Custom T-Shirt Printing


Natural fabric dyes can bring the best out of your custom t-shirt printing project. You can make some really good custom-made t-shirts by using some excellent au naturel dyes. These colors can not only add a different feel to the fabric of your customized t-shirts but provide higher UV absorption. A naturally-dyed custom t-shirt can fully protect your skin from harmful sunrays and even look cooler in style.

Here’s how it works:

#1 Finalizing the Print Designs and Colors

Working with natural plant dyes for apparel printing is not easy. To begin with, you must set a clear picture of your custom t-shirt printing project. The vision of the project must be clearly defined, particularly with respect to the complexity of print designs and the choice of colors. You can begin by selecting the color palette. Most apparel printing companies prefer one solid color and choose the palette around it. Similarly, you can opt for finalizing the main solid color of your custom printed t-shirts. If you choose blue as the solid color, then your color palette includes turquoise, sky blue, tiffany, and similar hues.

Next, you need to finalize a unique design pattern for the designing of your custom t-shirts. This involves selecting the designs to be printed, selecting the areas where these designs would be printed, and assigning the different color codes to each component of these designs. For example, if you select a mosaic design for your project, it is important to sort out which color from your color palette shall go on each element of the mosaic design.

#2 Selecting the Right Dye Plants

This phase is the most important part of the natural dye printing of your custom t-shirts. Here, you need to choose the perfect dye plants for your project. Selection of dye plants is extremely tricky, and you have to consider a lot of factors, such as: 

  • print design complexities
  • printed areas
  • color palette
  • fabric quality
  • project budget

Dye plants are available in a variety of shades. For a vibrant red color, madder root plants can be used to extract natural dyes.  Similarly, you can select avocado pits for light pink color prints. Most of these dye plants are associated with one primary color, which is why you need to select the plant relevant to the solid color finalized in the first stage of this process. For example, if you’ve selected the color palette for your project around the solid color blue, then you can use indigo leaves or first-year woad rosettes for extracting the natural dyes.

You also need to take care that the dye plants can sustain the t-shirt printing techniques which require overdyeing or overnight dye baths. Such natural dyes plants can also offer a whole array of colors. For example, you can use chamomile or onion peels for yellow dye. You can also use weld for light yellow shades. Woad dyes can give you vibrant blue shades for your project.

#3 Organizing Your Dyes and Fabric Materials

Some natural dyes go well with certain fabrics. For example, cotton works well with high-fiber natural dyes. You also need to add mordant to the dyes. It is a substance that ensures the colors of your natural dyes bind perfectly with the fibers of your apparel materials. The mordant is a deciding factor that gets you the desired color on your custom t-shirt. The type of mordant depends on the type of natural dye and the cellulose content of the fabric material. For most projects, salt is used as an effective mordant for naturally dyeing the canvas of custom t-shirts.

#4 Readying the Final Product

Follow these steps to make your final product of custom t-shirts printed with natural dyes: 

  1. Use a ratio of half a cup of salt for 6 cups of water and keep your t-shirt soaked in this warm salty water for a whole night
  2. The following morning, rinse it and dry it as much as possible
  3. Fill hot water in a pot and keep enough space available for comfortable resting of t-shirt fabric (the pot must not overflow)
  4. Add your chosen dye (add more volume of dyes if you need vibrant shades of colors)
  5. Boil the water and allow it to sit till the desired color appears
  6. Remove the fabric and let it dry

 If you want to overdye some specific parts of the design, add more salt on the specified surface of fabrics. The overdyeing process offers various color combinations of colors. After drying up the t-shirts, rinse them in cold water and wash them separately by strictly using only a small amount of a gentle detergent.

 Now, you can enjoy your newly customized t-shirts, which not only feature some amazing botanical designs but are also colored with non-synthetic, completely eco-friendly dyes.