Kid Activities

Tie-Dye Beach Towels

Tie-Dye is definitely trending this summer. We decided to jump in on the fun by making our own personalized tie-dye towels. Using a spray tie-dye kit, large white towels, and craft vinyl, we were able to create colorful and fun beach towels that the kids couldn’t wait to take to the pool.

Tie-Dye Towels


Important Tip

  • Using 100% cotton towels will ensure the brightest and most vibrant colors. The lower the cotton percentage, the more dull your final towel will be. Avoid polyesters as it does not absorb the ink as well.


  1. Wash your towels before tie-dying. New towels are often treated with chemicals that may alter the dye’s ability to adhere to the towel. Therefore, washing is essential to ensure lasting vibrant colors.
  2. Protect your hands and your work area. Tie-dye stains everything it touches, including your skin. Be sure to wear gloves and cover your workspace with a drop cloth or other protective coverings.
  1. Prepare your dye. The directions in the kit instruct to add water and shake. If you use a different kit, be sure to follow the provided directions to mix your dye properly before use.
  2. Cut your stencil or use painter’s tape to spell out the name or create other designs you would like to put on your towel. Using an electronic die cut machine and 24-inch craft vinyl, we cut out names to use as a stencil for our towels. We then transferred the vinyl to our towels using clear contact paper.

If you do not have a die-cut machine, you could use a 2-inch wide painter’s tape to spell out the names. The stencil will block the dye from the towel, leaving the stenciled area white.

Photo taken from the Learning Resource Tie Dye Towels Instructions.
  1. Lay your towels on a covered workspace and spray your towels. We sprayed our towels in striped patterns around the name. It is OK to spray directly on top of the stencils as they block the dye from getting through. Holding the bottles at certain angles will cause the spray bottle to drip. It is best to test your spray method on a piece of paper or scrap fabric before spraying your towels.

  1. Allow the ink to set. The directions called for the ink to set for 6-8 hours. We let our ink set for 18 hours on a plastic tarp in the garage. The longer you allow the ink to set, the darker the colors will be.
  1. Rinse ink in hot water until the water is almost clear.
  2. Wash towels in the washing machine in hot water and detergent. Then Dry.
  1. Take your cool tie-dyed towel to the pool and/or beach.