Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jean Jacket

Jean Jacket
This is an alternative method with different and sometimes better results. It isn’t tie dye I think the proper term is boutique. After painting with wax use the proper solution of chlorine bleach mixed with water to turn the blue of your denim white, while the waxed part remains your base color or original fabric color. If you add too much bleach to the water the acid will eat a hole right through the cotton.

After bleaching you can leave it this way as the jacket is or dye it again a different color or add more wax to a pattern and dye again or a combination of the two. Where there is sufficient wax they dye will not penetrate as well.

And that is approximately how I made my jean jacket in circa 1987. I wore it all around campus and have not seen anything even close to it in 23 years. I would not tell anyone how I made it. Some people in bars wanted to fight me because I would not tell them, because I was Mr. Cool and didn’t want to share my secret.

I have added a link to a small store for products relavent to this project.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy
Originally published at:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Dye Pants

How to Dye Pants
Buy the stone washed kind that are lighter in color because they dye better. For my pants I used two green liquid dyes of different colors mixed, and some straight color dyes. A word of caution, I tried to dye blue jeans with brown and either I did not use enough dye or something because they turned out purple. Wouldn’t have been bad if I was a girl. Lighter colors did not seem to work well either on dark colored blue jeans. The green worked very well on light colored blue jeans and so did the black.

I find Levis Jeans to be a more comfortable fit for me than any other, and I have always come back to prefer them. I like the relaxed fit type. In my size there are few color choices.
Again lighter color jeans with darker colored dyes work the best. Ritt does sell some products to remove the color or dye from a garment, but I have not tried them. Maybe I should have, so I have a pair of purple like jeans who cares. I live with my mistakes so as to be reminded of them and not make them again.

I have added a link to a small store where you will find products relavent to this article.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy
Originally published at:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Fag Shoes

The Fag Shoes
The black high-top Reeboks with a Velcro strap.
I was in high school, it was circa 1983 and subscribed to a men’s health magazine. Everyone in that magazine wore those black high-top Reeboks with a Velcro strap.
So I bought a pair. Quite comfortable they were.
In gym class, we’ll call him Bert; he comes up to me and says, “What are you doing wearing fag shoes.” He was a foot taller than I and had a metal plate in his head. I was offended.
The next day he calls them fag shoes again. This went on for two weeks.
Finally I spoke up for myself, “I’m not a fag. These are quite popular. I saw them in a men’s magazine.”
The day after that in gym class he asked me very nicely, “Where did you get those?”
I told him whatever shoe or department store it was I can’t remember anymore.
Anyway the next day after that I see him wearing a brand new pair of them.
I confronted him. “Listen you called them fag shoes, insulted me and now you buy them.”
I made it a point never to forget this story. The lesson I learned is not to be afraid to dare to be different. I was the first to wear those shoes at school.

Thomas Paul Murphy
Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Blog Summary


In summary what you will end up with will be unique and truly a work of art. And something others will likely envy. So get ready for it. See my introduction story for more on this.

Some people have the mentality that everything in life should be clean lines and neat and proper and in black and white. (They will be most envious.)

Have confidence in yourself. If you truly like what you have created you might be a trend setter.

Are you an art or a science? I would argue that the act of creation is an art and therefore you are. That is until all arts can be strictly measured, categorized and labeled, and therefore do not exist and therefore all we have is cold hard calculating science.

Dare to be you

Dare to be true

Dare to change the world for the good

A clean and friendly place as it should

And I dare you to try this project and document the process and the reactions of other people. See if it is similar to my story.

