DIY Shibori-Style Tie Dye T-Shirt

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
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I'm not embarrassed to admit that eventually all of my white t-shirts turn yellow in the armpit area. Ok, I'm a little embarrassed. Pit stains are nasty. Someone told me they are actually caused by deodorant and not sweat. I don't know if it's true but I choose to believe.

Anyway... once in a while it's a t-shirt or tank top that I don't want to part with. It shouldn't be hard to find basics with just the right fit and weight but it is. So... I tie-dye them. It's cheap, it's easy, and it's really fun. Tie dying is a great activity to do with kids, so I let my son tie up one or two of his stained white undershirts and throw the in the dye. Even a half batch of a small envelope of dye can color several items so feel free to go crazy.

I recently learned that if you fold your garments in certain way and use indigo dye, you can call your tie-dying shibori, which is WAY classier. I didn't have indigo dye but I decided to try one of these fancy Japanese folding techniques anyway. I think it came out pretty cool, don't you? Check out how I did it below.

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Shibori-Style Tie Dyed T-shirt

For this project, you will need:
white t-shirt
fabric dye (I used Tulip Fabric Dye in Royal Blue)
2 4" squares of cardboard*
waxed paper
painter's tape or washi tape
rubber bands

*You are supposed to use pieces of wood. I did not have any scraps of wood laying around. If you do, use those.

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1. In lieu of wood, I wrapped two squares of cardboard in waxed paper and sealed it with painter's tape. Did it work as well? Probably not but the pattern did appear so it's all good.

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2. Fold your tee length-wise accordion-style to form one long strip.

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3. Fold the strip accordion-style to form a square.

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4. Make a t-shirt sandwich with the cardboard or wood on either side.

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5. Secure it all together in a neat little bundle with rubber bands arranged in a grid pattern. Note: Make sure that your rubber bands are tight. Mine were tighter on one side than the other and, not surprisingly, the tight side shows the pattern better.

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6. Mix your dye according to the directions on the packaging.

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7. Dump the t-shirt bundle in the dye and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Then remove the shirt from the dye and let it sit for another half hour. For a darker blue, allow it to sit in the dye for the full 45 minutes.

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8. Rinse in cold water until the water starts to run clear then remove the rubber bands and discard the cardboard. Rinse again, then hand wash, and rinse again. Hang it outside in the sun to dry then throw it in the dryer on high to make sure the dye has really set.

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