My son, who is officially four-and-a-half years old today, loves colors and enjoys wearing a variety of colors. He was quite annoyed last fall when we went shopping for new socks and found that the choices offered were white, white with gray toes, black (but only thin dress socks), brown (same), and a variety pack of white, brown, navy, and olive–“Why don’t they have any nice colors?!” I told him my college roommate Kevin‘s axiom that in male fashion, your socks should match your teeth, and Nicholas grudgingly agreed to the 10-pack of white socks. At least they turned out to be comfortable socks.
Then some friends invited us to a tie-dyeing party! Nicholas immediately said, “I will dye all my socks!” We packed all the white socks that were clean at the time, which was 11 pairs, so he still has a few white pairs that were in the laundry.
I thought about actually tie-dyeing all of the socks. Not only would that have involved a lot of tying (which Nicholas quickly decided he wanted me to do because it was too difficult for him) but I figured solid-colored socks are useful, too. So, we made 5 pairs each a different solid color by spreading them flat on a plastic tray and simply squirting dye on them until they were saturated. The color isn’t perfectly even, but it looks nice and has held up well these past 8 months. [UPDATE: Almost all of them still look good more than 2 years later!]
For the tie-dyed socks, I tied each pair a little differently (I didn’t really know what I was doing and figured we’d just experiment) but we made multiple pairs with the same color scheme. Four pairs are yellow, green, blue, and magenta. Two pairs are green, blue, and turquoise. When they were finished, the two socks that had been tied together looked somewhat different from each other anyway, so they don’t really form pairs–the 8 multicolored socks can be paired any way, as can the 4 blue-scheme socks.
Now my kid has cool socks! He has a colored pair to match almost every color of shirt he owns. He has blue tie-dyed socks to spice up the boring navy-blue pants that males in our culture cannot help acquiring. He has multicolored tie-dyed socks that go with almost everything. He often gets compliments on his socks and can proudly explain that he made them himself.
Unlike T-shirts, which become a storage problem if you go and tie-dye a bunch of them when you already own adequate shirtage, socks are small and affordable. Tie-dyed socks make a much less obtrusively hippie fashion statement than a T-shirt. Shirts of various colors are easy to find, but socks . . . even for females, it’s hard to find a really good variety of sock colors, and colored socks usually cost more than white. Tie-dyeing and solid-dyeing socks works for me!