Sibo Fights Malaria

the 12th title in the Sibo Series

You might know that Malaria is a complex parasitic disease that is confined mostly to tropical areas and is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. There are an estimated 250 million clinical cases of malaria worldwide, causing nearly a million deaths yearly, mostly of children under 5 years of age and generally in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria-endemic countries are faced with the high cost of prevention and treatment of the disease.

To reduce reliance on potentially harmful compounds currently used for malaria vector control, support is needed for integrated and multi-partnered strategies of vector control and for continued development of new technologies and strategies as sustainable alternative methods.

Sibo has teamed up with the University of Pretoria Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control and the National Department of Health. A story, in our usual Sibo style (wacky rhyme), has been written with the objective of trying to help change life-style as far as dealing with mozzies is concerned. 

This book not only explains what the symptoms are, but also where to go for treatment and how to avoid getting malaria in the first place.  Students from the University of Pretoria are planning to use the book as part of their projects to see whether it does make any impact or not. By empowering children (and potentially their parents too) through education on how to avoid the hazards of malaria, it is hoped that lifestyle altering patterns will emerge which could help to lessen the burden of malaria in malaria endemic areas and potentially assist in the fight towards the elimination of the disease.

This project will start in the Vhembe district, Limpopo Province. Certain schools will be selected and permission to work within these schools will be obtained from the Department of Education and also from the local Chief and the headmen of the villages where the selected schools are situated.

Sibo Fights Malaria, published by Lets Look Publishers is the 12th title in the Sibo Series. It is due to be launched at the University of Pretoria on the 24th April 2014 – the day before World Malaria Day.

For more information please don’t hesitate to contact Ginny.

Gooseberries are Gorgeous

This is what they look like when they are nice and ripe.

For those of you who may have started a veggie garden – you might like to try your hand at growing some gooseberries.  You only need one bush to get loads of berries. In fact, you don’t even need a veggie garden.

Ever since she was a little girl Ginny has loved gooseberries. She likes to scoff them straight from the bush – and if they are a little on the tart, unripe side – so much the better.  Everybody else in the family prefers to wait until the little heart-shaped soft shells are completely dry and sometimes even fall off the bush.

Did you know that they are rather easy to grow – even in pots?  We bought our first gooseberry bush from the nursery but after a while it looked a bit like something from a Dr Seuss book (a tall skinny stem with only two or three leaves perched on the top) and so we relocated it to a spare bit of ground in the garden – but still left it in the pot. It rooted into the ground and blossomed into a beautifully healthy gooseberry bush – laden with fruit.  Later on, other little gooseberry bushes sprung up around it – in the ground. Obviously they had grown from dried berries.  Admittedly – they are not very tidy plants and we have had to stake ours up – to avoid having all the fruit lying on the ground.

Our healthy gooseberry bush... still growing in a pot.

But who knew the humble little gooseberry was such an awesome fruit.  Check out these health benefits.

  • Gooseberry helps in treating various eye ailments including nearsightedness and cataract. You should take gooseberry juice with honey to enhance your eye sight.
  • Gooseberry is an important ingredient of many hair tonics. Gooseberry enhances hair pigmentation and hair growth. It strengthens your hair from the roots and maintains the color and luster of hair.
  • Gooseberry is a potent appetizer and as such, it enhances your appetite. You should consume gooseberry powder with honey and butter before meals so as to increase your appetite.
  • Gooseberry also regulates the nitrogen levels of your body, thereby helping you gain weight in a healthy way.
  • Gooseberry is also an anti-ageing agent. It prevents hyperlipidaemia by reducing oxidative stress in the ageing process.
  • Gooseberry also helps in preventing diabetes. Gooseberry is rich in chromium which has immense therapeutic value in treating diabetes. Gooseberry stimulates the isolated group of cells that secrete the hormone insulin. As such, it is instrumental in relieving the symptoms of diabetes.
  • Gooseberry also prevents the incidence of heart ailments. It strengthens your heart muscles and as such, facilitates the free flow of blood in the body without any obstruction.
  • Gooseberry also strengthens your immune system, thereby protecting you against various ailments.
  • Gooseberry is antibacterial and an astringent and as such, it protects your body against various infections.
  • On account of its cool and laxative properties, gooseberry may also be used to cure diseases like diarrhea and dysentery. Gooseberry provides relief in gastric syndrome and hyperchlorhydria (inflammation of the alimentary canal).
  • Gooseberry forms an important component of any detox diet. Gooseberry contains twenty times the content of Vitamin C as compared to lemon and as such, has high levels of antioxidants that detoxify your body.
  • Gooseberry is also instrumental in regulating the cholesterol level of the body, thereby preventing the incidence of heart attacks.
  • Gooseberry is rich in proteins and as such, acts as a body building agent by repairing old cells and forming new ones.
  • Gooseberry is a rich source of iron and helps in promoting the normal functioning of the circulatory and reproductive systems.

