It seems that every time we run a white or creme shirt, the forums fill up with exclamations of woe from slippery-fingered would-be buyers who seem incapable of keeping their spaghetti on their forks and off of their clothing. We all know we can take the shirt for a boil in some good old Rit dye, but that takes planning and is sooo predictable. Since our shirts are 100% cotton, they take natural dyes pretty well, so just about anything that stains your hands in the kitchen can be used to tint your t’s.
Coffee or Tea: Brew up enough liquid to cover your shirt fabric, pour it into a large pot or bucket, add your shirt, and wait it out. Most coffee/tea dye treatments need at least a few hours to sink in, and will produce even stronger results if left overnight. The longer your fabric sits, the darker brown your shirt becomes. Use this to achieve shades of light tan to light brown.
Kool-Aid: Comes in a bajillion colors that can be tweaked from pale pastels to shockingly bright just by adding more of the drink powder. For really bright colors, try using a packet of powder per ounce of shirt fabric (that’s about 6 and a half packets for a men’s medium). Grab a big pot, add your Kool-Aid, your shirt, and enough hot water to cover the fabric. Your water should be hot, but not quite boiling. Cover it up, and let sit for at least half an hour.
Beets: You might not want to eat ‘em, but they sure can dye stuff! If you’ve got a can of beets, just pour the liquid in a pot, mix in some hot water, and soak your shirt. You can get shades of pinks and reds, depending on your beet juice to water ratio. This method can produce some very vibrant colors, so start checking your shirt color after about fifteen minutes.
A few final notes… Be sure to wash your dyed shirts separately from the rest of your laundry, unless you want to dye everything else you own. Drying your dyed shirts thoroughly will help to “set” the dye, but it will probably still bleed a bit for the first few washes.
You shouldn’t have to worry about the print, since the plastic in the inks will resist liquids. Due to the nature of leaving stuff lying around in vats of dye for long periods of time, however, there’s no guarantee! Dye stuff at your own risk, and run some tests to be confident of the results.