My 12-year old daughter doesn't get excited over much, but the day the Tidy Dye Station arrived she wanted to take everything out and get started right away (which we didn't do, since it was a week night). Day 1: This is a great, mess free project to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon - my husband was skeptical when I told him we were going to do this in the kitchen - he wanted us to go out to the garage because he feared the mess it would make. The directions for set up are really clear ....my daughter could have done this all by herself.
She chose 3 colors for the headband project. It was easy enough to put the headband on the barrel, but when it came time to wrap the string around the barrel, that's where we had to make this into a team effort. We found that it's hard to keep the string taut while rolling the barrel. Because of this we decided to wing it instead of following the pattern. She guided the string and I rolled the barrel. After this we put the barrel in a bag, as suggested, took the machine apart and put it back in the box. Day 1 was simple and there was no mess to clean up.
Day 2: Since we did day one on a Sunday afternoon, the color did sit for more than 24-hours before being rinsed, since I had to wait for her to get out of school. That whole day all she wanted to do was to get home to see what the headband looked like. Rinsing the headband on the barrel is the easy part, having one person unwrap the string from the headband without making a small mess is another. A second person having a pair of gloves would be ideal to reduce the dye from splattering. We laid the headband on the plastic and left it out overnight to dry. We wiped off any of the excess dye that splattered around the sink with a paper towel. Day 2 was a success, while a bit messy, it was still easier and cleaner than traditional tie dye.
Day 3: She woke up bright and early and the first thing she did was check on her headband, which she thinks turned out AWESOME!
Thoughts: Since my daughter is 12, this would be a great project to do with a friend because there is enough dye in the pods to do multiple projects. I would be comfortable letting them do this without adult supervision since you can't really make a big mess because the color is contained in the strings. Unlike traditional tie dye, there is more white space on the final project. In my opinion, the colors spread, but that could be because we left the dye on the project longer than overnight.
But what matters most is my daughter's opinion. As I said earlier, she doesn't get excited about much (she doesn't look excited in the picture because she doesn't like to have her picture taken), but with the Tidy Dye station she had a great time from start to finish! [This review was collected as part of a promotion.]