Thursday, July 31, 2014

DIY YA: Galaxy Shirts

This project is easy. Like, really easy. Deceptively easy. Even though it looks hard enough that people have asked, "do you really think I'll be able to do that?" (The answer is, of course, yes.)
Here's a close-up of my finished shirt. You can't tell me it isn't awesome, since that would be a lie.
You will need:
* One black t-shirt for each participant
* A spray bottle with a mix of bleach and water (I used half bleach and half water, but it's up to you)
* Fabric paint in various colors, including white (I have seen this done with acrylic paint, but haven't tried it)
* Brushes, sponges, and paper plates to mix paints
* A toothbrush or other small brush (optional, but recommended)

Step One: Preparation
Take your ordinary, boring black shirt, and give it a spritz with bleach solution, making sure to get both front and back of the shirt.  I found it helped to get some areas wetter than others, so you have a pattern of light spots on your shirt, which will be the background of your galaxy.  Let the shirt dry completely - I prepared our shirts the day before painting.  (Optional step: wash and dry your shirt; this keeps the bleach from eating away too much of the fabric.) Be careful not to get any bleach on yourself! I did this outside on the lawn, so we didn't get bleach all over the carpet.

The bleach with react with a black shirt to make it orangey-gray, depending on how much bleach you use.
 Step Two: Painting
Lie your shirt flat on the grass, sidewalk, or other flat-ish surface. (You can put cardboard inside the shirt if you like, but I found that not using cardboard gave the paint more depth, since it wasn't all flat.)  Mix up whatever colors of paint you'd like on your shirt.  We had red, light blue, dark blue, yellow, and glow-in-the-dark, which we mixed to make lovely greens, purples, oranges, and such.

Step Three: Background
Using a brush or sponge, dab paint VERY LIGHTLY on your shirt. You can always paint more, but you can't take paint off, so you want to use a very light touch and paint multiple coats, until you get the colors that you want.  (At least, that's what I did.  One of my teens used a heavier hand, and her shirt looks AMAZING.)
It looks better in person, I swear.
Step Four: Stars
When you have the colors how you want them to be, you can use a small brush or toothbrush to flick small drops of white onto your shirt, for stars. I was able to find white paint in a spray bottle, so we used that instead of flicking paint, which can be messy.
I'm afraid it's hard to see in this photo, but the white stars DO make a difference.
Step Five: After painting
Let your shirt dry for 72 hours, and then turn your shirt inside-out and tumble-dry in your clothes dryer to help the paint set.  Then, wash and wear as desired.
Ta-da! Here's my torso in my finished shirt.

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