More chic than a tie-dye but just as fun to make, this stylish shirt may become the one you reach for every Saturday morning. It's best to dye the sleeves and bottom separately: Roll up the part you're not dyeing into a plastic bag to protect it, and secure with a rubber band. Dye, rinse, and let dry between the two dips.
How to Dip-Dye with Fabric Dye
We used Rit liquid dyes in Denim and Navy (ritdye.com). You can combine colors for custom shades. This technique can be adapted for unfinished wooden items and bamboo blinds (let them dry on paper towels), and paper (let the dye solution cool before dipping paper).
Tools and Materials
Sheer jersey long-sleeve T-shirt, in White, from americanapparel.net
Large plastic storage bin or galvanized-steel bin
All-purpose liquid dye
Sample fabric or paper towel
Synthrapol detergent (optional)
1. Wash and dry fabric to remove any finishes that resist dye. Fill plastic bin with hot water to a depth of at least 6 inches. Stir in dye, starting with a small amount and adding more as desired. Dip a sample strip of fabric or paper towel to test the color. If too dark, add water; if too light, add dye. Let solution settle, so there are no bubbles at the surface.
2. Determine where you want the top of the dyed band to be; use pins to mark that line on fabric. Holding your fabric as straight as possible, dip into dye solution to just below the pin line (make sure you don't dip the pins; the fabric will wick the dye higher). Keep fabric in dye until it turns the desired color (it will dry slightly lighter). Rinse fabric in cold water to remove excess dye until the water runs clear. Hang to dry. If desired, wash item with synthrapol detergent (see Keep it Bright, below).
Keep It Bright
For items you plan to launder, set the colors by washing the finished objects in synthrapol detergent (dharmatrading.com). This concentrated, pH-balanced detergent will keep the dye from bleeding onto undyed parts of the fabric.