Simple, creative, and colorful tye dye for preschoolers

I have seen others make this type of activity on their blogs so when my nieces came over, I thought we should try it all out. What we discovered is that this activity (which we now call designer paper towels) is an idea that just keeps on keeping on. So here it goes:)

Setting up
I set out…

  • Newspaper (to keep from ruining my table)
  • Paper towels (the bounty rectangles/half sheets)
  • Paper plates (to put under the paper towels while wet)
  • Washable markers (bright colors work best)
  • Black permanent markers
  • Spray bottle with clean water

The girls use the black permanent marker to draw items like their name or a work that they didn’t want to wash out and the colored washable markers for adding color. I had a heck of a time scrounging up markers around the house! Who would have thought a preschool teacher doesn’t have markers at home!

Now the girls just started to color on the paper towels. Some are more advanced drawings and others are just colorful scribbles and designs.

Then we sprayed all the designs with water. We found out that at first the colors didn’t look like they will spread out that much so the girls added a lot of water. But actually, it just takes a bit for the water to soak in and then the colors will begin to bleed out. No need to over soak it!

The girls love this and they made a ton of them. After each paper towel was sprayed then we set them out to dry overnight. This is when I discovered all the wonderful things you could do with these….

Hang on to all the extra designer paper towels and see what you can do next!

A name plate: tape was added around the edges!
A name scroll with tape and a straw!
Tye Dye Quilt: Several sheets of designer paper towels taped together on the back with name in the center.
The left over designer paper towels were then cut into little squares to try a few more activities!
We thought they would make cool looking rainbows!
Just glue the designer paper towel squares on a sheet of construction paper!
Or add it to a sheet of writing paper then have the children print out a sentence or dictate to you a descriptive sentence.

For more Creative Art Ideas….

Gather the following items…

  • Your designer paper towel squares (or what ever shapes you cut them up in)
  • Green construction paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • marker
  • stapler

Get three sheets of green construction paper and then stack them up so they are all nice and neat:)

Put one staple right in the center of all three sheets so they stay together.
Set a stencil (I chose a shamrock) on the paper and draw the shape.  Or you can just let the kids free cut a shape. The key is to keep the paper together with the staple so all three shapes are the same size.
Now cut out the shape then remove the staple from the center. If the children are going to cut through three sheets of paper at once, they will need a good pair of scissors or a little help from an adult!
Now fold the three shapes in half like a book.
Separate the three sheets and add glue to the backside of each one. You will then glue the backs of all three shapes together to make a three dimensional shape or shamrock.
All three shapes are now glued together.
Glue on the designer squares to add some rainbow colors to each shape.
And there you have it! Really, the three dimensional construction paper shapes are good for any object you can cut out! I usually make one for each shape we are learning about to hang up in the room! They look great because all three sides are nice to look at.
Oh, and remember those paper plates we used when making our designer paper towels?
Well we folded some in half.
And made butterflies.
And cut the other ones in half to make umbrellas!
And remember all that newspaper we used?
After it dried, I stacked it up to use again.
No need to waste a thing!
By |2010-03-11T23:53:33+00:00March 11th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. kristin March 13, 2010 at 9:08 am - Reply

    i forgot about this activity! anything with spraying water is a hit, eh?

    • Deborah J. Stewart March 15, 2010 at 1:22 am - Reply

      Isn’t that true! Spraying water is great for everyone – especially since it is easy to clean:)

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