Disney, DIY

Tie Dye Mickey Head Tees: My tips and experience

Yo Ho Let’s Go-Florida Abound in 24 DAYS!

We are heading to Disney World at the end of the month and I’ve been going out of my way to make it super special. I am not necessarily a big Disney fan; I like it and all, but I am not a cartoon fan in general so my love for it pretty much exists ONLY because I have a three year old. But we have never had a real destination vacation before as a family so I am very excited!

Another fun facet of this trip is that we are also meeting up with my husband’s parents and siblings out there, so it will be endless fun for the kiddo and hubby…but for me, traveling with the inlaws means having FIVE extra babysitters on hand! So THIS mama is definitely looking forward to some girlie time poolside, shopping, or sleeping. AHHHH. I can’t wait!

That being said, I have it pretty easy with this Disney trip because I have had almost nothing to do with the planning since my inlaws are all Disney pros. Seriously, they have been there a zillion times. Obviously since they know a ton of stuff about doing this….voila! Instant vacay for us, all we do is pay our share and show up! But I wanted to do something nice for them in return for all that work. So I decided I’d make us all cool shirts to wear to the parks. My husband is a major tie dye fan so we did some research and found out that you can actually tie dye a mickey head into your design. This seemed like a perfect solution.

This is a great tutorial. If you google “mickey head tie dye,” there are endless photo results and tutorials. I won’t try to reinvent the wheel–but after dying 12 of my own and helping a friend dye four for her family, I have a few things to mention.

1. We used Tulip dyes in squirt bottles from Michaels. Use coupons to save on a big kit, but don’t be fooled by the number of shirts it says it will make on the box. Half, no, a quarter of that number will be the end result with shirts that are very nicely saturated with color. If you like a lot of white coming through, then you won’t mind doing your own shirt toward the end when there is less dye to squirt out. My Mother In Law’s shirt is a good example of this:

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I used colors she liked and I think the combo is great but there is a LOT of white showing through. There is also another problem area on this shirt, which leads me to my next point.

2. Mix up all the dyes at the same time, then start dying. The reason this:

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SPECKLES!! Not a big deal on a shirt made mostly of dark, saturated colors. But on one that has a lot of white on it, not so much. I realize this is tie dye so it is meant to be imperfect, but try explaining that to my perfectionist husband, which is the reason I have made 12 shirts for 7 people and have to still remake at least two.

3. Lighter colors make the worst mickey heads. All the ones I made that were lime green in the center came out as giant green blobs. Made alllllll that sewing around the mickey head outline and rubber banding so unnecessary because it was as if we did nothing but squirt lime green in the center. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the lime green errors but the turquoise center is almost as bad:

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See how it looks all kind of, well, blob-like? Meh. I don’t really like it. The lime was terrible. I admit it. Hubs is saying I don’t have to redye this one, but I think that is because he has already pissed me off by not really liking some of the other ones that look just fine, like this one:

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I personally thought this one turned out great. It has a defined mickey head, a white area surrounding it, and bright saturated colors in a a near perfect spiral. What’s not to love? I don’t know, but he doesn’t like it. Hmmmpfh.

4. You CAN fix the centers if the mickey head doesn’t turn out. Some people use bleach pens to fix, like this:

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I actually tried this with all of the lime mickey heads that failed. I didn’t take a picture! Sorry about that, but I wasn’t really sure I was going to blog about this during the process. The process is just taking so long that I felt like a blog post would be a good idea! I think that the bleach pen mickey gives it a very definite look, where as the tied ones are more uneven. This is a good fix if ALL of the mickeys in the group of tees have blobs in the center. This was not the case for ours and we preferred the more organic look of the tied Mickeys.

So I had the brilliant idea to RE-DYE the centers of three shirts. Oh. My. What. A. Pain. In. The. Ass. This. Has. Now. Become.

The results?

On my niece’s shirt, the ONE shirt I was MOST excited to make, turned out like a purple blob after redying. I was so upset I immediately put it in the goodwill bag which I already dropped off the other day. So no picture. ( I am a terrible craft blogger, ha!)

The other two turned out pretty good, I think. Especially considering they were sewed, then dyed, then bleached, then sewed again, then dyed again, amongst many washings….

purple re dyed mickey

This is the purple redye. Its shape is ok, but sadly, the purples do not match up. At all. WHY do there have to be so many shades of purple??

This is the dark blue redye. Matches perfectly and the shape is ok. Not the best but...OK.

This is the dark blue redye. Matches perfectly and the shape is ok. Not the best but…OK.

Mr. Particular? I’m not sure he really likes either of them, though he says he is ok with the blue. I’m not a fan of the purple either and need to redo my niece’s shirt so there will definitely be another round. After this I might not ever tie dye again. Maybe.

5. My final, most critical piece of advice is DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR HUSBAND and drink wine.

Happy tie-dying!

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