Tissue Paper Tie Dye

Grab all your colors and go with the flow! It only takes a bit of water and left-over tissue paper to tune in on your child’s hand-eye coordination, science learning & more.


Spraying water can be messy and tissue paper colors will likely run onto surfaces and fingers. So, we like to do this activity in an easily cleaned room, like our kitchen. In any case, prepare your child, yourself, and your area for watery fun. Need quick cover up tips? Check out our FAQ.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Spray bottle filled with water, one per child - A trigger-type spray bottle set to a mist spray-setting, like this one found here on Amazon, works best.
  2. White construction paper about 9 by 13 inches in size like this, one piece per child. We don’t recommend using copy paper for this activity. It’s not heavy enough to take water and its coating prevents color transfer.
  3. Scrap pieces of high-quality tissue paper, any size, any shape and color will do! We reach for super saturated tissue paper like this example because its colors transfer best. Remember that light colors will have less dramatic transfer effects than darker colors. And it takes about 30 2-inch scraps to cover a 9 by 13 inch piece of construction paper.
  4. Clear container to hold your scrap tissue pieces - You can use a large, plastic bowl with a lid like this or a clean, recycled clamshell works well too!
  1. Skilly Spark: See how I’m filling this spray bottle with water? Do you think you could spray the water in this bottle? Give it a try. Now that you know how to spray water, let’s have some fun spraying it on our paper and these pieces of tissue. We will spray and spray until they’re both completely wet! What do you think will happen when the tissue gets wet on that paper? Well, we will have to wait until it’s dry to see what happens, so let’s get started!
  2. Give your preschooler a piece of construction paper. Ask them to spray the construction paper first so that it’s totally wet.
  3. Put the container full of your tissue scraps in a pile so your preschooler can easily reach them.
  4. Now, ask your little one to cover the sheet of wet construction paper by placing tissue pieces on it. They can create whatever design, shapes or picture they choose!
  5. When your little one is finished making their tissue paper creation, it’s time to give your child the spray bottle again! Ask them to spray the tissue with water until it is completely wet and you can see all the colors star to run.
  6. Be sure to take a moment to chat about the new colors they’re mixing and making during the spraying process!
  7. Now, let’s let it dry. It takes it about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on temperature and humidity. It’s a perfect time for a snack and a run-around break outside! Or, you can come back the next day to see what happens. You’ll know your tie dye is done when all the paper is dry to the touch.
  8. Drum roll please … it’s time for the reveal! Your preschooler will love taking off the tissue and seeing the colorful surprise they’ve created. Take a good look and talk about the new things, like shapes and colors they’ve made!
Keep the fun going
  • Draw a picture with preschool-friendly crayons first, then Tissue Paper Tie Dye it! After the dried pieces are taken off, your child’s illustration will be surrounded by a colorful haze! Want more runny effects? Try drawing first with big, washable markers!
  • Re-gift it! Utilize your Tissue Paper Tie Dyes for placemats, wrapping paper, or handwritten thank-you notes!
  • Tie dye party! Tape several pieces of construction paper together or use a large roll of easel paper like this to create a play group Tissue Paper Tie Dye. But be warned … your preschoolers will have lots of fun spraying each other!

Inspiration/thanks goes to Jerry de Wilde’s photos of & Waterbaby Tie Dye Works, established at “The Farm” home to the late 1960’s creative counter culture at Barham Ranch in the hills above Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA.