How to Throw a Totally Groovy Tie-Dye Birthday Party

Dress for a mess by hosting a tie-dye birthday party! We rounded up decorations, activity ideas, and props for a kid-friendly bash.

child wearing tie-dye
Photo: Natasha Sioss/Getty

Tie-Dye Birthday Party Activities

Prep in advance. You'll want each guest to have at least one item to tie-dye. T-shirts have throwback camp vibes (a good bulk buy are Gildan Youth T-Shirts), but you can make over anything from socks and scrunchies to pillowcases and totes. Whatever you choose, make sure they're made of cotton and that you prewash them so they absorb dye well.

Set up a splash zone. Cover a table (ideally outside, unless you are very brave) with plastic tablecloths and stock it with plenty of plastic gloves and rubber bands as well as squeeze bottles of dye (all included in the kit in the sidebar at left). Lay down several layers of paper towels at each kid's workstation to soak up excess squirts of dye. Or have them do their dying inside large plastic tubs to contain the mess.

Go wild. Pass out the T-shirts and let the kids get their hands dirty. They can start by crumpling the fabric and holding it in place with rubber bands on the front and the back. Then they can go crazy squeezing on all the different colors.

Take it to go. When finished, the dyed shirts will need to set for six to eight hours. Place each still-wet, rubber-banded shirt in a resealable plastic bag marked with the child's name. Write up instructions for how to rinse, wash, and dry the projects later (details included in the tie-dye kit), and add the note to each goodie bag.

tie-dye party cake and snacks
Caitlin Bensel

Necessities for a Tie-Dye Party

Let's be real: Things are going to get sloppy, so embrace the chaos. Those far-out strokes of color on the cake will look Insta-cool even if they're not perfect. Go ahead and mismatch the table to your heart's content. Ombre Canape Plates or Rainbow Plates go well with Tie-Dye Paper Napkins and Party Essentials Neon Party Cups. Of course, you may also want to use Metallic Rainbow Premium Plastic Cutlery. Then add jumbo swirl lollipops as spunky place settings and sprinkle lots of confetti. (You can vacuum later!)

Party Props

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Fired up

rainbow happy birthday candles
Courtesy of Spritz

Get more oohs and aahs at the cake unveiling by arranging Spritz Happy Birthday Candles in two tiers on the cake. Push the BIRTHDAY letters down flush with the frosting, and position HAPPY so it's hovering above them with the picks visible.

To buy: Spritz Happy Birthday Candles

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rainbow number balloon
Courtesy of Michaels

One Giant Foil Rainbow Number Balloon (it's 34 inches!) will bring a major cheery pop to any party space.

To buy: Giant Foil Rainbow Number Balloon

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Dye job

tie-dye party kit
Courtesy of Tulip

All you really need to get the party started: The Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Block Party Kit comes with 16 pairs of disposable gloves, 75 rubber bands, and eight bottles of dye—just add water to activate them.

To buy: The Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Block Party Kit

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