Going to Space, BRB

This weekend Taylor, Sym and I DIYed some space shirts!

Space Shirts

We started with plain black organic cotton t-shirts from American Apparel, in small (for Sym), medium (for me) and large (for Taylor). Sym probably would have been better with an extra small but they didn’t have any in the store but if you buy 3 of the same style you get 15% off. Gotta save that nine dollars!

Space Shirts

First we brushed and dripped bleach on them. (we put cardboard inside them to stop it from bleeding through to the backs). Mine is on the left, Taylor’s is in the center and obviously Sym’s is on the right. She used a very light touch with the bleach, I think she just didn’t want to smell it anymore. We let them bleach for a few minutes and then rinsed them out into the washing machine-we did this between each step. It spun them fairly dry so we didn’t have to worry about drying them every time.

Space Shirts

Next they went into a dye bath of wine red dye. Sym left for her dad’s right after so I rinsed and hung hers- she’ll finish it today or tomorrow. Taylor and Sym’s went in plain but I tied a couple elastics around mine.

Space Shirts

After the dyeing we bleach them a second time- Taylor brushed his again while I went with a straight drip-and-splatter approach.

Space Shirts

For the next step I mixed up four batches of dye- scarlet, wine red, royal blue and a purple I cobbled together from the wine red and blue. Again I dripped and Taylor brushed. Afterwards I also added some black to mine to darken up some areas.

Space Shirts
Space Shirts

After the final rinse we left them to dry overnight and then this morning it was time to add some stars! You can just use acrylic paint for this, but I happened to have some white fabric paint (I bought it years ago for project I never did). To do the star s you just dot the paint on in a random pattern- I also did a couple of lens-flarey ones. To set the fabric paint you can iron it on the reverse, or just toss it into the dryer for 20 minutes or so.

Space Shirts

And the finished product! I wore it out today and felt pretty awesome about it. I wasn’t the only one who thought so, as a local street style fashion blogger asked to take our picture.

Space Shirts
Space Shirts

66 Replies to “Going to Space, BRB”

  1. Tanie, this is just too damn awesome!! Totally worth a fashion blog or two. If I don’t do this this Summer, my life will be a waste.

    (btw, that scarf looks so familar…lol).

      1. I want to try this, but I’m afraid that the beautiful shirt will fall apart after a few washings due to being weakened by the bleach. Have you had this happen at all? It’s sooo beautiful!!

      1. Haha, yeah. As the progression of photos went on I was just thinking, “Mine is going to look nothing like hers…”

        I showed my boyfriend and he is only half on board because he thought there were too many steps. 🙁

  2. oh man, i think i am totally going to do this to a tank top for me and the kiddo!!! this is so cool and creative. A+ A+

    1. I just used regular Clorox bleach! Make sure your bleach isn’t colorsafe or colorfast, and the clothes you are trying to bleach have to be 100% cotton- synthetic fibers won’t work well. And remember that black clothes don’t bleach to white, usually they bleach to red/orange. You could try using navy blue clothing instead of black, it bleaches out to light blue or pink!

      1. Wow, thank you so much! I will def. see if that’s available her ein Denmark or online 🙂 Can’t wait to try this out, i’ll make bags of that kind of fabric! 😉

    1. I think they were damp, because you have to wash them beforehand and also between each bleach/dye. I’m sure it would still work if you started with a dry shirt, as long as it had been washed at some point!

  3. I’m in the process of doing this to a black skirt I ironed too hot and ruined. It’s taken me a bit of trial and error – I bleached it and then dyed it, but the dye was too dark and blah blah. I was just debating painting with fabric paint vs dye, but this looks great, I’ll try your method! Thanks for writing it up.

  4. This project literally took my breath away. Was just watching a show last night on some cable channel about space – deep space, and was in awe at how gorgeous it is out there. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this unique idea with everyone, and for free even!! You deserve some angel wings and I think I see the start of a halo coming up from behind your left ear! Just amazing!!

  5. Hi! I love this idea, and I know this is wayyy later than when you actually did the project, but I just found it on pinterest. I saw that you put that your dye is fading when you wash your shirt, and my mom taught me a nifty little thing when washing dyed clothes. Add some vinegar when you wash the dyed clothes, it locks the dye in and they won’t fade. 🙂

  6. Yours came out so gorgeous, but I can’t figure out how. We’ve just tried this, and every time we rinse the dyes out (blue, scarlet and black – we had no problem with the wine bath), they disappear almost completely, leaving an ugly muddy mess. We’ve dyed them while the shirts were damp twice, and once while the shirts were dry, and each time we get the same result. We even used salt and vinegar in the rinses to help set the dye. I have no idea why it worked for you and not us, but I wish I had known before we bought 11 shirts to give as christmas presents. Yikes, now we have nothing to give…

      1. Yeah, we washed the shirts shirts. Dyed them twice while they were still damp, and once while they were dry as a latch ditch effort. The only thing I can think of is the difference in the dyes we used. We used only RIT brand. The wine red dye we used was from a bottle, but the black, scarlet and blue we used the powdered mixes, mixed with water according to the directions. The wine red dye was the only one that actually stuck, the powdered mixes vanished. Did you use only pre-made liquid ones on yours?

          1. Thank you! What store do you get that at? I don’t recall having seen it before. Hopefully I can find some and get it to work and mail these shirts as belated presents. 🙂

            1. I just got it at a drugstore, but I’m in Canada- maybe you don’t have it there? You could also try using fabric or acrylic paint and just thin it a lot so it’s not opaque. I know you can thin acrylic paint with water but I’m not sure about fabric paint.

  7. I did this as a test on an old black tshirt I had. It was cotton and modal. It was fine, but when I went to make the gift one with a 100% cotton one it developed holes before I finished it. I picked it up and out my send inside it to stretch it out and it shredded in all the lightest places. I wasn’t overly generous with the bleach and thoroughly washed at each step. It was a shirt from Kohls…..

  8. I was wondering how long you let the dye sit on your final dye (where you mixed the colors and then added some black) My friend and i did this and for some reason we werent thinking straight and threw them in the wash after like 10-20 mins and ALL of it came out! (not the initial red…but all of the last dying).

    1. Hey Kristine, I can’t exactly remember how long I left the dye on for- the longer the better though, so if you do it again I would leave it for a while.

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