This idea was a long time in the making. I actually first thought of this last fall... I thought, Gee it would be nice to have a fall-themed shirt to wear to fall events, such as Trunk or Treat at our church, HallZOOween at the Zoo, etc. But then I got too busy and didn't get around to making one. My original thought was to buy 3 similar shirts in orange, yellow, and white, and then cut them up and sew them back together to make one shirt. But while I can sew, it's not my strong point, and I came up with this idea instead which seemed much easier (not to mention cheaper).
This was not my first experience using fabric dye (see some of my other projects here and here). But it was my first experience with dip-dying. The only difference is that you have to be creative and find a way to hang the shirt in a way that only the part you want dyed hangs down in the dye bath.
Here is what I started out with:
One $6 cotton shirt and 2 $2.29 boxes of fabric dye in yellow and orange. That's a total cost of $10.58, which is much better than $18 (what my original idea would have costed).
You will also need a plastic container larger than 3 gallons, plastic gloves, salt, and a large spoon that you can designate for projects such as these. It helps to have several large disposable plastic containers. I used gallon jugs.
Start by placing your large plastic container in a utility sink or other area that you don't mind getting dirty or possibly dying another color. Add 1 cup of salt and the yellow dye packet to the gallon jug. Then add 4 cups of very hot water and mix well. Add to the large plastic container. Then add 2 more gallons of very hot tap water. Use the spoon and mix well.
Hang your shirt so that the bottom 2/3 hangs in the dye bath. (Don't mind my icky basement sink).
Use the spoon to stir the dye bath. Try to keep the fabric moving around as much as possible so that it dyes evenly. After 10 minutes, remove the shirt and dump out the dye bath. Put on your rubber gloves and rinse the shirt out until the water runs clear. Be careful only to rinse the part of the shirt that has been dyed, otherwise you may accidentally dye the top part of the shirt too. Once the shirt has been rinsed thoroughly, run it through the washer on regular cycle with warm water.
Then, you are going to repeat the steps to create the second dye bath with the orange dye. Mix the dye up the same way, with 1 cup of salt and 4 cups of hot water, and add 2 more gallons of hot water. This time, hang your shirt so that the bottom 1/3 hangs in the dye bath.
Again, stir the dye bath to keep the fabric moving. This time, you will need to keep the shirt in the dye for 30 minutes. Then, dump out the dye bath and rinse the shirt until the water runs clear.
Then you will need to wash the shirt again. To avoid bleeding the orange dye onto the rest of your shirt, hang your shirt so only the bottom 1/3 hangs in the washer. Let it hang that way until your washer requires you to close it to go any further. Then take it off the hanger and let the washer run through the cycle.
Hang up your shirt to dry. You are now done. What a cute shirt to wear to trick or treat, apple picking, hayrides, etc! You can also use this same technique on a child's shirt or dress. My only problem is I accidentally bought a shirt that was at least one size too big. Whoops. Oh well, better too big than too small.