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How to Tie-Dye Shirts

Tie-Dyeing has been around since the 8th century, where it was commonly used in Japan and Indonesia as a creative and colorful method of decorating apparel. Today, it's easy to tie-dye your own shirts right at home. To begin, you'll need high quality t-shirt dye, which you can find at most craft stores, a plain white cotton t-shirt, and something to tie shirts with: rubber bands work great, but you can also use yarn, twine, or even thicker material like ribbon for a different look.

To begin, twist or roll the shirt up in a creative way, whichever way you choose. You can roll the shirt from top to bottom if you're looking for a striped finish, or you can try pinching the shirt in the center and twist it into a pinwheel shape for a spiral finish. Once your shirt is rolled, use the rubber bands or yarn to tie the shirt firmly, so it doesn't come loose during the dyeing process. The tying material also blocks the dye from that portion of the shirt, which gives you the white line effect on the finished product.

Now it's time to add the dye. There are several ways to do this. You can dip the shirt in a prepared solution of dye if you want to use only one or two dye colors. If you want a more colorful shirt, you can put mixed dye in different squeeze bottles and apply the dye directly to the shirt in different areas. Remember, though, if you are using the squeeze bottle method, to thoroughly soak the shirt with the dye solution, so that the inside parts of your shirt are not left white.

Once your shirt is soaked with your dye solution, keep it tightly bound together and allow it to air dry. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process if you desire. Once your shirt has fully dried, you can remove the rubber bands or twine and unroll the shirt to see your finished product. Experiment with different twisting and rolling patterns for different finished products, and remember to rinse your dyed shirt in cold water and dry again before wearing it to prevent the dye from bleeding onto your skin.

What to Do With Old T-Shirts

Do you have an excess of old t-shirts lying around? Here are some craft ideas and uses for those old garments, so that they stop taking up space in your drawers and find new life with a new purpose!

 

You can make a braided rug by cutting t-shirts into long, vertical strips and braiding them together to form one long braided rope. Begin at one end of the rope and roll it into a spiral shape, using a needle and thread to periodically tack the fabric together so it doesn't unravel. Speaking of cutting t-shirts into strips, you can always cut t-shirts up to make disposable rags, which are perfect for tough cleanup jobs around the house where paper towels simply won't cut it.

Cutting the sleeves of old t-shirts into thin circular strips and applying light pressure to stretch them will create fun, multi-colored bracelets that you can double up or layer to create a grungy look. You can also cut the same thin circular strips from the body of your t-shirt, stretch them, and string them with beads to make an organic-looking necklace.

One great way to use up old t-shirts while preserving memories is to make a t-shirt patchwork quilt. Find t-shirts with interesting printed logos that remind you of concerts, vacations, or school activities. Cut the design out of the front of the shirt into a square shape using a pre-cut pattern. Stitch the squares together, and then sew them onto a large piece of flannel or jersey fabric for a fun, memory-preserving blanket.

How to Fold Shirts

Folding a t-shirt correctly is a simple way to save space and get organized. There are many ways to fold t-shirts, but one of the simplest is to start by laying the shirt front side down in front of you, with the collar farthest away and the bottom hem nearest you. Divide the shirt mentally into thirds, and fold each sleeve (and part of the body) inward so that they meet in the middle. Fold the bottom third of the shirt up so it aligns with the edge of the sleeves, and then fold the top third of the shirt on top of that. You should be left with a smooth, flat, rectangular shape that can be easily stacked in a drawer.

How to Pack Dress Shirts

Packing a dress shirt so that it doesn't get wrinkled is very important for a frequent traveler. Many travelers who need quick access to unwrinkled dress shirts will choose to hang them in a garment bag, but this isn't always feasible. The trick is to fold the shirt with as few creases as possible.

 

Start by folding the shirt vertically down the center, so that the sleeves line up and there is one smooth crease down the back. Fold the sleeves back over themselves so they line up with the body of the shirt. You can now lay the shirt flat in your suitcase, or (if it doesn't quite fit) fold it again lengthwise. When you arrive at your destination, be sure to unpack and hang your dress shirts to allow the creases to relax.

How to Wash Dress Shirts

Dress shirts should be washed according to the manufacturer's instructions because shirts of different materials may need to be treated in different ways. A good rule of thumb for delicate dress shirts, however, is to wash them with cold water (be sure that the rinse water is set to cold, too), and then either tumble-dry them on a low heat setting, or hang them to air dry.

How to Shrink Shirts

If you have a shirt that is slightly too large, you may be able to shrink it slightly if it's made of cotton or is a polyester/cotton blend. Cotton shrinks with the introduction of heat, so wash the shirt with warm or hot water and then dry them at the highest heat setting possible. Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions on the shirt tag, as some shirt fabrics like rayon can be scorched at high heat.

How to Get Deodorant Stains Out of Shirts

If your shirts have stubborn deodorant stains that haven't disappeared after a normal wash cycle, it may be necessary for a more aggressive treatment. A mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water can lift most deodorant stains. Stains that are really embedded into the shirt fabric may need to be scrubbed out with a paste of baking soda and water.

How to Get Yellow Stains Out of White Shirts

Yellow stains on white shirts are a problematic result of substances naturally found in human sweat. If you've got a white shirt that appears to be ruined by the presence of a yellow underarm stain, you can easily remove the stain by soaking the shirt in a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. After the shirt has soaked for approximately 15 minutes, rinse the garment under a stream of cool water, using your fingers to gently work the stain out of the fabric. Then, wash your shirt normally, according to the printed instructions on the tag.

 

If this doesn't work, you might have a particularly tough stain on your hands. You can remove tough yellow stains by mixing dish detergent with hydrogen peroxide. Use 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part dish soap to begin, and soak the shirt in this solution for up to an hour. Once the shirt has soaked, use your hands to gently rub the fabric around the stain, which should help to break up the residual proteins. If the stain isn't yielding after an hour's soaking, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of baking soda directly on the stain and use it as an abrasive rubbing agent to help loosen the stain from the shirt fibers. Rinse and wash your shirt like normal, and you should see it return to a bright, new white.

How to Remove Sweat Stains From Colored Shirts

White shirts show yellow sweat stains most easily, but even colored shirts can start to show the effects of sweaty underarms over time. Thankfully, the best way to remove sweat stains from colored shirts is a simple one. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, and soak the shirt in the solution for approximately 15 minutes. After soaking, rinse the vinegar mixture out of the shirt by running it under cold water and use your hands to gently rub the stain out of the shirt fibers.
With colored shirts, it is very important to then wash the shirt with like-colored fabric according to the care instructions on the inside tag of your shirt. Mixing shirt colors can cause bleeding or fading, which shortens the life of your shirt.