Info taken from:

Ready to eat - full of goodness.

Sibo on Ntunjambili (SABC 1)

Demana - yes - he really is 22 years old!

Mrs Horak and Mrs Ball – and my head!

Back in July 2012 Uncle Pete, from Lets Look Publishers, was contacted by a lady called Adelaide Joshua-Hill. She’s the Executive Producer of YOTV Mornings on SABC 1.  For those of you who live overseas – that’s one of our local South African TV stations.

Eventually, to cut a long story short the exciting news was that four of the books from the Sibo Series – Sibo and the Veggie Bed; Sibo in Space; Sibo Mixes Things Up and Sibo Tackles Trash were going to be incorporated into the programme for children called Ntunjambili (season 24). This would air at 06h30 on a Thursday morning on SABC 1.

To give you an idea of what this show is all about… (taken from )

Far Beyond the city, through the green leafy forest, where far, far below in a valley, the great Tugela river twists and turns, hidden in the mist high above, there towers a giant rock with two holes. Ntunjambili! And hidden in the shadows, just behind a gnarled old Acacia tree is an opening and if you pause to listen you will hear a sweet siren’s song coming from inside the cave.

This magical cave is the setting for the adventures of Demazana and Demana, a set of twins who, one very hot day were climbing up the mountain having fetched water from the river below, when they decided to rest near the cave, despite being warned. They are drawn into the cave and get lost in a world unlike any other. An intriguing, engaging world created to challenge all who enter. Around each corner the twins meet mystical characters, with their help and the enchanting story baskets they have to find their way out of the cave and safely back home.

Each episode takes the twins on a wonderful adventure where they learn and expand their knowledge of life and its lessons. The purpose of their exciting and chilling journey through the labyrinth of caves, is to escape.

Ginny was wildly curious to see exactly what they would do with the books and could not wait for the first show to be broadcast. 

Was quite funny – the first book (Sibo and the Veggie Bed) was read on the 21st of March 2013.  This turned out to be a public holiday and nobody was interested in getting up so early to watch – except Ginny of course.  They do a good job of animating the books – use the pictures on each page and animate bits of them. So sometimes my arm would wave up and down, or Dad’s eyes would roll and his head would nod.  Ma g is a great storyteller – or should that be – story reader. Demana, the little dude is an awesome actor – and Ginny was amazed to discover that he is actually 22 years old – and not the 8 or 9 that she imagined.

Ma g - reading Sibo Tackled Trash on SABC1

To make a funny story funnier…  the credits whooshed passed in such a blur you could not read a single thing. Just as well really – when we slo-mo’d them down from the taped show – they had gotten all mixed up and had the wrong author and the wrong publisher. Oh yes – they had the wrong book too!

Ginny made sure that she watched all the Sibo episodes. The good news is that SABC 1 are apparently going to turn them all into YouTube shows – but this has not happened yet.

However – the Ntunjambili series is currently being re-broadcast on a Sunday morning at 07h30.

Season 25 of Ntunjambili has been re-commissioned and they are considering using some more of the books in the Sibo Series… stay tuned.

We quite like this messed up picture of me!

