Crayons to Dye For
Ever opened the washing machine or dryer and feel like dying because your clothes are covered with melted crayons? I have, several times!! But it's no surprise to me because I have 3 boys that love to put things in their pockets. So, from the experiences, I figured crayons should be put to great use to dye clothes on purpose. This project is great for turning those inexpensive hobby lobby shirts into cute, unique, and awesome little rags for your little ones to wear. Not to mention that you don't have to go out and buy a bunch of different colors of dyes because you most likely already have crayons on hand. I had 3 containers full of crayons and this one shirt didn't even make a dent in the crayon supply. The design possibilities are endless, and you can create anything that your imagination desires with some work. The shirt really just becomes your medium to create your crayon masterpiece.
- A shirt
- Freezer Paper
- Hair Dryer
- Paper Towels
- ExactoKnife/box cutter
- Aluminum Foil or cardboard
- A design to trace or your imagination if you are drawing it (I used a computer to make my design)
- A place to cut the design out ( I used a cutting board)
Prep for Dyeing
The freezer paper has a paper side and a side that is slick or shiny looking. The slick side is the side you want down when you are tracing or drawing your design. So with the paper side up place it on top of your design and trace with your pen or draw from your imagination.
After you have finished tracing or drawing your design then you will place the freezer paper on top of an area where you can cut out the design with an exacto knife. I used a cutting board. If you are doing words like me then make sure to save all those little inner letter pieces so you can keep your letters looking sharp. For example: The inner oval on the "O"s in Poop.
You can also preheat your iron as you get closer to having your design cut out.
After you have it all cut out you will carefully place the freezer paper on top of the shirt where you would like the design to be. Take your hot iron and iron the freezer paper onto the shirt. This makes the freezer paper stick to the shirt and creates a stencil for you. Make sure to remember to iron on the little inner letter pieces as well. After you have it all ironed on you can unplug your iron for now.
Then take a piece of tinfoil or cardboard that is a little bigger than your design and carefully slip it into the inside of the shirt. This keeps the dye from going through to the other side.
Melt Crayons While Coloring
Now you should have your shirt all prepared to start coloring/dyeing it. Turn your hair dryer to low and go nice and slow. If the dryer is set to high then your crayons melt too fast and the edges on your design won't turn out as crisp looking. I made that mistake on my first shirt that I made (pictured in the last step). So you certainly want to take it nice and slow, coloring slow and steady on low dryer setting.
Remember to switch out what colors you would like to use. Color each word so that you can't see any of the shirt but also make sure you don't use too much because you have to eventually take all that wax off at the end of it.
Iron Out the Wax
Turn your iron back on to high heat. Cover the design with a paper towel. Then using the iron you will place it on top of the design. Don't move the iron while doing this, just keep it firmly on top of it. Keep it on there long enough that it would melt the wax. Then lift up the iron and get a fresh paper towel and do it again. Keep doing it until there isn't anymore wax left on the shirt.
After you have all the wax out you will carefully peel off all the freezer paper and you will be left with a nice freshly created design.
You will want to either hand wash or wash cold and then hang to dry to help keep the shirt looking it's best. As you can see from the first shirt I made (pictured here) eventually the design faded over time. It's an easy and inexpensive method of creating unique shirts but unfortunately not the best for everyday wearing and washing. It's the perfect project for those special occasion shirts for Holidays or Birthdays that your child will most likely only wear it a couple of times anyways.
Hope you find this technique helpful and it helps you create some really adorable and fun shirts for your family!! Happy creating!!
NOTE: You can trace, cut, and iron the freezer paper designs you make but use acrylic paint or fabric markers instead of crayons if you would rather have something that would keep for a longer period of time. If you use acrylic paint or fabric markers wait until it dries and iron the design or toss it in the dryer to heat set it before washing.