Tie dyeing chenille stems

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on February 18, 2012

in Creative Art, Tie Dye Stars

Tie dying chenille stems (pipe cleaners) is a fun little process we explored in our classroom during our study on stars.  This tie dye process could really be used for any shape made out of a chenille stem but we happened to be talking about stars on this particular day…

During our circle time, we read the wonderful book titled “Stars” by Mary Lyn Rae which is available to purchase here…

To extend our story about stars, each child made a set of their own colorful stars to take home and each child selected one star to display in our classroom window…

For this tie dye process, all you need are white chenille stems (pipe cleaners) and several containers of colored water. We used partially filled baggies to hold our colored water. The baggies have water with just a drop or two of food color in them…

The children dipped the chenille stem stars in the colored water then set them out on a paper towel to soak up the excess water…

This process could have been done in any number of ways. We could have possibly used bowls of water instead of baggies, but the children liked putting the stars in the bags of colored water and then swishing them around until they were fully colored…

Some of the children figured out that if they only dipped one corner or edge of the star in at a time, they could make a tie dye affect and end up with multiple colors on their stars…

I had plenty of white chenille stems on hand for the children to explore the coloring process. We will definitely try this again but perhaps next time, I will just let the children bend the chenille stems into shapes on their own – this would add another step to this process that the children would enjoy…

This was a new process for us and like any new process that has lots of potential, we will continue to try it and adjust the process along the way until we have covered the many different ways the process can be explored…

After our stars hung in our window for about a week or less, we made a new discovery…

All the stars turned white again! I am not sure what happened to the color. Did the sun bleach the stars? Did the colored water drip off and dry? Hmmm….

We now know to keep a closer eye on our colored chenille stems in the future so we can determine why they turned white again. A little science and discovery along the way…


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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Megan February 19, 2012 at 8:58 am

So cool! Very interesting how they turned white again. Definitely trying these!

2 Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Not sure why they did that:)

3 Scott February 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Deborah, the depths of your creativity and resources never ceases to amaze me. This is such a cool idea. We will be doing this.

(And I’m also curious about why they turned white again.)

4 India February 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Another experiment to try. You could try adding vinegar to the color and see if that has any effect on the color disappearing.

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