Monday, May 14, 2018

Artsy Hat - Sharpie Tie Dye

I have been searching for a nice feminine hat and have been disappointed by the available selections.  Sure there are quite a few baseball caps out there that are pretty cute, however I really like to wear wide brim hats.  Remember that whole skin cancer thing I mentioned awhile back?  Well I keep imagining them having to take that kind of slice out of my face and yikes that is some scary shit!  So, yeah, the least I can do is to wear a good hat, right?

For some time I have seen various Sharpie tie-dye projects on the web.  I teach a 3D art class this year and am always on the lookout for cool projects.  This is one I have been wanting to try and this was the perfect opportunity to go for it.

The first step was to practice on something that I didn't care about ruining!  Thus paper towels to the rescue.

The process is pretty basic.  Take your fabric, stretch it over something, or not, and begin drawing.  You draw a small circle of dots with Sharpies (or some other permanent marker.)  Or a large circle.  Or a triangle.  Or anything you want!  It is really pretty simple.  I tried out numerous different things.  It was only paper towel so what did I have to lose?  Nothing!

After I had practiced a bit and had an idea of what I wanted to do, I began working on my hat.  Being as it is such an odd shaped item, and I wanted some sort of consistent look to the blobs, I put it on top of a jar.  I covered the top of the jar with plastic wrap, then placed the hat on top, and stretched a thick rubber band around it all.

I drew what I wanted to, starting with blue.  After I did a bunch of the blue ones in the sort of pattern I wanted it in, I then began working in other colors.  As you can see, I kept one of my test strips nearby to give me inspiration.  I also did some test spots on the white paper I was working on.  This also shows the colors I was working with.  They are the five near the heat gun in the upper right quadrant of the photo.  On the paper I tried out some other colors whose colors did not seem to bleed very well and thus I decided to not use them, like the black for instance.

Once you have stretched your fabric how you want it, and you have drawn your design, you then slowly drip rubbing alcohol from an eye dropper.  I suppose you could use anything to drip the alcohol, but it should be something you can control.  A small amount of alcohol will spread the ink a small amount.  A larger amount and a larger blob will form.  Be cautious though as too much alcohol may not give you the effect that you want.

The other tool that I used was the heat gun.  I would drip the alcohol and then use the heat gun to control how far the drip spread.  By applying some heat you can make the spread slow or stop.  But be careful to not burn your clothes in the process!  The other nice thing about using the heat gun is that it helps to set the color into the fabric.

After I was done coloring the top of the hat, I used the same process for the chin strap.  Overall I think it came out looking pretty cool!  I impressed myself and have enjoyed wearing this hat since I completed it.

Oh one more thing was that I also tossed the hat into the drier after I was finished and ran it for awhile trying to further help set the colors.

Oh as well - be cautious about moving the garment you are dying.  If the spot is not dry, it will smear onto anything it touches.  The strap was really particular about that last part.  Being as it is quite thick it took extra long to dry and the heat gun got super close to singing it.

Hope you give it a whirl!

Seriously, try it out.

Even if on just a piece of paper.

Art is fun.

Art is love!


  1. Looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  2. The concept is pretty neat it reminds me a bit of Van Gogh's The Starry Night" or perhaps Monet's "Pink Water-Lilies". Another avenue of thought would be Tiffany's Stained Glass with with all their beautiful hues. I love "View of Oyster Bay"! Your hat looks loads better than what I associate tie-dye with back in the "day"(rubber bands & spider web circle-ish blotches)... Good job.

  3. Charlene Peterson.May 15, 2018 at 3:04 PM

    Thanks Nadine. Great idea. I will give it a whril. Charlene