Upcycling Expert - Annie Temmink

Annie Temmink

Annie completed her BA in sculpture and math from Davidson College in North Carolina, and received a Thomas J Watson Foundation Fellowship to travel independently for twelve months studying fashion and textiles.  From Indonesia to Japan, India to Uganda and Tanzania, she worked with village women, dove through sprawling second-hand markets and explored fashion in the world’s biggest cities and smallest towns.  The scope of her studies took her from preparing plants for organic dyes to exploring the factories that produce clothing for brand name stores.

Much of Annie’s inspiration comes from common or unwanted materials whose wide availability sparked her interest in recycling materials six years ago. Now she transforms repurposed clothing into sculpture for solo exhibitions and larger installations. Her work catches attention including that of trend forecasting companies in New York and private collectors on the east coast. Annie looks forward to blogging about her experiences and showing you how to create fabulous projects (clothing, jewelry and beyond) with materials from Goodwill.

Annie currently designs and makes clothing and accessories (and dances like-a-fool) in Charlottesville, Virginia. To learn more and to see Annie's projects visit: www.artemmink.com

Sharpie® Dyeing

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Mar 13, 2013 1:06:00 PM
If you tried the ceramics project from last week, or if you are a typical American, you probably have a few Sharpies® lying around your house.  This week learn a great way to use those stray permanent markers to dye white clothing.  This technique is great for shirts, pants, headbands, dresses, ties- whatever you want.  So go stock up on whites at Goodwill, find your Sharpie® drawer and get started!

What you’ll need:

-White clothing/shoes/hats

-Permanent markers

-Rubbing alcohol

-Dropper or squeeze bottle


-Rubber bands


Sharpie dyeingFirst draw a design on your fabric with a marker. You can use one color, all the colors, or do something in between. The rubbing alcohol acts as a solvent for the Sharpie®, causing it to bleed into the fabric (think high school chemistry solvent extraction experiment).  With this in mind, you’ll want to create a design that allows the markers to bleed together in an interesting way. Better yet, try a few different ideas, and see what you like best. 

Sharpie dyeingA lot of people use simple circular designs that spread out into rings. You can also play with plant drawings, skulls, scribbles, dots, mandalas, or anything else you can think of (note that black Sharpies® will look purple in the finished product). Don’t forget St. Patrick’s Day is coming up (March 17th)- use different shades of green Sharpies® and for guys, why not get a pair of white pants and make your own green camo? Or draw other wild-green patterns. You’ll certainly bring the luck of the Irish with that. Try it with tank tops, shorts or boxers, too. Lots of different designs look great.

Sharpie dyeingOnce you’ve drawn your designs place the fabric on top of a cup, with the design in the center, and secure using a rubber band (this step allows the Sharpie® to bleed more evenly because the fabric will be taut.)

Instead of using cups and rubber bands, you can also put a piece of cardboard in between the layers of your garment.  This is much easier if you want all over color.

Sharpie dyeingSharpie dyingNext, use a dropper or squeeze bottle to transfer the rubbing alcohol to the fabric.  For circular designs, it works best to begin dropping rubbing alcohol in the center of the design (about 5-10 drops, or as many as you need to get the bleed width you want for your finished design).

Let dry. 

Once your shirts  are completely dry its a good idea to throw them into the dryer (or run an iron over them) to help set the ink before washing. Note that Sharpie® ink is alcohol based (allowing it to react in such a neat way with the rubbing alcohol) but because of this, it is not archival and it will fade when you wash it. The Sharpie® manufacturers recommend that you hand wash Sharpie® dyed clothing for best results, but over time (some more quickly than others) your designs will fade. Also, fabric ink Sharpies are not alcohol based, and thus will not react with the rubbing alcohol in the same manner.  But you can always try new designs if yours start to fade. This is still a fun summer project!

Goodwill’s got great raw material for you to play with and you’ve got the ink, so revamp some clothes and see what you think!

(Sorry, couldn’t resist the rhyme.) 

Topics: DIY, Upcycling, Upcycling Expert, Annie Temmink, Sharpie, fabric dyeing