supplies needed:

one white tee - i used an xl v-neck for an oversized slouchy fit

white school glue (most tutorials using this watermark effect claim that plain white washable school glue will not work and that you should buy the blue gel style elmer's glue. i used the regular ol' white kind since it was all i had, but was very careful to not agitate it or disturb it in the process. it came out fine using the following technique)


one package of dye in the color of your choice (i'd recommend stronger colors - i'm not sure how well yellow or something similar would do). i used dylon intense violet.

spray bottle

soap and water

cardboard or something to place in your tee to keep the glue from seeping through to the other side.



step one (optional): if you'd like an off the shoulder look or want to crop your shirt, go ahead and cut it up! i just cut out the neck of mine by folding it so that the shoulder seams match (think of laying it in profile) and cut about an inch below the sewn in neck. it doesn't take much to get it to hang off the shoulder so be careful not to cut too much. if you're unsure, cut a little and try it on and cut more if needed. i also cut the finished edges off my sleeves. with more wears and washes the raw edges will start to roll, so don't be too worried if your cuts aren't perfect.


step two: lie your tee flat and place your cardboard inside of it behind where you'll be writing with your glue. draw your message! i made sure to draw mine nice and thick. the goal here is to create a space where the dye will not seep through so be sure to make your letters or image thick enough to block the dye - otherwise your words will be hard to read.


step three: put your tee in a safe place where it can lie flat. let the glue dry completely. i didn't think this would take that long, but i ended up letting mine dry overnight.

step four: mix your dye in a large bowl (use something that won't get stained like stainless steel - or a plastic bowl you don't mind messing up - or a bucket) according to package instructions. i usually add salt to my dye when i'm coloring other things, but i wasn't sure how it'd react with the glue so i didn't this time (since i was using washable school glue, i wanted to make sure it would stay on long enough for the dye process). stir well to make sure it's completely dissolved. pour dye into your spray bottle (i used an old glass cleaner bottle and filled it up about halfway).


step five: take your tee outside. spray the dye onto the area where your word or image is. using the spray bottle will create a sort of splatter effect. you can go with this or keep spraying for more complete coverage. i ended up hanging mine from a tree to make spraying the front and back a little easier. (i used the spraying technique since i was using the washable glue and was worried that completely submerging the shirt in water and dye would cause the glue to wash away and ruin the image. you could try submerging your piece and dying as usual, but i would suggest using the blue gel glue or trying it with the white glue on a test piece first). let the tee sit for about an hour (or less depending on how dark you want your dye to be).


tip: when spraying, be sure to lift up the sleeves and straighten out the wrinkles and folds to get a complete coverage.


step six: take your tee inside and rinse it gently in the sink (be sure your sink will not stain - otherwise use a waterhose outdoors) with cold water. wash out the dye until the water starts to run clear. you can wring the areas around your drawing to squeeze out the dye, but be careful not to agitate the glue area until most of the dye has drained from the sink. when your water begins to run clear, take a bit of soap and wash off the glue.


step seven: wring out the water and throw it in the dryer. wear and enjoy - mine's a bit wrinkly, but i couldn't wait to share!



please note: original inspiration for this tutorial here. my version just gives you the option of using the white school glue by spraying on your dye since the white glue is more accessible and easier on the pocketbook. take a peek at the link for a bit more inspiration for your designs - her allover effect is striking and would be perfect for your favorite lyrics!