Making a T-shirt
  • Hello!

    I am looking into making a t-shirt for a friend as a gift. I'd be looking to paint or dye the better part of a white cotton t-shirt, and I was hoping I could get some tips on the best way to get a shirt that looks good, lasts long, and isn't terribly hard to take care of. I'm particularly interested in using the correct type of dye and techniques to make it last as long as possible.

  • Hi there,

    Best to start off with a 100% cotton tee. Then to dye the shirt you'll want to use Procion MX dye or iDye for natural fibers. Procion MX is best used in a bucket, the iDye is easiest to use in the washing machine. Here are links for the two dyes:
    Either of these dyes will last the life of the shirt - simply wash in cold water with similar colors.

    hope this helps, and don't hesitate to ask more questions.
  • Hi Annette,

    I was hoping to do something a little more detail-oriented. There won't be anything terribly fancy, but I'll probably be using two or three different colors. Would it be reasonable to use a dye like that for a base, or is there a type of paint I could use that would still be as permanent?
  • Hi again,

    Either of the dyes will work well as a base, then if you want to add some detail, depending on just what you are after, any of our paints will work.
    Rather than go over them all here I'd suggest you take a look at the different paints available. I'd start with the Textile Colors:, Lumiere & Neopaque: and Dye-Na-Flow:
    The instructions and galleries will give you an idea of what you can expect from each of the paints. Also, if you can give me an idea of what sort of effect you are looking for I can point you toward the most appropriate paint.

  • I'm mostly looking for a solid color effect, as opaque as possible. One of the main colors I want to use is bright red, and I've heard mixed reviews on some of the red dyes available. I'll also be looking at using outlines. Is Dye-Na-Flow opaque if you don't dilute it very much? If so, how much water would you suggest using?
  • Hi again,

    Dye-Na-Flow is not opaque, it is much more like a dye in its translucency.
    As for adding water, we recommend adding no more than 20% water to paint in order to prevent compromising the paint's ability to fix to the fabric.