Why waste money trying to find what you’re looking for in stores when you can learn how to make T-shirts at home? There are so many ways to turn old T-shirts and cut up sweatshirts into decorated, stunning T-shirts, each with a unique pattern that you designed and brought to life in the colors of your choice. You may have heard of bleaching T-shirts or dyeing them for a brand new look. But how about making T-shirts with unique dyeing techniques? Here are a few to inspire your imagination and help you make T-shirts at home that look like designer garments.
To make T-shirts at home you will need:
- Old T-shirt or a plain T-shirt from a craft store
- White school glue
- Empty spray bottles
- RIT clothes dye in the colors of your choice
- Decorative sponges
- Disposable plastic bowls
- Rubber gloves
- Large plastic bag
- Home printer that supports iron on transfer
- Make T-shirts at home with batik patterns. Batik refers to a selective dyeing process where a portion of the fabric is protected by wax and prevented from absorbing color. You can make T-shirts at home with stunning batik patterns using glue instead of wax. Begin squirting out glue to create a drawing or a symbol on your plain T-shirt, like a peace sign or a smiley. Let the glue dry and in the meantime prepare your clothes dye. Each packet of RIT dye comes with diluting instructions on the back. Follow these instructions to dilute at least two packets and pour the liquid dye into empty spray bottles. Make your T-shirt dual-toned or multi-toned, just as you please, with the spray patterns overlapping. Leave the dye to soak overnight, and on the next day soak the shirt in cold water to loosen the glue. Once you peel the glue off, the pattern you drew will stand out in the original shirt color surrounded by the spray painted colors. Finish making your T-shirt at home by washing it in warm water and mild detergent.
- Make T-shirts at home with sponge painting or stamping. Sponge painting is another great way to make T-shirts. Your local craft store will have sponges in a variety of designs, from letters for crafting word messages to nature motifs like vines or trees, or fantasy shapes like dragons and skulls. Mix RIT clothes dye in disposable plastic bowls, then dip each sponge in the dye and stamp your T-shirt. If you don’t wish the color to seep to the opposite side of the fabric, first insulate the front and back of the shirt with a large plastic bag. Permit the dye to seep into the fibers overnight, then wash the shirt in warm water and mild detergent. You can also make T-shirts at home using the same technique with stamps instead of sponges. You can even use the leaves of a fern to create a charming leafy pattern on your T-shirt.
- Make T-shirts at home with Iron On Transfers. A more technologically sophisticated way to make T-shirts at home trades traditional dyeing techniques for modern iron on transfer. Check the manual of your printer (or go online to read the manufacturer’s specification sheet) to determine whether your printer can produce images that can be transferred onto fabric through the heat of an iron. If so, make T-shirts at home with photos of family members, nature photos, or your own creations on graphic software. To make T-shirts at home that look store-bought, be sure to follow the printer’s guidelines for the appropriate heat and ironing time required to transfer the ink image flawlessly and permanently onto the T-shirts.
Always wear rubber gloves when you make T-shirts. If clothes dye still stains your skin, use nail polish remover but expect dye that seeps around fingernails to take a few days to come off.