- Permanent markers, like Sharpies
- Rubbing alcohol
- Eyedropper or squirt bottle with very narrow hole
- Small craft brush (about 1/2 inch)
- Spray bottle (optional, but really can make a cool design and speed things up)
1. Lay your t shirt out flat on a table. Make sure to cover the table with a towel or something in case the marker bleeds through.
2. If you don't want the marker to bleed through the fabric and on to the back side, you should put a plastic garbage bag in between the front and back.
3. Take your markers and begin your design. Remember, the image is going to smear and bleed, so don't make your drawings detailed. Lines, geometric shapes, swirls, zig zags, and so forth.
4. Start in the middle of the shirt and work your way outward, evenly, leaving room between your designs to allow for the bleed effect.
5. When you have finished your design, pour the alcohol in a small cup and start experimenting. Different items create different looks. You can take the eyedropper and drop droplets of alcohol on the designs and it will partially dilute the color and make it run and spread. The more you do this, the colors will run together and cause new colors. You can dip your craft brush into alcohol and swab over the design, and pull it a certain way, make the bleed effect take a certain shape. You can also load the alcohol in a spray bottle and distribute the alcohol that way, but you must be careful, if you use too much, it will destroy the design and it will all run together and make a mess. Use the spray bottle sparingly. I like to use mine around the bottom of the shirt and around the bottom of the sleeves, I think it makes an interesting effect in those areas.
6. Once your get the pattern the way you want it, you must hang the piece up to dry for 24 hours. It is VERY important that you let it dry for the full 24 hours! DO NOT put the item directly into the dryer without letting it air dry for 24 hours first. Alcohol is flammable, and there is a chance that the dryer could set it on fire, if it is not completely dry before you put it in.
7. After 24 hours toss the item in the dryer on medium high heat for 30 to 45 minutes to set the pattern. For best results, hand wash or use a very gentle detergent and dry in a clothes dryer to keep the pattern set.
This is a great craft for kids, it keeps them occupied for a whole afternoon for the price of a plain white t shirt! You can also buy packages of plain white hankies at the dollar store and the kids can make beautiful bandanas. Have fun!
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