This project is more than a fun way to spruce up a pair of plain socks or a solid-colored T-shirt. It's also a hit at many summer birthday celebrations, slumber parties and Scout gatherings.
Wash the socks separately from the rest of the laundry the first few times to prevent damage from bleeding dye.
Begin by covering the work area with newspaper. In a plastic bowl or pan, dissolve a packet of nontoxic fabric dye in hot water, according to the package directions. Add more hot water until there is enough to cover a couple of pairs of socks.
Dampen the white socks with clear warm water, then bundle them up in rubber bands. To make stripes, wrap three or four rubber bands around the foot and top of the sock. To make circles (great for the heals), pinch a section of the sock and tie, about an inch down, with a rubber band. For a pattern of tiny rings, slip pennies or buttons into the socks and wrap bands around them.
Wearing rubber gloves, submerge the bound socks in the warm dye and stir occasionally with a plastic spoon.
After 20 minutes or so (the color will lighten after the fabric is rinsed and dried), run them under cool water, squeezing until the water runs clear.
Remove the bands (and any pennies), smooth out the socks, and rest them flat on newspaper. Let them dry overnight.