Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Yoda Shirt It Is

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I know I still need to update about our move...and I will...but I've been busy tie-dying things. My project for last night and this morning was a Yoda shirt for Elias. Well, one for Oliver, too, but his didn't turn out as well.

It didn't come out exactly as I wanted it to, but it's close enough. Here's a tutorial in case you want to try it yourself. (Hint: This also works great with Mickey heads!)


  • T-shirt(s)
  • Dye and any necessary chemicals (I got mine from Dharma Trading Company)
  • Computer and printer or an ability to draw shapes
  • Pencil
  • Dental floss
  • Sewing needle
  • Rubber bands
  • Squirt bottles, and a small funnel helps
  • Newspaper
  • Paper towels
  • Latex gloves (or similar)
  • Cookie sheet and cooling rack (optional)
  • Saran Wrap
  • Measuring cups and stuff, if necessary for dying chemicals

Start by washing and drying your shirts.

While you're doing that, go online and find the shape you want on your shirt, or draw it if you desire. Remember that it will be a silhouette, so the interior details don't matter. You also want to make sure it's something that will be recognizable from just the outline. I chose these Yoda-heads because they were the most symmetrical ones I could find. Resize as necessary based on the size of your shirt.

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When your shirts are dry, decide where you want your images and trace the shape onto them with a pencil.

921dd8fe, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Next, thread some dental floss onto your needle and make a loose running stitch all around your outline. I think my stitches were about 1/4" apart.

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Once you've done that, it's time to pull the dental floss tight so you get a little poof.

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Next you want to place a rubber band tightly around the dental floss. Try to get this as exact as possible. In this case, you can see the little Yoda ears popping out. Ideally, your whole image will be on the inside of the rubber band, and the rest of the shirt will be on the outside.

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Now it's time to soak your shirts in soda ash, if your dye calls for it.

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While your shirts are bathing, prepare your dye and set up whatever surface you're going to be using. I planned on doing it outside, but it was raining. So I lined some cookie sheets with newspaper and set cooling racks on top of them. This worked out perfectly.

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When your shirts are done soaking, take them out and form them into a big spiral with the Yoda head in the middle. This is actually a very important step, and the one that's hardest to photograph when you're by yourself. If you don't know how to do it, there are a bazillion videos on YouTube. Just search for "tie dye spiral." Important: Make sure, after you have rubber banded everything, that your Yoda head sticks up out of the middle.

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Time for dye!

Hold the shirt upside down and very carefully saturate the Yoda head in your chosen Yoda color. Get the entire Yoda head, but nothing more than the Yoda head.

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Next, Take one of your spiral colors and dye half of the circle, trying not to get any dye on Yoda. Take your time and get into the little crannies.

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Then, do the other half with your other color.

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Lift up the shirt and wipe off your cooling rack with a paper towel. Flip the shirt over and stick Yoda between two of the slats. Repeat the dying process (minus Yoda) on the other side.

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Wrap your shirts in Saran Wrap or a plastic grocery bag, and let sit. My dye directions called for letting the shirts sit for 4-24 hours. 

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I can wait 9 months to find out the gender of my children, but my shirts only rested for eight hours before I broke down and opened them up.

When you unwrap your shirts, rinse them in cold water until the water runs clear, then wash according to directions.

8dfbd754, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I was fairly sure early on that Oliver's shirt wouldn't turn out too well. As soon as I bunched up the dental floss I realized that Yoda's head was just too tiny and wouldn't show the definition very well. His sort of looks like a giant green eye.

With Elias's, I wish Yoda didn't have so much white space around his head. I was surprised by that because I thought I did a good job getting down into all the grooves, but maybe not.

I also wish Yoda's head had been lighter. The dye was Sage, which was much more Yoda-colored on the website when I ordered it. It wound up being much darker in person.

But Elias likes his shirt, and Oliver's too young to care, so it's all good.


  1. Woah! Who knew the use of dental floss can make such artistic creations! I've been having so much of those freebies from a plano cosmetic dentistry that has just been piled in my bathroom closet! Now there's more use to it than just my teeth! Great idea! Cheers!

  2. Hi Jennie! I am glad to hear you have sold your house! I know your last post was May, so I am hoping you guys are doing well. We have been on the road now for over a year, but seriously traveling since Oct 28. Right now we are in Louisiana and just spent Christmas Day worrying about tornadoes. Have a great New Year!