Red Dirt Dyed Tee

September 4, 2014Allison Murray
Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

I will soon be leaving Oklahoma. It’s kind of sad because I’ve lived here since 1992 and it’s basically all I really know. My life hasn’t been filled with much travel except to Texas, really, so I don’t much of the world outside of my little patch of red dirt.

And to be honest, I’m a little scared. Isn’t it so silly? I’m in my early 30s with no place to be and no agenda. The only things I need to be concerned about are myself and my animals. It should be exciting, and it kind of is, because I realized that I can live anywhere in the U.S. I want. In spite of any excitement there is a sadness at leaving my home.

Trying to remind myself that this was all for the best while packing up my bedroom I noticed the red dirt stain on the floor where Aggie sleeps. This awful tear drop shaped stain of orange-y pink in my white carpet that has been there for years. I will NOT miss that red dirt I thought. Until I got all sad and weepy about leaving my home of the past 10 years and then thought that I would kind of miss that red dirt. And it’s ridiculous because I won’t. This stuff is terrible.

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Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

But in my moment of nostalgia and realizing just how badly this stuff stains, I thought it would be neat to use the stuff to tie dye a tee. I didn’t think about it too much and just sort of grabbed the shovel and did it. To be honest when I went and cleaned the shirt out a few hours later I was a bit horrified with the whole thing. I mean, it’s pretty weird, right? But I like my shirt and it is a unique reminder of the place I’ve called home for so long (and will surely miss a lot).

For this project I used:

  • White Gildan tee shirt
  • clay
  • rubber bands

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

This post is less of a tutorial and more of a what I did. Because chances are you don’t have this kind of dirt where you live. And if you did, chances are you wouldn’t want to do this!

This is what we call red dirt in Oklahoma. NO. This photo is not doctored or manipulated at all. It’s just what the ground looks like in my backyard. It’s technically clay, but around here we call it red dirt.

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

I dumped over a tub of stuff I had started packing away and grabbed my shovel. Since clay gets dense quickly, I just scraped the dry stuff off of the top of the ground rather than really digging in.

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

and then, because it totally makes sense I took my tub into the bathroom where I filled it up in the bathtub. See that pic up there? That’s a freaking water hose. Did I use the hose? Nope. I filled it up in my bathtub in the middle of the house and then sloshed all over my house taking it back outside onto my porch and set it down right by the hose.

In case you’re wondering, I was cursing myself.

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

I wet down my tee and gave it a classic swirl twist up and secured with rubber bands.

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

And then I sat there and hesitated. Is this ridiculous? Am I just ruining a perfectly good tee shirt out of my crafty stash? And then I just tossed the sucker in to the point of no return. That’s when the stuff splashed all up in my face and I realized that this was dirt. From the ground. With grass and you can only guess what else. Oh, this was such a gross idea!

Because the shirt wanted to float and at the top was only red tinted water I wound up sloshing the thing around in the silty bottom.

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

And then I tossed it out so the clay could set and properly stain this tee. That’s when it really hit me how strange I am. Ah well… moving on…

Did you know you can use clay (red dirt) or other natural items to tie dye? Check out this red dirt dyed tee tutorial.

After the clay had sat for about an hour I went ahead and rinsed it out in the tub, realizing after the fact that I really should have gotten after it with a hose outside, but that dang hose was just a mental block I couldn’t seem to breach! When it was good and “clean” I ran it through the wash with soap and fabric softener and put it on the line to dry.

In the end, the color turned out a really pretty and kind of faint salmon color. It’s nice without being crazy and I don’t think anybody would ever go – “look at that crazy chick who obviously tie dyed a tee shirt with mud from her backyard!”

But my red dirt dyed tee will be a neat reminder and I’ll probably wind up wearing it around the house on occasion when I’m off living in Texas or who knows where. Because the one thing I can guarantee is that I won’t be still living here in my little house on the hill with sweet neighbors and sweeter horses that come visit me on top of an acre of red dirt.

Comments (13)

  • Pat Schwab

    September 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Good luck with your move and new place!

    1. Allison Murray

      September 7, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      Thank you, Pat :)

  • Ellen

    September 4, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    If it’s not too nosy, where are you moving to?

    1. Allison Murray

      September 7, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      I’m on my way to Houston but after that I’m not sure!

  • Juliann aka The Sick Chick

    September 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I hope you do come to Texas. If you’re ever down Austin-way I’ll show you around :) Amazing creative people here :)

    1. Allison Murray

      September 7, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      I keep hearing that Austin would be a great fit for me! I’ll definitely give you a shout :)

  • elaine

    September 4, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    It just shows what a creative mind you have! I love it! I am in AZ and we have hardpan and caliche soil here…….worse than clay I think, especially when I came from Iowa where the soil is black and loose.

    1. Allison Murray

      September 7, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      It sounds worse than clay!

  • Candice Killmeyer

    September 4, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    I smiled as I read this :) Because I moved from Oklahoma/Missouri to Idaho & yeah,people out here don’t have a clue about red dirt,humidity,lightnin’ bugs,armadillos, or cicadas. Things I never thought I’d miss,but occasionally get homesick for. (all but the humidity,lol)
    I love your Tshirt! It is definitely something I would do & I’m kinda surprised that I didn’t.

    1. Allison Murray

      September 7, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      I’m glad I made you smile! And the armadillos have been completely out of control this year! :)

  • Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    September 11, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    I didn’t realize you were moving, Allison! What a grand adventure that will be. I think this is a genius idea – – and a great way to remember your time in OK. Plus, you know I’m partial to tie dye….

  • Scha Thames

    September 11, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    What a great memory tee! My family is stationed in Okinawa, Japan that is also home to red dirt/clay. Maybe I should try this with a couple if my kiddos tees!!!

    1. Allison Murray

      September 11, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      I love that you don’t think it’s weird, Scha! :) How great to be able to see and live in other parts of the world. Definitely dye some tees to remember your time and experiences :)

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