Rocks and Roll Around Liquid Dye T-Shirt

Introduction: Rocks and Roll Around Liquid Dye T-Shirt

About: I enjoy everything

I work with rocks and gems all the time. I wanted to create a t-shirt image using actual rocks from my collection. I like using liquid dyes because of the colors they produce. I thought it would be clever to have the rocks roll around on top of the shirt to create an image.

Therefore, this is what I did. I soaked some rocks in liquid dye and roll them around on a cotton shirt.

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Step 1: Items Used

Rocks (approximately 1 ½ in diameter, with porous textures to retain the liquid dye) 3 rocks – a rock for each dye color used.
Scrub with dish soap and water and rince.  No need to dry.

14 inches outer diameter by ¾ deep closeable hoop (aka Wooden Embroidery Hoop)

White cotton t-shirt

Plastic cups for mixing

Plastic gloves - not shown in this picture.

Various color dyes:  I used liquid dyes three colors Dark Green, Navy Blue, and Scarlet

Hair dryer optional

Step 2: Mount the Shirt on Hoops

I mounted the t-shirt onto the 14 inches outer diameter by ¾ deep closeable hoops (aka Wooden Embroidery Hoop).
I choose to mount the hoops actually inside out on the t-shirt. This is so that the hoops created a well (chamber) for the rocks to roll around in.

Traditional mounting would have the surface flush with the surface.

The one picture shows a rock inside the hoop to illustrate the reverse offset.

Center and tighten the hoop clamp.

Step 3: Rock Selection

I selected three rocks that were approximately 1 ½ in diameter.

These rocks have a porous texture, for which I hope to retain the liquid dye.

3 rocks – a rock for each dye color used.

Scrub with dish soap and water and rince.
No need to dry.

Step 4: Put Rocks in the Cups and Add Dye

Please note: I worked in the garage because the issues of possible flying rocks with dye on them. Wear old cloths.

I put each stone into separate cups with the different color dyes. The three colors were Dark Green, Navy Blue, and Scarlet. Yes; I put my gloves on a little late, but I lucked out and no dyed fingers. I rolled the rocks around in the cups like James Bond to cover with dye. I let all three rocks soak for about 1 minute. I rolled the rocks around again before using them.

I hoped to keep the design in the 14-inch area. My goal was to make it look like I intended to make a design and not a complete
willy-nilly pattern (in a careless and unplanned way).

I lightly set one dye soaked rock in the center of the hoop. I quickly rolled the hoop around to disperse the dye. I did this seperately for all three rocks /  dye colors.

Step 5: The Drying Process

With past experience with dyes - I want them to dry as quickly as possible. Especially with this process, you will get some spots that will stay wetter longer.

These wetter areas tend to come in contact with other things or even bleed into the back of the shirt. Try to keep the front and back separated until completely dry.

Anyway, I used a hair dryer on cool for about 3 minutes. I took the hoops off and slid the shirt onto a poster board.

Step 6: Iron Out the Hoop Wrinkles

After leaving the shirt to dry for over an hour. I used the low heat setting on my iron to take out the hoop wrinkles.

I did not come in contact with the dye.

I have always liked wearing shirts that people ask "what is it".

This shirt opens the door for me to talk about my rocks and this image process.

I also enjoyed talking about all the nice people I have been meeting thru instructables.

Step 7: Care for Image on T-shirt

Wash your image on t-shirt in warm water with mild non-bleaching detergent and then rinse thoroughly in cool water. Machine dry or hang dry.

Always wash your dyed t-shit with similar colors.

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    2 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    To keep the front and back of the T shirt seperate use a piece of stiff card board or even several thickness' of newspaper between the two layers and leave in until completely dry. This will also sop up any excess dye that might still be wet on the back of the shirt so it doesn't stain when you remove from the cardboard.

    Wonder how this would work with a slightly thicker color---like fabric paint and medium---using some of those marbles!!!!!

    Fikjast Scott
    Fikjast Scott

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I like your idea of thicker colors. I wish I used brighter colors. The picture did not show the end results very well.
    Thank you for viewing and your great comments.