Tie-dye may have peaked as a cultural marker in the 1960s and 70s, but there are actually written references to similar “tie-and-dyed” techniques as far back as 1909, and this hippy-dippy artform still remains popular today. In its heyday, these homebrewed countercultural statements involved boxes of powdered dye, something called soda ash, and usually the family washing machine. The original process hasn’t changed much, except that you can now get everything you need sold as a kit rather than scavenging the various ingredients from drugstore shelves. If you or the kids are interested in this far-out fashion style, here are a few ways to get started.

A prepackaged set will help you stay organized during an otherwise messy endeavor. Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit

Back in the good-old days of lava lamps and blacklight posters, tie-dying even a single tee-shirt was a time-consuming project that usually left its colorful mark on the artist as much as the art. A kit will make it easy to create multiple shirts, bandanas, or whatever turns you on as a medium for alternative expression.

Machine Washable

A liquid option means not having to mess with multiple ingredients. Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit

Using liquid dyes means no more mixing dusty and messy powdered dyes or fooling with soda ash as a fixing agent. Everything you need is in the one-step liquid dye, and most kits are sold with far more colors than you’d ever consider buying individually in powdered form.

Classic Fit and Style

If you want a tie-dyed shirt, but don’t want the mess, you can buy long- and short-sleeved garments already mottled with color. Liher

Like the tie-dye look but don’t care for the hassle? There are plenty of pre-washed pieces for men and women that make it easy to get into the groove without getting your hands dirty. But for the full anti-establishment experience, try using a kit on just about any article of clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, hemp, rayon, or silk. When in doubt, a simple white tee-shirt is a good place to start experimenting.