absorbed by the paper rapidly, then keep on dipping other parts of the tissue paper in other colours of dye. You will need to squeeze a bit to take out the extra colour.

Step 6

Once you have dipped them all and they are full of colour, let them dry for a good long while under the sun. A bit of patience is needed here. We unfolded a few while they were still wet and it was hard not break them. So leave to dry completely. Lunch is a good distraction.

Step 7

When they’re dry, unfold them. It’s fascinating to see how they all turned out so differently and with such vibrant colours! We decided to turn ours into a Tibetan flag and hang it in our kitchen as this really is the heart of our home. But these squares can also be used individually as a book cover or to decorate a wall or anything else you can think of.

Step 8

To make your squares into a Tibetan flag, first choose the pattern you want to lay the different colour squares out in. Then put a strip of glue along the top of your tissue paper and place the string along that top section too.

Step 9

Bend the piece of paper covering the string and press down firmly to secure the glued fold. Continue to do so with all the other tie-dye tissue papers you created. Remember to leave some extra string on both sides to hang it up later.

I hope you have as much fun as we did and that it brings some colour to your days. Simple things can make a big difference to our moods and energy when things are feeling a bit gloomy during winter. Feel free to share your pictures of your tie dye creations with us by tagging @Natureplays_sa in your DIY days.

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