"Feeling Lucky" T-Shirt Using Dye-Resist Technique

March 1 2016

Using Elmer’s Blue Gel glue as a dye resist is a favorite dyeing technique. It’s fast, inexpensive and there are no limits to what you can write or draw on fabric. This is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt to dye and wear for the holiday.

  • Cotton T-Shirt
  • Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye
  • Computer printed paper with the word "Lucky" to use as a template
  • 4 Gallon Pot
  • Elmer's Blue Gel Glue
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plastic Table Cover
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  1. Cover work area with plastic table cover and have paper towels handy to protect against any possible spills.
  2. Prewash clothing and completely dry. 
  3. Using the Elmer’s Blue Gel glue, write the word “Lucky” on the t-shirt. Freehand works or you can pre-print the word on a sheet of paper to use as a template.  If using a template, place the sheet of paper underneath the top layer of the t-shirt with a magazine underneath for stability. Also, to ensure the glue doesn’t seep through the top layer of the shirt to the back layer, the magazine acts as a barrier between the front and back layer.  *Note: Elmer’s Blue Gel glue works the best as the light blue tint is easy to see during the writing process and it’s completely washable after the final dyeing and rinsing stage.  
  4. The key to success in a glue resist project is to make sure the glue is COMPLETELY DRY before you move to the dye process. If the glue is still wet when you start to dye, it will wash away in the dye bath leaving no resist or only partial resist. Be patient. A hairdryer can be used to speed up the process.
  5. Once completely dry, you can start the dye process. Using a 4 gallon bucket or sink, fill with 3 gallons of hot water and 1/2 bottle of All-Purpose Liquid dye in Kelly Green. Make sure the bottle of dye is well-shaken before pouring into the water. Tip: Have the water hot but not as hot as you might usually do for a dye bath (hot straight out of the kitchen tap works for this project). If the water is too hot, the glue design could start to melt and wash away before you are ready for that to happen).
  6. Soak until the desired color is achieved, stirring occasionally. Be mindful of the glue, you don’t want the glue to rub off or dissolve during this process.
  7. Use Rit Dye Fixative on your freshly dyed garment and let it sit for 20 minutes. Fixative directions available here. Rinse well in cold water until the water runs clear.
  8. Rinse the t-shirt thoroughly with hot water to dissolve the glue. If glue remains, wash gently in warm water with mild detergent.
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