Hearing Aids, First Aids, Band Aids… NOT

Ginny wrote this last year for ViewsHound and won a silver medal…

Every day AIDS kills 8,000 people and the world watches.  Would we just watch if 20 Jumbo Jets filled with passengers crashed every day? (Quote from the Ripple Effect)

It’s a taboo subject in way too many households – with most people thinking that it will never happen to them.  Maybe it won’t, but a very scary fact is that plenty of children are sexually active by the time they become teenagers, some even before then. 

So… by the time you sit your kids down for that chat about the birds and the bees – they’ve already been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  In some cases, they’ve acquired more than the t-shirt and they haven’t got a clue!

Sex isn’t the only danger either – drugs and the needles that get used with them, are equally, if not more dangerous.

HIV AIDS – it’s alive and it’s real. 

According to HIV and AIDS statistics from around the world, []  in the USA they estimate that there are about one million people living with HIV. Don’t just assume all those people fall into the non-white category either – roughly a third of them are white.  In the UK, approximately 85,500 people have been infected. Scary fact about that statistic is that a quarter of those people had no clue that they were HIV positive. In South Africa they estimate that approximately 5.5 million people are living with the HIV virus – this translates to roughly 11% of the population.

Even though HIV has been out there for half a century (there is no trace of the virus before 1969 in stored blood, which suggests that it is a new virus) there are still many ridiculous myths that abound.

For instance – you cannot catch HIV AIDS from sitting on a toilet seat. No way in hell is this going to happen. HIV cannot live outside the human body and cannot live in urine. Ergo… you can sit on as many strange loo seats as you like – you’ll never catch the virus.

Nor can you catch it from hugging or kissing somebody on the cheek – HIV does not live in saliva or outside the body.

Another worry is if a mosquito bites a person with HIV/AIDS the next person it bites may get HIV/AIDS.  Again… HIV cannot live outside the human body and the mosquito doesn’t inject blood into the person it bites. So you can scratch that one off the list too.

If somebody who is HIV positive coughs or sneezes on you – relax. The virus does not live in saliva – it only lives in blood, sexual fluids or breast milk. (You could worry about TB though!)

In fact, there are only four ways that a person can catch the HIV virus; by having sexual intercourse with an infected person; by transfusion of infected blood; by an infected mother to her unborn child; by infected blood in or on needles, syringes or other instruments.

The symptoms of HIV take many years to manifest themselves. That is why the only way to know if you’ve been infected with HIV is by means of a test. Just because you have the HIV virus, does not necessarily mean you have AIDS either.  (The clinical definition of AIDS is generally when the CD4 count falls below 200.)

The virus takes over the cells that are supposed to protect your body from diseases. This is what makes it so destructive. There is no cure, but eating well and living a healthy lifestyle will keep full blown AIDS at bay. Remember – it’s not actually the virus that makes you sick or kills you – it’s usually the opportunistic infections associated with AIDS, for example tuberculosis, meningitis or pneumonia.

A CD4 count measures how many CD4 cells are in the body. The viral load is the amount of the HIV in the body. The average healthy CD4 count is 500-1200. When the CD4 count drops below 350, the immune system is compromised and opportunistic infections set in.

The important thing is that people who are living with HIV/AIDS should be treated with compassion and respect. It doesn’t matter how they got the disease. We all make mistakes but if we are lucky we don’t pay for them with our lives.

In an effort to help educate young kids about this disease – and possibly their parents too, I wrote a story book for children – Sibo Thinks Positively.  This book has been digitized and is available for downloading (free of charge) on Sibo’s website just for World Aids Day – 1st December 2011.

(And now again on 1st December 2012.)


Sibo and the Veggie Bed celebrate World Food Day

16th October is World Food Day and we had an event on facebook. People could visit the Sibo website , click on the cover of the veggie book and read it digitally. Of course, if they liked the book they could always contact Lets Look Publishers and order their very own copy to read and reread (a whole R50 plus postage!).  Anyway… Ginny was quite impressed – she started out by inviting 53 people and asked those friends to please share the info.  By the time the event happened we had over a thousand people who had been invited. Of course, only 101 of those actually attended the event – but we thought it was marvellous.  Even better – those people came from all over the world!  Just to touch on the business side of things, having this event generated a lot of traffic to my website – over 200 new visitors in the space of a few days. And they didn’t just read the book either… they went poking around and discovered all the other cool stuff on the website. Worksheets, Activity sheets, colouring pages, the song from the TV show – Sibo and Friends… yip – there’s lots of stuff to download for free.

