With our building closed and our families cooped up in their homes, Imagination Stage is doing what we can to bring lively entertainment and activities from our stages and classrooms into your living rooms!

Our Assistant Costume Shop Manager Lysh DeVries has just the thing to bring a little color to your time inside – let’s tie-dye with Sharpies! We will explore two different Sharpie dyeing methods. The first is a classic tie-dye; the second is a simple free-hand drawing method.


Best for Ages 8 and up

Time: 2 – 5 hours

Adult Supervision Required for children under 12 years

Materials Needed:

  • Sharpies – any color you like!
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Cotton Item to dye – anything works if it is at least 90% cotton!
  • Rubber bands
  • An eyedropper, straw, or small squeeze bottle
  • A cardboard box that your item to be dyed can fit over



First, scrunch up tiny finger-fulls of the material and secure with a rubber-band, leaving a small stump of fabric sticking out the top. Repeat this as many times as you desire! Each scrunch will create a single burst of color.

 Next, start coloring just below the rubber band with your sharpies. I made each burst a single color, but feel free to mix it up if you want even more color variation! You can also color the stumpy part of the fabric as well if you don’t want the center to be blank.

Then, repeat until you have colored in all the pieces of fabric tied up with rubber bands. You may want to do this over a cardboard box to keep the colors from bleeding to the other side.

If you have an eyedropper, simply squeeze the alcohol onto the parts you just colored. Starting from the middle and working your way to the edge produces the lovely bleed effect. I had a straw that I used like an eyedropper by submerging in alcohol and then placing my finger on the end to retain the liquid. Then just release your finger to drop the alcohol!

Repeat until your project is sufficiently wet. This may be a bit smelly. If you can, leave the project next to an open window or even in an outdoor location.

If you choose the free- hand dye method, draw directly onto your fabric item using any pattern you like. I chose simple green lines all over.

Just the same as the tie-dye method, apply the alcohol with your dropper of choice, then allow to dry in a ventilated area. Once dry, remove the rubber bands and admire your groovy creation! One more step until you can wear it…

The colors need to be heat-set into the fabric before it can be worn or laundered. You can either place it in a dryer for at least 20 minutes on a high heat setting OR you can run a hot iron over it for at least 3 minutes, working in circles over the entire surface.

For longest lasting results, hand wash in cold water and line dry.
For best washing machine results, wash in cold water, gentle cycle with like colors. Do not Bleach. Line dry.
“Dye” will fade over time. Strong detergents and bleach will speed up the process. This may be desirable to achieve a faded look.


Be sure to comment on our Facebook page with a picture of your completed tie-dye!


Members of the Imagination Stage Education team.

Our Commitment To You

Keep coming back to our blog and social media for more ideas and activities for you and your little ones to do at home. While we are currently unable to utilize our typical frameworks of live theatre and best-practice arts education, Imagination Stage is committed to doing everything we can to continue serving our children and families during this unprecedented time.


Find More Family Fun Activities on the Imagination Stage Blog


Keeping the Mission Alive

The ghost light shines on in our Lerner Family Theatre.

Imagination Stage has always had a grand vision: to empower ALL young people to discover their voices and identities through performing arts education and professional theatre. For the past 40 years, we are proud to have empowered 1.5 million young people and their families through theatre performance and education experiences. You make these experiences possible.

We are dedicated to making sure that our community and staff remain safe and our arts and education programming remain strong. In light of the current global health crisis, for the next two weeks, we are suspending all programming including professional theatre, education, and community initiatives. We are working hard to ensure our operations and mission are not impacted by this necessary closure. Your donations are critical to helping us achieve this goal. Thank you for being part of our community. Your support, now more than ever, is vital to keeping our mission alive.


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