Watermark Tee Tutorial

Hello U Create readers! I am so excited to be guest posting here today. It just so happens to be my first guest post and I’m still a little shocked that it’s here at U Create, one of my favorite blogs!
A little bit about me..
I’m from a little town called Keller, Texas.
I’m a junior at Texas A&M University (whoop!).
I’m working on my education degree and expect to be an elementary school teacher in just two short years.
When I’m not busy studying for classes, I love to sew. In fact, I’m all about DIY fashion.
I just started blogging in May and have already met all kinds of wonderful women, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi too!
Watermark Tee Tutorial
What I love about this project is that it’s completely customizable. I used favorite quotes to decorate my shirt but you could also use song lyrics, bible verses, favorite book excerpts, etc. You can also choose whatever color you like. I think it would be a very kid-friendly project as well. There are so many possibilities!
Elmer’s Blue Gel Glue (it must be the blue gel, white won’t work)
Fabric Dye (RIT is my tried and true brand)
A white cotton Tee, Tank, Dress etc.
If you’re unfamiliar with Batiking, it’s a method of dyeing fabric in which you create a design with a dye- resist. When you dye your garment in cold water, all will be colored except where you’ve placed your dye resist. In traditional batiking, you would use wax as a resist. I tried this out and found it to be messy and difficult to control. Using store bought glue is much more convenient and very easy to control.
Step 1: Prepare
Wet your tee with cool water and place a water resistant board between the layers of fabric. I used the lid of a bin.
Step 2: Design
I’m not much of an artist, so what worked best for me was writing favorite quotes right across the front of the shirt.
This quote was found via Pinterest
You could also try drawing a simple design like my very amateur sailboat:
Let dry completely. This will take several hours.
Step 3: DyeΒ 
Your dye bath should be prepared using cool water. Experiment with different amounts of dye until you find the right concentration. Keep in mind that the color that comes out of the dye bath will be a couple of shades darker than the dry, finished garment.
When you get the color you want, lay your tee flat to dry.
Step 4: Wash
When your tee is dry (to let the dye set) soak it in cool, soapy water for about 15 minutes. This soak washes the extra glue out. Throw it in the washer and dry as you would normally.
Step 5: Wear and Enjoy!
I’d love it if you’d stop by over at Sweet Verbena and check out my other DIY fashion tutorials.

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  1. says

    I will admit to some skepticism when I saw the title of the post as well as the materials, but once I cycled through the entry I had to eat my words — this was super cool, super easy, and came out super chic! πŸ˜€

  2. says

    Like you, I also tried batiking in high school and also found it too messy – so – I love this idea and can’t wait to try it.
    I wonder if it would be possible to take an old colored t-shirt and make up a mild bleach solution and do this in reverse??? Any thoughts on that idea???

    • Anonymous says

      We did this in Girl Scouts decades ago….use a dark colored shirt and use liquid dishwasher soap (the kind that contains bleach). It will not bleach the shirt white (if you have a navy shirt, where you use the soap, it will turn it several shades lighter but not white). Still it is very unique looking. For intricate patterns, use a small artist paint brush dipped in the soap.


  3. says

    I bought my glue at Michaels today for about 2 bucks. I have 4 shirts now waiting to dry overnight and I will begin to dye them in the morning. I have 2 with inspirational quotes from Maya Angelou and 1 that has hearts all over ( I may try to ombre dye that one ). Thank your for the idea and options for taking a boring tee and turning it into a masterpiece.

  4. says

    I turned two responsible teen-aged artist girls loose on this project. Came home both days in a row and found the house intact. Yesterday they did the art work, today they did the dying. Now the shirts are drying waiting to be washed. Cool and easy. I am only sad that I didn’t get to do one for my toddler and myself. Hopefully I will find the time and space for that.

  5. says

    I just did this with my daughter. We used the white washable RoseArt glue and it worked fine. We noticed the glue was starting to get soft, so we took it out of the dye sooner than we would have liked. But still, amazing results!

  6. says

    I made this today/yesterday, and it looks pretty cool! I had some problems in the beginning, so here are my notes: leave the shirt dry. It spread all over the place and was illegible when I did it wet. Also, be sure to use Elmer’s brand glue. I used the clear gel kind, and it turned out fine. Before that, I tried a blue version that was a store brand. It wasn’t as thick so it was also illegible.

  7. says

    sad face…when I tried it while my shirt was damp, like Kristen said, it spread all over the place so I just threw that one in the wash. My 2nd attempt, well…I’m not convinced yet. Still having some running issues. I’m using the clear Elmer’s glue. Might try the white next time as I couldn’t find the blue. I’ll be dyeing it in the morning. keep your fingers crossed for me!

  8. says

    okay. happy face instead now! used white elmer’s glue. didn’t wet shirt. perfection. just dyed it & now it’s drying. Will wash glue off & wash/dry in the AM. CAN’T wait to wear it! I was able to write part of the Holstee Manifesto on it. πŸ˜€

  9. says

    Wow I must be the only guy on here. lol A bit awkward for me to comment, but I came across this on stumble upon. I just recently started making my own shirts to save some cash and for me to come across this is really awesome! Great job on the tutorial, and much thanks from one college student to another!

  10. says

    I LOVE this so much and am thinking about throwing a batiking party as a Christmas gift to my friends. However, we will be having said party during exams and won’t have a whole lot of time. So, is there a safe way to get the glue to dry faster?