We always just see books – all ready written, waiting to be read. But… have you ever wondered just how it is that they come to be written?

Read on…

One day Ginny was browsing through the Saturday newspaper. She saw an article from the Food Gardens Foundation about how to make a veggie bed the size of a door. It gave step by step instructions.

Cool! She thought. It would make a great Sibo book.  So she sat down and wrote the text. Okay – it probably did not happen quite as simply as that, but pretty much.  When she had finished the first draft she sent the story off to Uncle Pete the Publisher at Lets Look to see if he would be interested in it. Remember – it was only her second book.  Of course, Ginny being Ginny, it was not exactly the same as the first one – layout wise.

Uncle Pete gently told Ginny that perhaps we should keep the same format.  Hmmm…. Think that meant that she had to write a few more pages.

She then sent the story off to the Food Gardens Foundation to see what they thought of the whole idea, and to ask if she could acknowledge them in the back of the book.  The kind lady in charge thought it was a great idea and actually fixed the few glitches in rhyme! (That has never happened since I might add.)

Another reason for wanting to write this book was because Chris (Ginny’s lovely husband) was in the process of making a veggie bed in their back garden.

It turned out to be many veggie beds actually.

The brand new veggie garden.

It was a longish, slow process because the ground was hard and most of the rubble from the swimming pool had been dumped there.  Poor Ernest, the gardener, really had his work cut out for him. They all slogged on the project.

The veggie bed started out without a fence. Chris laid it all out nicely – right down to the paving stones. He lovingly planted all the veggie seeds that he fancied and some herbs for Ginny.  No half grown seedlings for him – they had to grow from scratch.

His mom lives on a farm in Barclay East and she has a wonderful veggie garden. She gave him some little strawberry plants from the farm.

They did not bargain on Zed – the basset hound. Zed discovered the veggie garden – particularly the radishes and the strawberries and thought they were just delicious. He would delicately pinch the green stem of the radish between his fangs and gently pull it up. Then he shook the soil off it and  chomped it.

Zed the radish chomper

The strawberries were much easier to polish off – they were ripe for the picking… and pick them he did. All of them. To begin with Chris accused the rest of the family of scarfing his berries and leaving none for him. They all vigorously proclaimed their innocence.  Then one day photographic evidence was procured!  

Strawberry thief!

The only way to keep Zed from devouring all the veggies was to fence off the veggie garden. Zed was most displeased. Luckily Skunk was not as crazy about greens because he was well able to hop over the fence. He had better manners than Zedboy did though.

The whole family (excluding Zed of course) loved popping into the garden to harvest veggies for dinner or a snack. They taste better than shop-bought ones.

Think Chris might be a farmer instead of a physicist at heart.

Hard lessons were learned too. In Springs, in the winter time, any veggies left in the garden become frozen vegetables. These are not exactly edible either. 

But spring rolled around again and a new batch was planted.

They’ve moved to Pretoria now, and their garden is too small to plant veggies. Ginny has flowers instead.

I hope that you enjoyed reading “Sibo and the Veggie Bed” as much as Ginny enjoyed writing it. 

Get your mom to give you a small patch of ground in the garden, or a pot, bucket, or anything to plant in and grow your own veggies.

It’s such fun to eat your own food.


Sibo loves being at the Limpopo Science Education Centre

A month or so ago Auntie Annelise Potgieter from the Limpopo Science Education Centre gave Ginny a call. She wanted to know if she could use pictures of me – Sibo – on her reading nook at the new science centre.

Of course she could. What a question!

I mean – know I’m a regular little cutie and all, but still, we were very impressed that she wanted to have pictures of me in her brand new science centre.

To be honest, we thought that it would probably be some A3 blow-ups… maybe laminated… or something similar.

Hah! Were we so very  wrong. Wronger than wrong.

One night Ginny was frantically finishing off some work – with the odd procrastination break on Facebook – when she spotted that Uncle Sandile Rikhotso (who works with Auntie Annelise) had posted a picture on her wall.

