Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No More Dyeing

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been putting all my DIY/creative skills to use in creating one-of-a-kind handmade Christmas gifts this year. (Consider this advance warning to those who will receive them...and advance warning to those who will not receive them next year, because this is fun but way more work than I'd planned.) Some gifts turned out great, and I'll share details after Christmas...others were flops and some are still not done yet. So to entertain you with my failures, I give you The Story of The Dyed T-shirt.

I loved this idea when I saw it on Pinterest awhile ago:

It seemed easy enough for a novice to try so I purchased the supplies and tackled the oh-so-fun glue gel. The only experience I have with dyeing was a tye-dye project I did when I was really little...I don't remember details and I certainly hope I never wore whatever I created.

Not to emphasize how cheap I am, but I'm proud: the t-shirt was on clearance for $3.74 at Target, the glue was $1.99 at Michael's and the dye was just a couple of bucks and I planned to use it for lots of things. Awesome. I won't share all the instructions here but if you want to verify that I did it exactly right you can check it out here.

My creation was intended for my sister, who is one of those superwomen who seems able to be everything to everyone...wife, mother, businesswoman, friend - the kind of person who never has enough time for herself. We both love The Lazy Song, so the lyrics on the "lazy day shirt" were intended to create an oversized shirt for those Saturday mornings when she actually gets to relax. (Side note: the shirt only used the words of the chorus of the song, in case you're curious.)

Looking back, this is where the whole thing went wrong. As instructed, I did let the glue dry...and then I let it continue drying for a week. I was busy with work and I had to wait for the glue on the back of the shirt to dry too, so by the time I dunked the lovely, glue-covered fabric into its blue bath the glue on the front had been hanging out for awhile. When it came out of the dye it looked a little odd - the letters on the back were white like they were supposed to be, but the front...well it didn't look like it was cooperating.

Here's a last shot of my attempted creativity waving in the wind before true disaster struck. I still wasn't sure if it would turn out at this point. Good news: you can read the letters. Bad news: they're different colors and the coloring is stronger in some areas than others. After allowing that shirt to stain my garage wall, the sidewalk and all the plants (some would call them weeds, but they're green and they're mine!) an odd shade of blue, I gave up and moved onto the next step: the washer and dryer.

I didn't take a photo at the end for a reason. The washer didn't change the coloring but apparently the glue on the front had soaked so thoroughly into the fabric that repeated baths wouldn't get it out. The dryer took full advantage of the opportunity, and caused the glue to stick together so the shirt looked kind of like an alien being that just might be pulled apart but never repaired.

The t-shirt didn't give its life in vain, though - I learned an important lesson. I am never allowed to use dye. Ever. Seriously, it's like giving permanent markers to a toddler and telling them to sit quietly on the white couch. I made such a mess and my fingernails are still blue, despite using everything I can think of to make them boring again.

Don't be depressed on my behalf, though...after all, my sister already got a wreath that actually did turn out. And there are more crafty presents wrapped under the tree awaiting their debut!


  1. hilarious. pinterest fail! :)

  2. I seem to have a lot of those! They're fun anyway, though. :)

  3. Okay I had to read this like five times because I was both laughing & couldn't read through tears.

    I have to admit that I will probably remember this blog more fondly in 50 years than I would have remembered the shirt - this is definitely a classic 'sister thing' that will be told for years to come.