I am not sure who realized that Sharpie Markers were soluble in rubbing alcohol, nor am I sure who first thought to put this to use designing a shirt - but shoot are we glad they did because this is so much fun!!!!
S is starting her second year of preschool in another week, so we thought we'd make some fun new shirts for her to wear. I went to Target and bought a handful of random white shirts that I found on clearance. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to find several for around $4 each! Awesome!
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Next I set S up with some Sharpie Markers and a shirt that was ready to be decorated! I saw this tip somewhere on Pinterest, and forgot to pin it - so I'm not sure who to credit - but it really is a fabulous tip. If you stretch the shirt over cardboard and pull it taut using clips, it makes it MUCH easier to draw on. There was still a little slipping of the material, of course, but way less than any other method I've tried so far.
S decided to do a crazy pattern all over, and then ultimately to draw a cat face toward the bottom. Isn't he SO cute? I love that cat.
Once she felt she was done decorating with the Sharpie Markers, it was time to give her a plastic eyedropper and some rubbing alcohol. She wasted no time dispensing the rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol - you can find it cheap at a grocery or drugstore) over various parts of her design and we both oohed and aahed over the spreading wave of color!
The cat face in particular was sooooo cool - look at those beautiful spreading colors!
Here's a better view of our set up for the alcohol dripping. I stretched the shirt over a baking dish (an aluminum one that we use for sensory play NOT for cooking - it was $2 at the grocery store) and I lined the inside of the baking dish with paper towels to catch the excess alcohol. I allowed the shirt to dry that way for several hours. The internet consensus seemed to be to iron the shirt for 10 minutes prior to washing to heat set the colors. So I ironed for ten minutes once the shirt was totally dry to the touch.
After ironing, I washed it in our washing machine on cold (by itself to be safe) and dried it in the dryer. We did have a bit of fading - most noticeably the purple and yellow. S didn't mind, but I thought I'd do some digging and see if I could figure out if there was a way to keep it from fading so much.
I found this post from Sun Scholars and we followed her recommendations. With our second shirt, I still ironed, but afterwards I washed it in the washing machine (alone again) on the hottest water setting. It held onto the purples and yellows MUCH better. I suspect that since you've made some of the ink soluble with the rubbing alcohol, no matter what you do - there will be *some* ink lost. But I do think washing it on the hottest setting as an initial treatment is the best course of action. Sun Scholars also recommends using a 100% cotton shirt for the best results. The shirt below was 95% cotton 5% spandex, so your results may be even better if you use a 100% cotton shirt.
S had so much fun designing her own shirts from start to finish. She adores her Sharpie Tie Dye shirts and it was such a cool process. I want her to design a shirt for me next!!!!
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.