WOW! We were blown away.

Completely unexpected. Me in glorious Technicolor.  Larger than life. Literally.

And several different versions of me too.

Judge for yourself. ..

Even better – go and pay a visit to the Limpopo Science Education Centre next time you are in the area and see what they are all about.

Thank you very much – I love being part of your gorgeous new science centre.

Seriously cool - the reading nook at Limpopo Science Centre

And this is the info on the other side of me...

PS – Remember you can visit the Sibo Website and download lots of cool stuff to do – like worksheets for the various books and we now have colouring in pictures too.

Seriously cool - the reading nook at Limpopo Science Centre

And this is the info on the other side of me...

See - cool environmental information!

Beaded bottle top flowers

Beaded bottle top flower

Ginny came up with another cool recycling idea a few weeks ago… really pretty decorations for a gift, or the Christmas tree, or you can make a picture out of them.  Sometimes Ginny uses them as hooks to hang things on as well.

You need:
Metal bottle tops
Tin snips / kitchen scissors (definitely not your mom’s best scissors!)
Glass pebbles
Craft glue

How to make them

 Make sure the bottle tops are clean before you start. 

 Work carefully because the metal is sharp and you can easily cut yourself.  (Maybe get an adult to do the cutting for you.)  Make sure that you keep all the little pieces of metal together – Ginny cuts all the bits into a bottle top – see pic below.

Snip bottle top (we usually make five petals but you can make as many as you want). Bend the “petals” down so that you can round off the square edges (this is where you must be careful to keep track of all the little sharp bits).  Remove the middle plastic bit in the bottle top.

Carefully trim the edges of the “petals” to make them roundish.

Fill the centre of the “flower” with craft glue.  Use a glass pebble in the centre and fill the edges with little beads – or with anything else that you think might look pretty (shells, sand, wool)  – go wild and experiment!

Let it dry. It takes a while – like a few days.  In the finished picture you can see a white backing behind the beads; this will go away when the glue dries.

Hey presto – you’ve made a really pretty decoration. Make lots and string them all together, or make a mobile with them. Spray the back (or not), make a hole in one of the petals and attach some fishing line – makes a pretty twinkly Christmas tree decoration. Lauren (Ginny’s daughter) used them as flowers on the tree that she painted in her daughter’s room. Ginny used them in a picture.

Feel free to share photos of your lovely creations on Sibo’s facebook page.

Flower picture

Nifty Beads

Beads made from salt dough, cork slices and plastic coke bottle.

Ginny has made some seriously cool beads in the last few months. They are really easy to make too. Here’s how you make beads out of salt dough…

Making the dough…

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water - mix it to a soft dough.

Remove the mixture from the bowl, put it on a flat surface and knead it for 10 minutes. (Yes I know your arms get tired but you need to do this because it helps to create a good smooth texture of dough.)

Let the dough stand for about 20 minutes before you start working with it.

While your dough is having a rest (you can have one too) you need to cover some baking trays with grease proof paper to put your beads on.

If you don’t use all of the dough at once – you can wrap it in plastic and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Making the beads….

Round beads:  Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll it into a nice round ball in the palm of your hand.  Carefully make a hole in the centre of the bead using a toothpick or something similar. Place on the baking tray. Make more…

Long beads:  Take a small handful of dough and roll it out into a long snake type shape. Cut it into the size of beads that you want. (Cutting sometimes makes the bead a bit flat on one side, so roll it nice and round again.)  Make a hole through the centre. You must make the hole in the centre whilst the dough is still soft – it is very hard once it has dried completely.

You can make beads any shape or size that you want to.

You can either dry them naturally in the air. This is environmentally friendly, but it does take around 48 hours for your beads to dry. Or you can dry them in a very cool oven ~60 degrees Celcius.  (Don’t be tempted to make the oven any hotter – the beads just crack and then they are useless.)

Dough rolled into bead shapes and ready to cook! (Or dry in the air)

To be honest – we dried our beads in the oven because we were in a hurry – this takes about 3 or 4 hours. Make sure that you check on the beads during the process.

