This year the 8th of March marked International Women’s day so here at the Oxfam Online and Festival shop hub in Batley we decided to put together a DIY T-shirt making workshop. Feeling inspired by the slogan t-shirt trend that’s can be seen everywhere from the runway to the high-street, we put together a mood board of fun and feminist slogans
to get people thinking about what design they would want to have on their t-shirt.
To start we selected some damaged donated t-shirts that we wouldn’t usually be able to sell. We then selected the discoloured ones to be tie-dyed. The tie-dye process is easy, all you need is; 3 decent size tubs, elastic bands, dye, table salt, gloves and a dryer (or clothes line).
The first step is to fill all three tubs with warm water. One tub will be for dunking the t-shirts before and after dyeing and the other two tubs will be for the dyes. Once the tubs are filled with warm water, use the dunking tub to make the t-shirts damp.
Then you need to prepare your dye. We used two different dyes, green and pink, so we needed to prepare 3 tubs. If you are only using one colour dye then you will only need one tub of dye and one for dunking. You must follow the instructions on the packet of your dye. The dye we used instructed us to add 250g of salt to warm water and then once that’s dissolved, add the packet of dye and stir it around.
The next step is to tie elastic bands in various places around damp t-shirts; these are what will create the tie-dye pattern. We used two different ways that you can see here.
After you have added the elastic bands to all of the t-shirts it’s time to add them to the dye and leave them for 45 minutes, stir every 20 mins, or longer depending on how dark/ strong you want the colour of the dye to be.
Once the time is up you need to remove the elastic bands and add the t-shirts to the dunking tub which will now be cold. Give them a rinse and get all the water and remaining dye out and then put the t-shirts into the dryer. And that’s it! Your freshly dyed top id ready to be worn or even more customised, which leads us onto making our slogan t-shirts …
For the DIY I will be showing you, you will need; a t-shirt, transfer letters, a cloth or scrap bit of fabric and an iron.
To start cut out the transfer letters that you will need. We bought our pack from eBay but I recommend buying more letters than you actually need as the packs only come with one or two duplicates of the letters and you don’t want to be a few letters short of a slogan. My chosen slogan is ‘Typical Girls’ taken from the song by the female punk band ‘The Slits’.
Then place your letters onto the t-shirt but remember that the letters are backwards so that when you flip them over ready to be transferred they will be the right way round. This is very important as you don’t want your slogan to be backwards. The next step is to place a cloth or scrap piece of fabric onto the t-shirt and start to iron on the transfers.
This can take some time so be patient. Keep the iron pressed for around 15 – 20 minutes and keep checking if the transfers have come away from the transfer paper. Be careful when you are doing this as you don’t want to rip the letter.
Once the letters are sticking to the top, leave them to cool and remove the transfer paper to reveal your slogan and that’s it! You can wear your slogan t-shirt whenever you want to as international women’s day should be all year round.
We had so much fun thinking of ways to up-cycle our t-shirts and some of our other volunteer’s used glitter, iron on patches, embroidery, fabric scraps and paint to create their personalised women’s day t-shirts. If you want to see more of their designs head over to our Instagram @Oxfamfestshop and check them out. This summer the festival shop will be bringing more up-cycled and one off DIY creation’s to events so stay tuned for more DIY posts!
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