Dye a Shirt With Veggies and Fruits

Stain a shirt on purpose! With a few simple materials, you can turn edibles into safe, beautiful fabric dyes right in your own kitchen.

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Try a Unique Twist

Add extra interest to your natural dyeing project by using a tie-dye technique. Fold and/or roll your shirt, then wrap it tightly with rubber bands every inch or two along its length. Thick rubber bands, like those used for produce, are best, but thin ones can work, too. The parts of the shirt covered by the rubber bands will absorb little or no dye, so for the clearest pattern on your finished shirt, wrap the rubber bands as closely as possible (even overlap them, if you can). If there's printing on the rubber bands, try to keep the printed side out, so the ink doesn't rub off on the fabric.

Add the rubber-banded shirt to the dye bath and make sure it's completely covered. In a strong dye, such as turmeric or any berry, a 15- to 30-minute soak should be enough to create a pattern; in weaker dyes, let it sit anywhere from an hour to overnight. Remove the shirt and squeeze out the excess liquid. Take off the rubber bands, shake out the shirt and let it dry. Rinse it thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear, then hang the shirt to dry or toss it in the dryer.

Wash With Care

Treat your finished shirts gently: Wash them individually in cold water, with a mild detergent, and don't hang them in direct sun to dry.

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