Naturally Dyed Shirts

I look pretty terrible in white. My mom gave me a couple of white t-shirts that I really like the fit of, but that have just been sitting in my closet because I don’t like how the color looks on me. After trolling the interwebs, I came up with a no-cost solution. Dye them with what you already have at home! This was super simple and turned out surprisingly well.

Mustafa looks much better in white.  It brings out his gorgeous eyes.

I followed this tutorial as my guideline.

Materials used:

  • White t-shirts
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Cooking pot
  • Half of the spices and tea in my kitchen (pretty sure turmeric is all you really need)
Step 1:  Prepare your fixative/color enhancer (I did a bunch of digging around, and some places said this wasn’t actually a fixative but something to make the fabric more accepting of color).  In a big cooking pot, use four parts cold water and one part vinegar.  Or, yah know, eyeball it.  Throw that on the stove to simmer, and put your t-shirts in.  I just threw my t-shirts in right off the bat.  Leave that in there for a while.  The suggested time is an hour, but you might get distracted by internets, which is fine.
Step 2:  Dump out your mixture and wring out your shirts.  Put some new water in your pot and throw it back on the stove.  Now here comes the fun part: experimenting!  I used a combination of ginger and lemon tea, apple cinnamon tea (which smelled delicious), powdered mustard, red pepper flakes, and turmeric.  I’m pretty sure all of the color just came from the turmeric, and the red pepper flakes stuck to the fabric annoyingly, so I wouldn’t recommend using those.
It turned a seriously bright orange, which was pretty lovely.
Step 3:  Dump it all out and rinse your shirts.
A bunch of different places recommended putting the fabric in the dryer afterwards to help set the color, so you might want to try that…  I skipped it and just washed them right away.  (They smelled appley-cinnamony even after getting washed!)  Washing immediately probably did end up softening the color, mine turned out a soft yellow.  That’s it, you’re done!
I would really like to try this with used coffee grounds or wine.  My basic train of thought on what would dye clothes is “what do you hate to spill on your clothes?”  Another thing I’d like to try is using lemon juice and sunshine as a bleaching method.
I really like my new pastel yellow and black striped T!  I also had fun playing with different patterns for this outfit and played a little dress-up for you.

In a somewhat unrelated note, I’ve been playing a lot more with photo editing software.  I really enjoy using Picasa (made by google) for general fixes and also for fun filtering.  Best part is, it’s free!  Click here if you want to try it.

Here’s some pictures I played around with using the cross-process filter along with some contrasting, color boosting, and a vignette frame:

My little brother is  visiting me for the summer and he’s so awesome, check out those moves!



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