I’m so excited to share this DIY with you today. It is sooo fun and sooo easy! I’m placing bets it’s going to be your new favorite project to try with yours kids. All you need is rubbing alcohol and Sharpie markers. For reals!

Maude used the technique to make underwear sets for her brothers and sisters as Christmas gifts and they turned out great! (Side note: we’ve done t-shirts a few times over the years,  so we thought underwear would make a nice variation. : )





1) Start with Sharpies, rubbing alcohol (the bottle pictures is French, so it’s spelled differently), and a piece of clothing. If you’re not interested to underwear, the same technique would be great for t-shirts or bandanas or tote bags, pillow covers, or pretty much any cotton item.

2) Protect your work surface with an old or dark towel. Use the markers to scribble on any design you like.

3) For this undershirt, we wanted the tie-dye effect to show up on both the front and back. To make sure we were making the same pattern in the same place, we folded the shirt over and continued drawing on the back.

4) Once you’re done scribbling, it’s time to add the alcohol. Our bottle has a drip lid, but if yours doesn’t, use an eye dropper.

5) Drip alcohol on slowly at the edges of your scribbles. Then watch as the colors smear and shift across the shirt. In the photo above, the alcohol has been applied to about half of the scribbled area.

6)Let the alcohol fully dry — this step is important because alcohol is flammable — and then set the color by running it through your dryer.

7) Experiment! If you want more smear, use more alcohol. I was generous on the alcohol with this particular tank top, and the design ended up like this:

8) One last note. If you want the design to just be on the front (like the heart and star above), put a plastic grocery bag inside the shirt so the alcohol and marker won’t bleed through to the back.

And that’s it. It’s so fast and easy — and incredibly fun. You really can’t go wrong. I’d recommend watching for bargains on pale or white tees, boxers, undershirts, etc. and keep them on hand for rainy day projects. These would also be really fun to make at a birthday party!

By the way, I learned this brilliant technique from clever Erin Loechner. She used it to give new life to cloth napkins.