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All scrunched up

I think most people, when their white t-shirts become dingy or stained, either throw them in the washing machine with a bit of bleach, or relegate them to doing duty as rags. Well, I have taken a different approach this time: scrunch dying!

New-ish shirt

The full instructions can be found courtesy of Dharma Trading Company here, but this is roughly what I did:

Scrunch dying

I scrunched up two stained t-shirts and shoved them each in a 16-ounce cup. I mixed up four colors of dye as directed, and poured two in each cup. The instructions indicated that you should have a cup of each color dye, but that was too much for me – I’d be surprised if I used half that before the dye came to the top of the cup.

Scrunch dying

It’s recommended that you let the cups sit overnight, but I didn’t want to wait that long. I figured I would lose something in terms of vibrancy, but I could live with that – pale mottled color is just as pretty as dark mottled color in my book. So, I added the fixer after about 2.5 hours and let it sit for 45 minutes before I dumped everything out of the cups. (I also used much less of the fixer than was recommended – it just didn’t fit in the cup.)

Dyed hands

A word to the wise: when you are wringing the daylights out of your dye-soaked shirts, trying to get the water to run as clear as it can, put on a pair of rubber gloves. I forgot, and my hands are still brownish bluish greenish, three hand-scrubbings and a shower later!

New-ish shirts

Twice through the washing machine, once through the dryer, and voila! Transformed shirts. I don’t think I sacrificed much in my haste – they are still quite vibrant.  The only thing that may have been an issue is dye penetration.  I wonder if I had left them all night, if the dye would have seeped into the folds further and left fewer white areas.  If I were going to do this again, I’d be more careful about coverage.  I would be happier with less white.  Of course, one of the great things about this is that I could just do the process all over again with these same shirts and see what happens – the layering of color could be spectacular!

New-ish shirt

I should mention, when I dye things I am not in the least bit fussy about it. This is one technique where there is beauty in ignoring precision and just throwing it together, and that’s what makes it so appealing to me. I was able to start the dye bath before supper while waiting for my spaghetti water to boil, start the dye “fixing” just before putting the boys to bed, and run the shirts through the wash during the commercials while watching LOST. I just love a craft I don’t have to babysit or fuss over!

23 thoughts on “All scrunched up

  1. I LOVE IT!!….the top one in blue and green (and your accessories)…..WOW….**running off now to go through my drawers!!…. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I made the necklace, but the bracelet is one of the many treasures I picked up at The Barefoot Trading Company on our trip to Ocean City a few weekends ago.

  2. OOOOh, awesome! This looks so apartment-friendly. Must try!

  3. ooooo those are great! I may have to bring out my dye’s and melt some wax and do a take off on those!

  4. I love the shirts! And it’s fantastic how quick and easy you’ve made it seem. Love the combo with the necklace in the first picture too!

    1. It really was so nice and simple. It lends itself beautifully to multi-tasking. I’m thinking of double-dipping one of them, and raiding my drawers for some more less-than-perfect clothes I can attack 🙂

  5. The big question, of course, is did the dye actually cover up the stains or were they missed completely! 😉

    1. What’s funny is that I didn’t even think to look!

  6. Those are awesome! I’m especially coveting the blue-green one b/c I’ve been on a big blue-green kick lately. I’ve never tye dyed anything before b/c I found it intimidating (which is funny b/c if the stoned hippies could do it why can’t I??). But I may give this one a try. I could wrap my growing belly in rainbow-y goodness!

    See what Christie has been blogging about: First soldered pendant

    1. Blue green and brown have been my personal color scheme for the last few years, so I knew I’d have to do a blue/green one!

      Aw, I love growing bellies. Rainbows sound perfect 🙂

  7. Great idea and they came out great. Wasn’t Lost good? Of course they still leave you wondering and guessing. I’m so hooked on it. I sat and knit while it was on so I wouldn’t fall asleep. I’m not liking the later time slot.

    1. I only started watching last year, so some of it is over my head, but I still like it. And the time slot isn’t really a problem for me. I have trouble getting to bed anytime before 11:30!

  8. wow those came out fabulous!

  9. Oh, WOW, Lisa! Those turned out fantastic! There you are, inspiring me again with your craftiness! I’m going to have to steal that idea and the sewing a bag idea and run with them for myself. The necklace and the bracelet work really well with that shirt, too.

  10. Those shirts are soooo cool Lisa! Way easier way of doing it too and I Love how they turned out. My son’s class will be tie dying next week and I’ll suggest this way to his teacher.

  11. Wow! They look fabulous! Thanks for the idea, Lisa! Our old T-shirts will now have a new life! Especially DH’s ones! He’s a specialist of what I call the “T’s curse”, when he’s wearing a white brand new T, you can be sure, it will end as a catastroph, whatever he’s doing!

    See what Mirabilys has been blogging about: Couleurs printanières

  12. They look great! (I’m crazy about blue and green, too, so that one *really* draws my eye.) Now I need to go find some stained tees and dye. . . ;o)

  13. What a fabulous idea, Lisa! I loooove the green and blue T-shirt with your jewelry. Great photo!

  14. I love the blue and green shirt, especially with the jewelry you paired it with.

  15. What fabulous t shirts and what a great idea. No longer will I give my old and yellowed white to shirts to goodwill. I’ll stockpile them for a day of dyeing.

  16. I LOOOOVE Dharma trading. Last year we tried one of their techniques in which we sprinkled the procion directly on the fabric and then immersed it – that was cool, too, along with dyeing then sprinkling salt on the wet fabric (the salt draws the dye in towards itself in little starburst patterns!)

    I have a bunch of shirts with one stain or another that I’ve been setting aside to paint or color – once we have a break from marching band madness (and a sunny day) I should probably do this. Sometimes you forget how fun something is until you see someone else do it!

    1. I’ll have to try that starburst thing – it sounds very cool!

      1. It is! You can buy the salt from dharma, but pretzel salt works just as well. It just has to be chunky enough to suck up moisture – table salt is too fine. Some stores sell coarse kosher salt or sea salt, and that would work, but I think it’s more expensive. (But then, I haven’t calculated gas costs vs. shipping and handling!!!)

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