We also found that threading the big beads on sosatie sticks and then standing them on corks to dry in the oven worked well, although we did have to turn them so that they did not stick to the sticks (if that makes any sense).  The smaller beads you can thread on toothpicks. This way ensures that the holes in the middle stay open whilst the beads are drying.

Once they are nice and dry you can paint them different colours with craft paint.  Spray paint gives a nice even effect if you are making lots of beads.  When the paint has dried, give them a coat of clear varnish or spray paint to make them nice and glossy and shiny.

Now you are ready to thread your beads.  We use fishing nylon – but you can use anything – wool, twine, leather – whatever you have. We also cut up slices of cork (from wine bottles) and use ironed pieces of round plastic (see the blog on making a cool beaded curtain)  inbetween the big beads.

Go crazy – have fun.


Sibo Rocked at Scifest 2012

Ed and Prudence - our awesome Scifriends.

Ginny and I had great fun at Scifest.  We ran two workshops each day (except for the weekend). Ten  in all – and we did three different workshops – spread out over those ten.

We had 30 children per workshop – littlies – from grades 2 to 5.  Ginny had asked for a couple of Scifriends to help out. We got Ed and Prudence – they were very cool indeed and a great help. In fact, we would have been sunk without them.

Not knowing what age the kids would be at each workshop was a bit dodgy, so it was hard to prepare. The first day, we took a look at the line-up of children and decided to do the skeleton workshop. This is awesome  – you make a whole skelly out of paper, then use split pins to join all the bones up so that the joints move.

Whilst Ginny had done this workshop before – she’d only really done it with big people and so trying it out on 30 little bodies was – as it turned out – quite ambitious. She’d made Sibo badges so that she could designate kids as monitors to help hand out stuff – like rulers and paper and scissors.

All well and good but we forgot that kids doing stuff takes time. We also forget that small people love to say… I can’t do that – will you do it for me? Or Please help me! Or What must I do? – when Ginny had just finished explaining.

Eventually we all got stuck in. The plan was to get the kids to draw their bits and pieces of bones and then cut them out themselves. The adults would then jump in and help out with making holes for the split pins to go through. (Involved the use of rather sharp tools.)

About half way through Ginny realised that we were never ever going to be finished on time.  (This is a big deal at Scifest because educators book various workshops or shows and the kids have to get to them on time.)

Making a box from squares of paper.

She had a little panic attack and then pulled herself together. Designated Prudence to count split pins into the bottle tops so that we’d be ready to start joining them all together.

I tell you – it was hot sweaty work. There was not a lot of space between the tables and chairs and much time was spent ducking, diving and squidging from one spot to the other.

When the designated hour was up, some of the children had to go – so we made little envelopes for the bones and pins and the teacher promised the kids that they could finish making their skeletons in the classroom. The rest of the kids stayed and we made sure that they all left with lovely working skeletons. The great thing about this workshop is that not one of the skeletons ever looks the same.

Pround skeleton makers!

But we’d learnt our lesson – from then on we decided which workshop we were going to do – never mind what age the children were – and were fully prepared when they all descended on the work space.

It’s always a challenge, when one does workshops aimed at different ages, to figure out what level to pitch at. You don’t want to make them too easy and then the kids are finished choof chaf and get bored. But then again, you don’t want to make them too hard and they don’t get finished in time either. Ginny has this strict policy – no kid ever leaves the workshop without having a working “thing” – in this case it was a skeleton, box or flexagon – all made from paper.

We also discovered that a lot of children (of varied ages) simply cannot fold nicely or cut neatly. This was a bit disconcerting when most of the workshops required these basic skills.  The flexagon and skeleton required much help, whereas the box was a bit simpler and less fiddly. Plus there were always a couple of smarty pants kids who grasped the concept and finished their box quickly – then they were tasked to help their friends.

These worksheets are all available on Sibo’s Website. You are welcome to download them and try them out – either at home, or in your class room. Remember that you can use old magazines or paper to make the boxes – as long as the pieces are square.  Be warned though – if you do the skeleton workshop – allow for at least two hours in a classroom. You can use staples instead of split pins. (These are expensive and often hard to come by – especially in South Africa. We used smaller pins that are used in scrapbooking – they worked very well.)

