Start with a plain white t-shirt. Craft stores have good quality t-shirts for cheap. I purchased mine at Jo-Ann's when they had a sale - 4 shirts for $10. I also picked up Rit Dye and Elmer's Gel Glue while I was there. You need to use Elmer's Gel glue for this project. Regular white glue won't work.
The first step is to wash your shirts. I also dried them to make sure no shrinkage occured.
For the images I picked a softball for my sporty daughter and a mandala flower for my artsy daughter. Simply designs work best so in the Google search I added "coloring pages". This gives you a nice crisp design to work with. Print your picture out in the size you want. I printed full size (8 1/2 by 11) for each shirt. For a small child you might want to go a little smaller.
First step is to wet the t-shirt. Since you are working with wet clothes and dye make sure your work area is water proof. You can lay a trash bag flat on your surface to protect it.
I put the picture in one of those clear protective sleeves for binders. This will protect the paper and make sure the glue does not go through to the back of the shirt. Slide the picture inside the sleeve in between the front and back of the shirt. Center it to where you would like the design.
Get out your Elmer's Gel Glue and trace the design.
Let the glue dry for several hours or overnight.
Now to get your dye bath ready. I used an old glass pot in the utility sink in our basement. If you have a large metal pot, that would work also. Remember you are using dye so protect your area. Fill your pot with cold water and add the dye. How much dye you use depends on how dark or light you want the color to be. Carefully take the plastic sleeve out from between the shirt and add your shirt to the dye bath. How long you keep it in the dye bath will also determine the color. I kept each shirt in the bath for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
I also covered the pot because with 3 kitties these are the lessons you learn.
After the hour is up DO NOT rinse the shirt just hang it up to dry. If you do not have a safe place to do this, then lay it flat again on the surface you prepared earlier.
I hung the shirts over our utility sink making sure it would drip dry right into the sink.
Since I am working with two different colors for two different shirts I just repeated the process for the second shirt making sure to rinse the pot very well.
Once both shirts hanging to dry I made sure they were not touching so no colors would bleed on to each other.
Here is a close up of each shirt.
Here are some shirts I made last summer. The lesson I learnt the first time was to use PLASTIC hangers. I used metal hangers the first time and there are a few rust stains on the back of the shirts.
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