A super kid-friendly way to learn how to tie dye using the ubiquitous paper towel!
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Tie Dye Paper Towels
- Paper towels Tip: Use super absorbent towels without any prints
- Food Coloring in red, blue, and yellow
- Jars or small plastic containers
Parent Prep: Mix the food coloring with water in three separate containers. It should be a strong solution.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
- Fold the towel
Fold a paper towel as small as you can. You can fold it into triangles, squares or any other shape. Hint: The more times you fold the towel, the more patterns you will see when you open it up.
- Add color
Drop food coloring on one side of the folded towel with pipettes.
- Turn and color
Turn over the folded towel and drop food coloring on the other side.
- Open it up!
Open up the paper towel to reveal a patterned design.
Let’s Talk STEAM
The Science: Paper towels are made from trees. Trees absorb water through a process called capillary action. This is the ability of a liquid to flow upward and through materials with many little holes in them, also called porous materials. As you drop colored water onto the paper towel it quickly spreads out and through the porous material.
The Art: Red, blue, and yellow are primary colors. When they combine you may see a new color appear! This is called a secondary color. The secondary colors are green, orange, and purple.
The Math: Symmetry is when you see the same image repeated along a line called an axis. Each fold of the towel creates a new axis. When you drop color on these axes, you create symmetrical patterns which are visible once you unfold the towel.