Color Me Mom


Want to give mom an eye-popping gift this Mother’s Day?

You won’t have to sell your sibling, barter with a Chippendale or sacrifice your retinas to make this one-of-a-kind present.  Rather, all you’ll need is some vibrant dye, a t-shirt and a little creativity.  The end result will be a brightly colored clothing item that mom can’t miss when perusing her closet.  You might consider making one for you too, so that mom will have a tie dye shirt mate to match on Mother’s Day.


  • Cold Water Dye such as Rainbow Rock or Tulip Cold Water Dye
  • Soda ash
  • Rubber bands
  • Disposable gloves
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Plastic Ziploc bag
  • Plain cotton t-shirt


  1. Gather small portions of the shirt and tightly secure with rubber bands.  The rubber bands are used to prevent the dye from coloring certain parts of the shirt.  The parts of the shirt that are gathered will be left white.  If you are working with a large shirt you could wrap the rubber bands to make concentric circles or experiment with random twists and gathers to create a fun, free-form tie dye pattern.  To make a striped pattern, pleat the shirt and make accordion folds held in place with rubber bands.
  2. Mix the soda ash and water in a bucket.
  3. Soak the shirt in the bucket for about 30 minutes.
  4. Put on the gloves and remove the shirt.   Squeeze the excess liquid.
  5. Place the shirt on a flat surface and gently apply dye to the shirt.  Apply one color at a time and don’t allow them to bleed together if you want white space between individual colors.
  6. Turn the shirt over and repeat the coloring process.
  7. When you are done place the shirt in a Ziploc bag and let it sit overnight.
  8. In the morning, remove the shirt from the bag and rinse it with cold water.  The excess dye should rinse off and eventually the water will run clear.
  9. Remove the rubber bands from the shirt and wash it in the washing machine by itself so the dye doesn’t run onto other clothing.
  10. Dry the shirt and present it to mom on Mother’s Day.


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.