Photo by penelope waits/Flickr Commons
1. Gather your supplies
Plain white paper towels
Food coloring OR a watercolor paint set
2. Prep your colors
If you’re using food coloring, mix a few drops of each color with water in separate small, shallow bowls. If you’re using a watercolor paint set, fill each of the color pans with water and stir to mix.
3. Fold and fold again
Next, fold a paper towel again and again until you have a small square. For a different final shape, you can also fold the final square on the diagonal and round off the edge with scissors, as if you were making a paper snowflake. To make things easier for tiny fingers, try cutting a paper towel into quarters before you begin folding.
4. Dip once
Dip each corner of the folded towel into the colored water of your choosing. Don’t hold the folded towel in the colored water too long or dip it too deep, as the color quickly seeps and travels beyond the dipped area. And let excess colored water drip back into the bowl or color pan before moving on to another section.
5. Dip twice
Unfold and refold your bundle again, in a different direction, to dip and color the middle, if desired. You can leave some white sections, or you can saturate every part of the towel with different hues. Experiment! When the coloring process is complete, unfold the paper towel and hang or lay it out to dry.
6. The finished results
There are lots of fun ways to use your masterpiece!
—Hang finished tie-dyed sheets in the window to catch the light like stained glass.
—Use the sheets to wrap gifts.
—Create placemats by laminating the sheets with clear contact paper.
—Cut the sheets into shapes and glue onto paper to make cards or collages.
—Make a beautiful butterfly by gathering the sheet in the middle with a wooden clothespin or a colored pipe cleaner.