Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dyeing for Dirty Shirts

Kauai is famous for its bright red dirt. Red dirt shirts are sold all over the island. We saw them on sale 2 for $38. Last time we were here we made some ourselves, but they were pale compared to the commercially produced ones and I came to the sour grapes conclusion that they had thrown in red dye.

We decided to try it again this time. It is fun even if it doesn't work! We collected dirt from the Spouting Horn parking lot.
We used our rental unit's trash can as our dye bucket. And we did it all on our lovely lanai. Aren't we good guests?

In with the dirt.
In with the shirts.

We soaked them for 24 hours and then dried them out. Dry they looked like the shirt on the left. Like red dirt on top of a white shirt. Once again, it wasn't working.

Google to the rescue. It turns out you've got to set the stain with vinegar. Hey, sour grapes were just what we needed after all. After soaking them in white wine vinegar water they look like the shirt on the right.

Seven happy girls in homemade red dirt shirts.


Stefaneener said...

They look like fairytale girls, about to set out on adventures. Vinegar, the magical substance.

Iain McClatchie said...

I love that last picture! Nothing like vacationing with seven happy little girls.

Kristin said...

I can't believe there were 7 little girls on your trip. They all look like they are related and sun kissed. I like the earthy look of the shirts. Hilarious that you used the trash can for your project. Did the vinegar set the color into that too?

Susan said...

Stefaneener, the kids and Mike all wore their dirt shirts on the plane home and while not quite a fairy tale adventure it did make them easy to keep track of.

Iain, I'll second that. We'll have to do it again.

Kristin, don't they? I got asked "Are these all your children?" more than once. We did the vinegar part in a 2 gallon ziploc bag, otherwise we probably would have permanently stained the trash can. I started cleaning the lanai and half an hour later it seemed I was no closer to getting it done. The red dirt was EVERYWHERE. Fortunately I took a break and discovered that the other 3 lanais were also covered in red dirt. It's just blowin' in the wind.

Anonymous said...

I just learned something new!! awesome.