A new friend of mine that also happens to be here on Cubits, sent the following idea to me, as she knows how much fun I have making things with my son Skye and natural objects. For those that want more fun cubit sites, her name is Sharon Brown (Sharran), and she writes some very informative and entertaining articles, and has several forums set up, as well. So a project last fall was to use leaves to make prints on plain colored t-shirts.
The basic idea is this: Fill a spray bottle with Clorox mixed with water, about ½ water and bleach (You may be able to dilute it more, I am not sure). Lay out the colored shirt, and place leaves on the shirt in any pattern you want to. Then spray around the leaves, and the bleach will discolor the shirt around the leaves, leaving the original color where the leaves blocked the spray. This has to be done in the sun, as the bleach reacts with sunlight to remove the colors from the shirt. After a minute, but not too long, dunk or spray the shirt with a solution of about 2 cups vinegar in one gallon water to neutralize the bleach.
I then took this process one step further, and wondered what would happen if I pressed the leaves wet with bleach onto a shirt. The results I thought looked just as interesting, and made for another way to decorate an otherwise plain shirt.
Here is my model, showing off his latest in fall fashions designed by himself.
A few things to keep in mind if you want to try this yourself: This needs to be done in the sunlight. If it is windy, the bleach spray will drift onto your clothes you are wearing, possibly spotting something you don’t want to be. Wind will also blow your decorations off the shirts. Have everything ready before you begin, as you will have no time while you are working on the project. The leaves work best if they lay flat on the shirt, so you may want to press them first for a day, and take them out as you use them. When you rinse the shirts in vinegar, do not ball it up and rub the bleach where you don’t want it, instead lay it flat bleach side first right into the solution. You may have to replenish the vinegar solution as it gets used up by the bleach, depending on how many shirts or other items you do. And this can be done with just about any type of cotton material, such as jeans, denim jackets or vests, and possibly with wool, but did not work on a synthetic fiber shirt we tried.
So get the kids and grandkids to collect some interesting leaves, and have fun changing those plain shirts into wondrous works of art.
Here is a shot showing the leaves on sleeves, as well, which was entirely my son's idea. I think it worked out very well. Sorry, but I do not have any photos of the actual spraying and leaf placement. I didn't realize it would be so popular.