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Happy Fourth!

2012 July 5
by Becky

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We are living it up here in Western Nebraska—Ethan is having a blast with “Ga-ga” and “Ga-ga” (Grandma & Grandpa) while Stu and I enjoy a little help in the following-Ethan-around department. We’ve been to the pool, examined the Guineas (more on those later), found sticks, played in the hose, attended a party, pet kitties, and climbed on everything at the farm. And we’ve been her just over 24 hours. Whew!

Then last night, to celebrate the Fourth of July, we headed to the annual bash held by the Glenns. Somehow the weather cooled off a little and we weren’t sweating ourselves to death, making it a beautiful evening.

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Like Ethan’s shirt? I made it! I of course found inspiration on Pintrest…the perfect not-to-over-the-top-but-still-patriotic design was pinned Driven By Design blog. When I saw the simple flag-esque t-shirt idea, I knew it was what I’d been looking for. It dealt with fabric dye and paint—two things I know very little about. Deciding this would be a good way to learn, I dove in head first. But I documented my steps in detail so someone else out there can save themselves some time/stress/trail and error. Here’s what I used:

  • White undershirt from Carters (couldn’t find a 2T or smaller plain white shirt anywhere else!)
  • 1 bottle of RIT dye in “Royal Blue” (it’s all they had at Michael’s)
  • 1 small bottle of Tulip “Christmas Red” Metallics fabric paint (again, all they had…didn’t notice the metallics till later)
  • paint brush
  • large bowl
  • water
  • painters tape
  • cardboard for painting shirt

I started by filling a large bowl with hot (just as hot as the tap would go) water and pouring about half the bottle of dye in. Then I just held the shirt upside-down, held my breath, and dunked.

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I stopped at about chest level, trying to make a straight line of dye. I kept dunking, in and out, to agitate the water (the directions said to constantly stir, but that wouldn’t work since I was only dying half the shirt), for a few—like three— minutes (not the 30-60 recommended). When I thought I had some good color, I rinsed the shirt, upside-down so as not to get dye on the white part, until the water ran clear. It was then that I noticed my line was not straight. So back into the dye I went for a few more dips, fixing the line in the process.

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I rinsed again, upside-down, until the water ran clear. Then, because I wanted the color to “fade” into the white, I rinsed the shirt right-side-up, spraying along the edge of the color. The white was all dyed a very slight blue, which I was OK with…it all looked very purposeful and organic.

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After I felt the dye was all rinsed out, I let the shirt dry completely on an old towel. The blue lightened up and was the perfect “patriotic” blue. I did not make it through this project without dying all of the fingers on my right hand…

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Guess I should have read ALL the instructions.

It only took two days or so for the blue to fade. Be smarter than me…wear gloves.

Anyway, on to paint. I’m not going to lie, I spent WAYYYYYY too much time getting my red lines marked out. There was some Photoshopping involved to see where I thought they looked best. This was not time well spent, but my neurotic brain couldn’t move forward without seeing all the options. My tip: just start taping and painting…I promise it will be cute. Be sure to put your cardboard inside the shirt for stability and to prevent bleed-through.

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The accidentally-purchased-due-to-Michael’s-poor-selection metallic paint actually turned out really great…you can hardly tell it’s slightly sparkly. It actually added kind of a nice touch!

So that’s it. Apparently the shirt will be washable after 72 hours (according to the Tulip fabric paint instructions). And look how cute it turned out!

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It doesn’t scream “American Flag!!!” but definitely fit the holiday spirit. I’d say the whole thing cost me maybe $10, but probably a little less when you figure I only used 1/2 the dye and about 1/16 of the fabric dye.

My Little Man was quite a hit—the bandana (drool catcher) really put things over the top on the adorableness-scale. He played and walked until he could hardly stand up anymore, passing out before fireworks even began…good thing, cause he’s pretty terrified of them.

Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday! And if you have a Fourth of July craft, please share!!!

4 Responses
  1. Linda Johnson permalink
    July 5, 2012

    I’m so glad your having a great time in Scottsbluff.
    Ethan looked adorable in his handmade 4th of July shirt. I especially thought my son looked good!!

    Enjoy the wedding and TRY to keep cool

  2. July 5, 2012

    Ahhh, I didn’t even recognize Ethan, he just looks like a little man suddenly!

    You are so funny with your perfect blue line, I would’ve been so lazy and just let it be wonky.

  3. July 7, 2012

    Yay! It turned out soooo cute! I love his little bandana! He’s such a handsome little guy.

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