Backyard Camp & Tie Dye Fun

Backyard Camp... campfire, tie dye, s'mores & more;

Nothing says summer fun like camping. There’s just something about being in the great outdoors that cleanses the soul and refreshes us. Not to mention the fun that comes with it! And what about making tie dye t-shirts at camp? Did you ever do that? Holy bunch of colorful fun! So what are you waiting for… why not Tie Dye Your Summer with a backyard camp?!

Think back with me to your days of camping or of summer camp. What are some of your craziest and best camp memories?

One of mine was my 5th grade camping trip. Trail hiking, campfires, having to explore the cave by crawling through it because it was so small… and the rumor of a snake in there… and my flashlight burnt out. Watching Earnest Goes to Camp, my first and only time getting in trouble with the principal (I accidentally threw a Pound Puppy on her while she was napping… total accident, I swear), and making tie dye t-shirts!

While it was… ahem… a few years ago, the fun memories are still as lively as ever!

When I saw Tulip’s One-Step Tie Dye Kits, I couldn’t wait to recreate such a fun time for my boys! (Trivia fact: Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye is America’s Favorite Tie Dye!)

Our Backyard Camp included a campfire, hot dog and marshmallow roast, yard games, playset fun, and making tie dye t-shirts… everything but a tent since most of our friends are still young and we all wanted a sleep-filled night!  As you can imagine the highlight of the night was our tie dye activity!

My only tie dye experience prior to this was at that 5th grade campout. We took our white t-shirts, wrapped rubber bands around them, plunged them into a bucket of dye, and hung them up to dry. (I might be missing a step or two, but it was 25 years ago. Give me a break!)

Tulip’s One-Step Tie Dye Kit was much more fun! Thankfully the kits include a step-by-step technique sheet that shows different t-shirt designs and how to make them. All the kids picked except two picked the same design… the Swirl.

It was simple and FUN! Well, before you see the pictures, let me preface… the kids don’t look very thrilled while making the shirts. We assisted (or did) most of the dying for them. No way were we giving 3-6 years squeezy bottles of dye on their own. But they we super excited to pick their colors and designs. And even more excited to see their finished project!

The instructions say to bind the shirt (or cloth) with rubber bands, apply dye, and wrap. It really was that simple!  All we needed was a t-shirt, water (to fill the dye bottles), plastic table covering, plastic wrap or plastic bags, and paper towels. Everything else was included in our tie dye kit! So here’s how we did it… 


Tie dye t-shirt instructions…


Decide on your design. As silly as it sounds, this might be the hardest step! There are so many awesome designs that you can make from the technique sheet, or make your own… you decide!

Bind your t-shirt or cloth with the rubber bands included in the package. They are good and durable… and free!

Tie dye t-shirts with rubber bands;


Apply the dye(s). Well, first you need to fill each bottle of dye with water and shake. But that’s it! Then gently (very gently) squeeze the bottle of dye on to the shirt. In fact, we just let some of the dyes drip out rather than squeezing them out. 

Applying dye to tie dye t-shirts;

A couple things to note when applying the dye…

  • A little does go a long way! The shirt does not have to be soaked with dye. The next step (wrapping) helps the dye soak in to the shirt completely so you don’t have to over apply.
  • You will want to wear the plastic gloves on BOTH hands. I came out tie dyed because I thought I could get away with just gloving the hand that would be touching the t-shirt. Not the case!
  • The dye didn’t quite cover as many pieces of cloth as stated on the packaging. It may be because we got a little aggressive on applying the dye. Out of the package that “dyes up to 36 pieces”, we covered 11 shirts. Advice… use the dye sparingly on your pieces and buy an extra kit or two. 


Wrap your dye-covered shirt with plastic wrap. Since our shirts were mostly the Twist design, we sealed each shirt inside a sandwich bag. (Shirts should be sealed or wrapped separately.) Let the dye set for 6-8 hours.


Rinse… this is the exciting part where the design is revealed!  Rinsing the shirts will take a while. I rinsed ours in our utility sink in the basement. My girlfriend that dyed shirts with us, rinsed her family’s shirts in individual buckets. Your arms will get a good workout during the rinse, but hey… we could all use an extra calorie burn, right?  (Note: if you do not put the shirts in the washer immediately after rinsing, some dye may still ooze out so be careful where you lay the wet shirts.)

Rinsing tie dye t-shirts;


Wash separately. The instructions say to “fill washer to large load setting with hottest water suitable for fabric and apply a small amount of laundry soap. Wash and dry separately. Wash separately for the first few washes.” I washed all of our shirts separately for the first wash, but thought I would be okay on wash number two. Only one other shirt was hurt during the second washing of the tie dyes. Do not attempt this at home. Wash according to directions!


Wear! My boys thought their new shirts were the coolest shirts EVER! We had to tell the childcare workers at the YMCA, and the checkout lady at Target, and Daddy when he got home that “we made these shirts!”

Our finished tie dye t-shirts;


My directions got a little wordier than the instruction on the sheet, but just for precautions. Trust me, it really was simple and super fun!

For more tie dye projects and creations, check out:


And watch how easy (and fun) tie dying can be…



Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kits let you make a fashion masterpiece by just adding water for beautiful bold color! Dyes are permanent and color-fast, so they won’t fade in the wash! It’s the perfect project for a colorful group activity, family fun, and backyard camps!

I hope your backyard camp experience is a fun and colorful one!








Want more projects and ideas to Tie Dye Your Summer? Check out these fun tie dye tutorials:

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Tulip Tie Dye. However, all opinions are truthful and are my own.


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