Help me dye a sweatshirt without damaging the decal?
October 21, 2012 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I bought a heavy light grey cotton sweatshirt with a plastic-y large round decal on the front. I want to dye the sweatshirt black but not mess up the decal. Any advice on how to do it? Complication: the sweatshirt is used and older.

I don't know much about sweatshirt decals, but the decal is plasticky. It is large, about a foot in diameter. The sweatshirt is used and the decal has some fading in places, so I'm concerned that when I dye the sweatshirt black the decal might soak up the ink, too.

I recently found this vintage sweatshirt that, other than color, is identical to Mr. Arnicae's old favorite sweatshirt that he wore out ten years ago, so I would go to pretty extreme lengths do pull this off correctly as an Xmas gift. (Extreme lengths that do not include keeping it that pale, spotty grey)

Thank you for any suggestions!
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
I recently dyed a light blue shirt with a similarly large decal on it olive green. The decal itself didn't take any of the dye but where it was cracked it did. In the end it looks exactly the same as previously, except for the color.
posted by missriss89 at 9:29 AM on October 21, 2012

Normally the stuff printed on cotton items won't take up any of the dye. Older, well-worn clothing tends to dye very well in my experience.
posted by pipeski at 10:38 AM on October 21, 2012

resist dying is what you may want to look into - coat the decal with something that will block the dye, like wax, and then melt the wax away after
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:07 AM on October 21, 2012

I suggest taking a good photo of the thing before you start - if it does come out badly, some quick graphics work could produce an image that you could take to a t-shirt printer and have a new shirt made up.
posted by emilyw at 11:23 AM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Itajime is the particular kind of resist dyeing that would probably work best here. Search for itajime supplies on Etsy and you can find shops like this; one of them might be able to cut you a plastic resist in the size and shape of the decal, or even have the right size in stock, though I think they're usually smaller.
posted by clavicle at 12:50 PM on October 21, 2012

Chiming in to say I'm 98% certain the dye will not affect any plastic-y areas.
posted by sarajane at 6:13 PM on October 21, 2012

unless there's something about the sweatshirt style itself that is unique or hard to find, I'd think cutting out the decal and sewing it onto a new dark sweatshirt would look better and last longer
posted by animalrainbow at 9:43 AM on October 22, 2012

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