The words “permanent dye” and “kids” generally don’t go together — at least not at my house.
But my kids love to be creative, and they seem drawn to making (beautiful) messes, and that’s why I was overjoyed to learn about The Tie Dye Lab in Avon. It’s a hands-on makerspace where you can tie dye your own wearables — everything from t-shirts to socks to hats to bandanas and more. Here my children get to experience all the fun of creating their own unique tie-dyed items, and I don’t have to deal with any of the mess. Everyone wins!
We visited The Tie Dye Lab during one of their preschool story times, which are offered for kids ages 2 to 5 during the school year (September-May). During this hour-long event, kids can look forward to hearing a story, doing a craft, eating a snack and getting some hands-on experience tie-dying their own creation. Because we visited around the holidays, the kids in our group tie dyed a Christmas stocking. Each month, the theme for preschool story time changes, and so does the item that is tie dyed. Of course, you can visit The Tie Dye Lab at other times and tie dye whatever you want! But the preschool story time hour was a fun, low-key introduction to tie dyeing for my 5 year old, and I’m glad we opted for this class.
As the name suggests, preschool story time starts with a story! Our theme for this class was Christmas, so a staff member read a story about a Christmas tree and the kids gathered around to listen.
After the story, it was tie dying time! Tie dying can be messy, but the people at The Tie Dye Lab have everyone covered … literally. They provide thick smocks for the kids (that are tie dyed, of course) to keep their clothes clean, as well as plastic aprons for the adults. Everyone wears plastic gloves, too.
Then we went to the dyeing stations, where our stockings were pre-tied with rubber bands and ready to be dyed. After a short demonstration on how to hold the bottle of dye (no squeezing!) and where the dye should go on the stocking, the kids were free to apply the dye themselves. Surprisingly, the tie dying process was not as messy as I thought it would be, but I still ended up with a few splatters on my plastic apron (thankfully, I was wearing one!).
Once we were done dyeing, our tie-dyed creations had to sit for a while. So, we moved over to another area of the store where two tables were set up with two different crafts. We crafted while we waited, and then ate a snack that the staff provided.
After the craft and snack, it was time for the next step in tie dyeing: rinsing off the extra dye from our tie-dyed stockings and wringing them out. We moved over to the rinsing station, where we found several sinks with hand faucets, and step-stools so that everything was accessible to the children. The kids each sprayed their stocking for a few minutes until the water ran clear. Then each child helped turn the crank on the wringer and fed their stocking through the contraption.
And then, just like that, each child had a new, one-of-a-kind tie-dyed stocking to take home! That’s one of the best things about The Tie Dye Lab: Within 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish, you are able to walk out of the store with your very own tie-dyed creation — no need to come back later to pick it up.
The Tie Dye Lab staff send you home with a bag to carry home your damp tie-dyed creation, with instructions on how to care for it. (It needs to be washed, by itself, with a special detergent that they provide you so that the dye sets.). From start to finish, they make the tie-dyeing experience extremely fun, educational and super kid-friendly!
Reservations: The Tie Dye Lab is open for walk-ins, and all ages are welcome, but if you would like to visit one of their preschool story times, they request that you call and make a reservation (317-483-7903) or send them a Facebook message so that they know how many kids to expect.
Price: As of December 2019, the price for preschool story time is $20 plus tax and includes a tie-dyed item, craft and snack.
Date and Time: Dates and times vary, but they typically offer a few classes per month, with both a morning class and an evening class each day.