Tie Dye Window Decorations

by Wendy Copley on January 26, 2010


We’ve been having a lot of rainy weather around here and the kids have been stuck inside for over a week now. The other day, the five-year-old and I stumbled upon an easy activity that kept him busy for over an hour. OVER AN HOUR, PEOPLE! If you’re the parent of a five-year-old, you know how awesome that is.

We ended up making these things that I am calling: Tie Dye Window Decorations.

I’m pretty good at naming things, don’t you think? Also, I know it’s starting to look like we’re a bunch of hippies, but we really aren’t. It’s just that tie dye crafts are easy and fun and they give you pretty results with a fun surprise factor at the end.

All right, so here’s what you need to make these totally easy Tie Dye Window Decorations:

  • A cheap-o kids water color set
  • Paper towels

I bet you have those in your house right now! Sweet.

Start off by filling each of the water color thingies up to the top with water.


I found an easy way to do this is to fill up a big glass of water and then transfer the water to the paints by doing that thing where you put your finger over the end of the straw to trap the water inside and then let it go over the paints to get it out. Wyatt liked this part almost as much as the actual dyeing. You can also just fill them up at the sink, but you’ll be running back and forth a lot more often if you do it that way.


Stir the paints up to get more of the color in the water.


Now, take a big paper towel and cut it into quarters. You’ll want your pieces of paper towel to be about 6 inches square. If they’re bigger, they’re harder for little hands to handle and the paint doesn’t saturate as easily.


Fold your square of paper towel in half.


Then fold it in half again.


And then fold it in half on the diagonal, kind of like how you’d fold paper to cut a paper snowflake:


You can just leave your towel as is, or if you want it to be more of a circle, cut the end off the towel like so:


Instead of folding the towel on the diagonal, you can also fold it in half again so it’s a rectangle shape which will make the end design different, but equally attractive.


OK, so now that the paper towel is all folded, you get to start the fun part — the dyeing! Dip different parts of the paper towel bundle into the paints and let it absorb the color. The corners are the easiest.


You can fold it in half again to get the colors into the middle sections. You can also dab paint on with the paint brush.


Keep dipping and dabbing until the paper towel bundle has as much paint on it as you’d like.


Then unfold to see your beautiful creation in all its glory!


Lay towels flat to dry (we used a cookie cooling rack) and then hang them in a sunny window to catch the light!


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  • moimama

    AN HOUR! We are going to do this right now! I have a five year old and right now I will take 15 minutes of peace! I mean really do we have to have the entire rainy season in a 2 week span?!?!?!?!?!

  • sara

    very clever thing to do on a rainy afternoon……wish I had a five year old around….I'd try it right now….almost as pretty as sunshine

  • Looks great!

  • Aunt Linda

    Wendy…Your brain is always working!! (which is a good thing when you have an active 5 year old) Of course you might guess that this activity would catch my interest… but the easy, inexpensive and (dare I say?) BRILLIANT method you came up with makes me want to swoon. It is all so quick and non toxic and very accessible to a young, active guy like Wyatt. An Hour? Holy Cripes. Plus, they come out looking like brightly colored snowflakes!

  • rookiemomwhitney


  • brookbaby

    The furnace blew up at school yesterday, this and making cookies have made it on the to do list for the day!

  • My little guy and I just made some of these together to stave off the snow day boredom. He's only two but was able to enjoy it with just a bit of assistance. Thanks for sharing! đŸ™‚

  • ckrivolavek

    I love it! No fancy supplies but fun results! Thank you for sharing and the pictures definitely made the instructions so easy. Thank you!!

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  • Warning: your mileage may vary! I hope you get at least 15 minutes though.

  • We'll have to do some crafts when you're out, Sara. Do you think Baby E will be up for it?

  • That's so cool! I love that your two year old did this too!

  • Great! I'm glad it was helpful!

  • Love this!! I did it with my 2 1/2 year old yesterday with heart shaped paper towels for valentine's day. It was a huge hit! Thanks!

  • meadow68

    Babysiting a bored 7 yr old. thank goodness I recalled this blog post!!!!

  • cindyinpa

    I really like this! I think we'll try it right here in northeastern PA today! Also, I want to tell you that I really like your writing style. It suits my reading style just perfectly! Thanks for all the cool stuff you do and document for us readers out here!

  • Thank you for the idea! It is such a good project to make with toddlers. One of these days we will try to make such window decorations with our 22-mo-old daughter. It's high time to add colours to our environment! đŸ™‚


  • Gorgeous! So happy and cheerful. We did something like this with coffee filters and acrylics, but they were more opaque. I love the idea of using simple watercolors and dipping instead of painting! Adding this to our summer list.

  • homeschoolerconfessions

    Wow, that looks like it'd be right up our alley! Thanks for sharing, If I end up posting about it, I'll be sure to lead people back your way!

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  • this is such a great, simple idea. love it!

  • creativejewishmom

    Gorgeous! I'd just love it if you'd find a moment and hop on over to my crafty blog and link to this at my weekly international linking party (now thru Wed). Hope to see you there @www.creativejewishmom.com

  • Shammee

    wow..great idea…

  • Niki

    Just found your blog. My 5.5 y.o. daughter, my super-craftsy MIL, and I did this today and it was fantastic! We must have made 15 snowflakes in all, all beautiful. Thanks so much.

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  • melissa

    Awesome! I’m looking for something to cover my windows with in the room that I am making “all about the kids” (their school art & creations). This is going to be perfect! and pretty on the outside! Thanks so much!

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