Tie-Dye Challah Cover improvements

traced letters, cotton napkin, paint tie-dye

traced letters, cotton napkin, paint tie-dye

I wrote about at-the-sink tie-dye challah covers with kids, using diluted acrylic paint in squeeze bottles. The paint was free, the dyeing was fast and easy, and the results were gorgeous.
Now, I’ve fixed my one regret: that I had to pencil the Hebrew letters on each cloth before class. I’d rather kids do as much of the work as possible, even if they don’t know Hebrew letters yet. Kids don’t learn when adults do the work.

This time, I found a solution. Kindergarteners trace שּבת themselves. Not with fiddly stencils, but by writing atop letters taped to the underside of the cloth.

traceable letters taped underneath

traceable letters taped underneath

I typed a Shin Bet Tav into TextEdit, using a huge font in solid bold, then printed one copy per student.* I taped each paper underneath each blank challah cover, right in the center. Now, looking down, a student will see faint, solid letters peeping from underneath. Student pencils the outlines (or the middle of each letter) to write the word Shabbat. I check the work, and then student covers pencil with Sharpie color(s) of choice.

This worked beautifully with the Kindergartners this semester. Now, they have the satisfaction of writing the letters themselves, even if they haven’t studied those letters in class, yet.

Now, if I did this activity with older students, I would ask them to freehand the letters from an example provided. If they needed guidance about how big the letters should be, I’d say: as big as you like. Pencils first, though, because erasers can fix mistakes before we get the Sharpies going.

Another improvement: This time I used cotton cloths. Thanks to advice from the lovely people at my facebook page, I went to Bed Bath and Beyond with a coupon and bought sets of thick, cotton dinner napkins. ($9.99 for 12 without coupon.)

Whereas our diluted paint dribbled straight through polyester, paint stayed put in cotton. And, with cotton, we could unwrap the covers right away and hang to dry without worrying gravity would make the paint bleed.

So, from now on, this Kindergarten project gets cotton napkins with traceable font underneath.

traceable letters under challah cover

traceable letters under challah cover



3 responses to “Tie-Dye Challah Cover improvements

  1. Wonder how writing the letters with crayon first as a sort of batik resist and then tie dye would work. Might be interesting.

    • Thanks, Erica, I bet it would look great: more of a solid presence than thin marker line. If you meant the crayon would remain, then I’d worry about parents ironing the challah cover and making a melty mess. But if you meant the crayon would be ironed out as part of the project and as per batik methods, then that would probably work well. I use these challah covers as a quick Kindergarten project, so ironing is an extra step I don’t want to take, but for older kids and adults it would be neat to try.

  2. They are so cute. I’ve always used white handkerchiefs, also cotton but thinner and easier to see through to trace with. http://www.target.com/p/men-s-6pk-handkerchiefs-white-merona/-/A-14371262#prodSlot=medium_1_1&term=handkerchiefs
    Love your crafts.