  11. says

    I love this idea and was thinking of having a batiking party for my friends as a Christmas gift. However, we won’t have a whole lot of time to craft, so is there a safe way to get the glue to dry faster?

    Thanks for sharing your awesomeness!

  12. says

    wow, what a great idea! i havent seen,oar heard of any uses for fabric dye since tye-dye! not only that ,but what a cute way to personalize homemade gifts!with the econamy the way it is a couple white t shirts and some dye , could potentionally b gifts for the family this christmas !

  13. says

    i stumbled upon this and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I recently did some batiking at a girl scout event with wax. it was awful! the wax was practically impossible to control and the fabric turned out really stiff and uncomfortable. this is a MUCH better idea!

  14. says

    love love love this! i stumbled upon this and it’s a great idea! i recently did some batiking at a girl scout event with wax. it was awful! the wax was practically impossible to control and the fabric turned out stiff and uncomfortable. this is such a better idea!

  15. says

    I love creativity and you certainly have a gift and are using it to your full potential. Good Luck with all this – you are a very talented young lady. B.T.W…my son is a junior (4th year) at Rochester Institute of Technology in NY (they go 5 years with 1 full year as a paid co-op) so I know all to well that juggling school with what you love to do can be hard but it’s oh so worth it. My son has helped me with my business so many t

  16. Jessica Faria says

    I love this idea! You could also use this as a gift to your bridal party and make write a favorite memory you shared with that person on it! They will have it as a keepsake forever!

  17. says

    That is really creative!
    I want to do the same, but I’m from the Netherlands and I’m afraid we don’t have that glue you use. Do you have any idea what I can use instead? Does it have to be blue glue?

    Keep up the good work!

  18. Anonymous says

    This is such an awesome idea to do with my teenage daughter. She lost two classmates this year in a car accident & making a tee with a quote, saying or just their names would be a very healing project for her…THANKS!!

  19. Anonymous says

    WHere do you get your white t-shirts from? Target has them in the mens section, but there 2 big on me and don’t have that cute pocket! Places like goodwill dont have just plain ones. Target? Walmart? Forever 21? Urban Outfitters? Pac Sun? American Apparel? Where did you get them at…..

  20. says

    I’ve been looking all over for the Elmer’s blue gel glue (Walmart, Office Depot, CVS, Walgreens, HEB, Kroger, and Texas Art Supply). Anyone know where I can buy it, not online? Or know of anything you can use instead? Thanks :)

  21. says

    I tried this once, but I used yellow and didn”t let it dry after the dye bath. It didn’t work that time, but I decided to try again. I used one of the yellow shirts, but I did it in pink dye. It ended up coming out as a really cool shade of coral.

  22. says

    Wow this couldn’t be any more fortuitous, I just moved from Keller, Texas not a month ago and a good friend is moving away this week so as a present I was going to make her a shirt like this. Thank you Stumbleupon! Thank you for the post. :3

  23. says

    Oh I can’t wait to make some T-shirt dresses for my granddaughters!! I love it when they are all dressed in similar outfits for photos but it gets expensive and HARD to find them in sizes ranging from newborn to kids size 12. THIS IS GREAT!! Congrats on being featured and best of luck on your schooling!!

  24. Anonymous says

    I have glue applicator syringes that I use for rhinestoning & I think I may try putting the glue in that to be able to control the flow a little better for detail work. This looks really cool.

  25. Anonymous says

    I LOVE IT! Your a genius! I am SO happy I tried it because it worked SO well! Here’s the poem I put on my shirt (It took both sides and the sleeves too!):

    You Learn
    After a while you learn the subtle difference
    Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
    And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
    And company doesn’t mean security.
    And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
    And presents aren’t promises,
    And you begin to accept your defeats
    With your head up and your eyes open
    With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
    And you learn to build all your roads on today
    Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
    And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
    After a while you learn…
    That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
    So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
    Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
    And you learn that you really can endure…
    That you really are strong
    And you really do have worth…
    And you learn and learn…
    With every good-bye you learn.
    Jorge Luis Borges

  26. says

    Hey there!

    Just found this via pinterest, and absolutely love it!! I’m planning on giving it a go soon, but first I had a question. Will it work to do designs/words on BOTH sides of the shirt? Like if I did the design with the glue on the one side, let it dry, then flip it over and do the other? Would that work?

    Thanks so much for sharing this awesome tutorial! πŸ˜€

  27. says

    Oh my gosh, this project speaks to me! I love, love, love it.

    I’m preggo with my first and was, until getting pregnant, building a sailboat. I can’t work on it anymore due to epoxy and all the other caustic goodies that come with boat building. BUT, at least I can sketch out my little boat’s profile on some crib sheets for the bambino!

    And just think of the quotes you could fit on a crib sheet. Thanks for sharing!

  28. says

    This may be a dumb question, but after it dries and before it gets washed would it hurt it to get set in vinegar first? I just don’t want to dye other clothes…….don’t want the men in my house to end up with funny colored undies! Lol

  29. DianeM says

    OMGosh! I LOVE this for me & my 23yo daughter. I’m putting the “Blue Glue” on my need-to-find list right away! Thanks so much for sharing – the shirts you made are beautiful!
    Smiles, DianeM

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