Tie-dying is fun!

Whenever she can, Ginny likes to make her presents and last Christmas (okay – it was only a few weeks ago) she decided to have a bash at tie-dying.  

Don’t know what tie-dying is… we’ll show you.

It’s great fun and really easy.  Ginny tie-dyed new pillow cases, because she was going to use them as gifts, but you can also use old pillowcases, revamp t-shirts, turn old sheets into stunning new ones (or use them as table clothes) and you can fix clothes that get messed up with grass stains – like Ginny did after Luan slid around in the muddy river in his white shorts!

What you need:

Item that you want to tie-dye (maybe try using something old the first time, to experiment with – until you know what you are doing)
Fabric paint
old plastic cool drink bottles (350 ml) plus extra lids
old plastic container (
margarine containers work well because they have corners which makes pouring easier)
elastic bands (medium sized)
black plastic garbage bag (or a green one, or a blue one…)
4 stones (or something heavy to anchor the bag on the grass)

Black bag laid out on the grass - aka your working surface

Make sure you are wearing old clothes, or an apron – you don’t want to get paint splodges on your good clothes.

Step 1: First things first – sort your paint out.   Decide what colours you want to use. You usually need at least 3 different colours when tie-dying to create a good effect.

Take a few teaspoonful’s of one colour and put it in the plastic container.  Add some water (about half a glass) and mix it up gently. When the paint has more or less dissolved into the water, carefully pour it into one of the plastic bottles. If there is still some paint left in the bottom of the container – add a bit more water, swish it around and add it to the paint in the bottle.  Put the lid back onto the bottle and shake it well.

Bottles of paints and lids

Wash the container and tea-spoon well (you don’t want to start mixing your colours now already). Follow the same process for the rest of the colours. Each colour must be in its own plastic bottle.

Take the extra lids and make little holes in them (like the top of a watering can) you can do this by using a compass point or a nail and a hammer. Once you have shaken up your paint bottles well , replace the lids with the ones with holes in them

Step 2: Almost getting to the fun part… take the item that you are planning on painting,  grab a small portion of the fabric and wrap an elastic band tightly around it. Do this many times. You can either take a small bit, or are larger bit – depending on how big you want your circles to be on your fabric. (Check out the pics if you are not sure what to do.)

Once your whole piece of fabric looks like a wonky hedgehog, you are almost ready to start tie-dying.

Step 3: Do this outside on the grass – if you can, near a washing line.  Lay your black bag down and anchor each corner with something heavy to stop it flapping around.  Put your fabric item in the middle of it.  Sprinkle one colour all over the fabric (both sides). Moosh it in with your fingers a bit (told you this was the fun part). Then sprinkle another colour on certain parts.  Do the same thing with the third colour, and so on until your fabric is all covered with paint. Smoosh it around the black bag to mop up any extra paint. 

wonky hedgehog hanging on the line...

Step 4: Hang your item up on a washing line, or drape it over a fence or a bucket or something.  It needs to get dry.  (And don’t even think about taking out the elastic bands until it is totally dry.)

Wash your hands with soap immediately.  Sorry – but sometimes you do get paint in your nails that stays for a day or two – so if this is going to bother you rather use plastic gloves.

Replace the holey bottle caps with the whole ones. This way the bottle is sealed and if you have not used up all the paint – you can save it and use it another time. Don’t throw the holey caps away – wash them and save them for next time too.  Fold up the black bag when it’s dry – if it’s full of paint you may want to wash it too, or throw it away if it’s really messy, but usually we just recycle them back into the kitchen drawer.

Step 5: Once your fabric is dry, you can then remove the elastic bands – do it carefully because you can use them again.  You may find that you need to hang it back up on the line to dry where the elastic bands have been.

Step 6: Stand in front of the washing line and admire your gorgeous piece of art. Call your family and get them to admire it too.

Luan's revamped white shorts that he had ruined with mud and grass stains!

Step 7: When it is totally dry, you need to iron the fabric (on the wrong side) to set the paint, so that it does not wash out or fade. 

Have fun.