“I Heart Photography” Tank Top

June 20, 2015RaChil Luke

Hey everyone! I’ve got a great summer project for you today that really takes advantage of all the sunshine we’ve been having lately. These triple digit days are killing my motivation but even if you’re having a lazy day you can still fit this project in.
Too hot…can’t type superfluously…must tell you how to make…awesome shirt!


  • White tank top or t-shirt
  • Snap pack of Inkodye & a sponge brush
  • Wooden camera charms from Studio Calico (I also used them in this project)
  • Glass pane (can use a framed photo’s glass, it won’t be marred)
  • Scissors
  • 12×12 Scrapbook paper
  • Saran wrap or plastic sheeting to protect your surface
  • Wooden board
  • Scrap of cardboard
  • Masking Tape

Step 1: Fold your paper in half and cut that magical side-teardrop shape that ends up creating a heart when unfolded. Set this aside for later.


Step 2: Prep your board if you don’t want any possible dye leakage on it. I laid down a single layer of saran wrap and taped it on the underside.
Place your crap of cardboard inside your shirt, make sure it’s at least large enough for the heart stencil to fit over.



Step 3: Now at this point you should apply your dye, but because it’s UV sensitive and I don’t have a lightproof room to work in I decided to do this step twice. Once for instructional purposes, the second for realsies.

To apply dye: cut open your pack and squeeze the dye onto your shirt, use the sponge brush to dab the dye so that the stencil will be completely filled in. Blot any excess dye with a paper towel or a scrap of fabric (two project for the price of one?)

Place your stencil over the dyed patch and stabilize with masking tape.

Arrange your camera charms inside of your heart stencil, when satisfied place your glass pane on top.
Now, it was a beautiful sunny day when I began this project, but in the hour or so of me photographing the above steps and then repeating the dyeing and designing processes the clouds came out! Ideally the dye will develop in 10 minutes on a bright day I left mine longer to gather more UV light.


Step 4: Take your project out into the sun! Make sure you place it in an area where no shadows are going to fall on it. Leave to develop, checking on it occasionally. Although, like I mentioned earlier if  the sun is out it’ll be done in no time!

15 minutes: Getting there, but it looks like it could be darker!

25 minutes: Looks done to me! Bring your board back inside.


Step 5: You can take off the glass and camera charms once you’re in a place with little to no light, like my bathroom! Your dye could still develop at this point. Here’s how my shirt looked:

Rinse your shirt out in your tub or sink to get the unused dye out of the shirt. Then wash by itself once on the hot/cold setting and then wear your awesome handmade shirt!

See where the dye that didn’t develop was? You might have noticed in my finished product  that there is a blue coloring there behind the heart. That was a complete and utter goof. I used blue laundry detergent when I washed the shirt after rinsing out the dye and it stained only the places where the inkodye had been. I almost cried because I have tried using inkodye for a few projects and they have all failed because of something on my end. I just knew this was going on my list of failures.


After a day or two I decided I liked the blue and plum (burgundy?) together and wear my shirt with pride! You can make sure that you don’t have an “oopsie” like me by getting the inkowash detergent sold by the same brand, or you can just use a clear detergent!

You could make a shadow-dyed shirt to express your love of all number of things! You could make cutouts of any shape you like out of an opaque stencil material and an xacto knife.

If you want to add some more DIY flare to your wardrobe check out my DIY Kimono Top or my Studded Sweater Collar.

Til Next Time!

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