Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Peace, Love, Girl Scouts - Reverse Tie Dye Shirts

With my introduction to Pinterest, the CRAFTY me has come out of hiding and experienced a rebirth of creativity and fun. Now combine Pinterest with an upcoming Girl Scout trip and let's just say I've been humming the Beastie Boys quite a bit lately... "She's Crafty - and she's just my type." Okay, different kind of crafty but any excuse to hum classic Beastie Boys is a good one, right? So, if you are not into crafts, my next few blogs will be a bit boring. But for my kindred crafty spirits, enjoy!


My troop of 5th grade girls decided that uniforms just weren't quite hip for a trip to Savannah. And the t-shirts you are asked to buy are quite pricey. A friend of mine suggested tie dye shirts for our 100 year anniversary visit to the birthplace of Girl Scouts. But I must be honest and say that dye scares me. I picture myself with fingers, hand and 1/2 way up my arm dyed in a array of vibrant colors that are great for shirts but not so much for skin color. After some internet research, I found an amazing YouTube video by an artist called ArJeiEmSi on how to reverse dye a shirt. If you have a moment, check it out.

So, here is the recap of my attempt to recreate this technique. I purchased shirts online that were a forest green. My recommendation after that experience is to make sure that you use the same brand if you buy both adult and youth shirts. My greens were a bit different because my adult shirts were a different brand than the youth.

My husband purchased some Mylar at Blick art store in a large sheet so we could make it any size we wanted. After finding a font we liked, we sketched out a design on white paper. The white paper was then placed under the Mylar and an exacto knife used to cut the patterns out of the Mylar. We had a little fun and used some punches I have from stamping to create extra designs on the edges and in between. Once we had our stencil, we went outside to begin reverse tie dying the shirts. Here was the process:

First we laid out the shirt on a cardboard box. Then the stencil was laid on top. Our stencil had several pieces since our letters required some inserts and so  did our design. Once the stencil was laid out, crunch up the edges of the shirt but not too close to your design.  Then begin spraying. Using a mixture of 1/2 bleach and 1/2 water in a spray bottle (bought from Target for $1), we sprayed several times over the design then around the edges. For a spotty effect, spray slowly the last few sprays so that big drops are released.

Right away you will begin to see the shirt change color. I noticed that our forest green shirts left a brownish/red bleach spot while our lighter green shirts were more white/pink. So, in other words, think about the colors that went into the color dye of your shirt originally because those will effect the hue of the bleached area.

After spraying the front, we turned the shirt over and did a Spider twist to create the back design. Once again, we just sprayed the bleach solution. However, on the back, don't be afraid to spray quite a bit with the spider design. Once we unraveled the shirt, we sprayed a bit more creating a splattered look on top.

After letting the shirt dry just a bit (don't let it sit too long), we submerged it in a solution of vinegar and water to neutralize the bleach. I let the shirts soak for about 45 minutes to an hour, but some sites recommend longer. Be sure to rinse the shirts in plain water before washing. And here is the finished product.

Let's just hope the girls think they are as cute as I do!

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