God Bless Those Who Think

Thomas Paul Murphy

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Dyeing Old Pants

Old Pants

If you have an old pair of grease spotted pants they are the perfect medium to use to try to make a pattern on. If they still fit but are too dirty for Sunday clothes then they are a good candidate. On a pair like these I tried a green underwater seaweed pattern and it turned out rather well.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy
Originally published at:

How to dye the Material

How to dye the material:

Follow the directions on the bottle or box of your Rit dye. But this is how I did it. Place a 12 quart sauce kettle in your basement sink and fill about 2/3 to ¾ full with hot tap water. Add ½ cup or so of salt, a tablespoon of laundry detergent as a surfactant. A surfactant allows the dye to flow into the smaller fibers or pores of the fabric better. Add your powder or liquid dye. Rit has more colors of dye than a rainbow has and some can be mixed such as greens. Immerse your shirts in the dye in the dye, one by one. Wearing your rubber gloves gently move them around so that they soak thoroughly. The more garments you add the less the color intensity of the color will be by the end. You won’t see much difference in the water color but will notice on the garments.

When the garments are removed the dye can be set with a cup or so of vinegar, in a basin of water.

At this point I like to hang them up to dry. They will drip dye so put down a tarp to protect floor.

When they dry I wash them in the clothes washer by themselves, with a minimal amount of detergent.

For the T-shirts I used black Dye. The process does tend to shrink them so with T-shirts I bought them one size bigger than I usually wear.

I like these T-Shirts better than a plain white T-shirt. They are artistic and an impression of myself. I was going for the effect of the strong thug dock men type from Batman and Robin episodes when I picked this pattern.
I have added a link to a small store where you will find products relavent to this project.
Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Originally published at:

My Fashion Store

I have included this store to help you visual the products and buy some gear to get you started.

How to Make These T-Shirts

How to Make These T-Shirts:

I bought a 5 pack of 3 XL Hanes T-Shirts and a bottle of Black Rit Dye. I was not able to find much in the way of other colors for Rit Dye so I bought the Green colors for the faded blue jeans off of Rits website; I searched all around the city too.

T- Shirts Instructions

Heat wax to around melting and back off heat just a little. Protect your lungs from aspiration of the hot wax with adequate ventilation or a respirator mask. I often plug my nose with cotton balls to keep from getting a sinus infection when working with chemicals.

I made these T-shirts using a template to draw the stripes. There are many different methods you could use to paint the hot wax on the shirt and get a relatively straight line. The method I used was to clamp the shirt with a layer of cardboard inside between my work bench using a length of bed frame angle iron and some spring based hand clamps. If you do not put the cardboard in the shirt the wax will bleed through and the pattern on the back will not be consistent with the front.

Once you have found a way to control how the hot wax will flow you simply paint where you don’t want the dye to color the fabric with the hot wax from your heating pot and your shortened bristle paint brush. The shortened brush has less whip and is not as likely to splatter.
At this link you will find a small store with products relevant to this project.
Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Originally published at:

Dyeing With Wax

Dying with Wax
Materials needed:
A. Box of Canning wax
B. 2”, 1” or smaller paint brushes, take a scissors and cut the bristles down to about 1” so they do not flex as much.
C. Something to continuously heat the wax to its melting point in at a controlled temperature. I used an old coffee pot with a knob that controls heat or an old griddle that has a knob on it too control heat. You might find something suitable at a rummage sale or a discount department store. The important point it has the ability to control the temperature so that it does not burn and yet stays melted. If it gets to hot it smokes too much and can burn.
D. A clean area in the basement wash basin
E. Some Vinegar
F. Some Salt
G. An area free from fire hazards
H. A 4’x2’ melamine board makes a good solid color cover for your work bench top and is good for working on things that require fine discernment.
I. Some cardboard to put in the inside of the materials so that your pattern in hot wax does not bleed through to the fabric on the other side of the garment.
J. An iron to remove wax at the end or later on. In effect you put a towel under the garment and heat the wax until it melts out of the garment and into the towel.
K. Some rubber gloves to keep from dyeing your hands

I have small store where you will find products relevant to this project.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Originally published at:


About Me

My photo
Welcome to my Blogs. My name is Thomas Murphy and I love the forest and wildlife areas of Wisconsin and would like to share my thoughts and the pictures I have taken of the natural areas of Wisconsin. Come share in my collection of what I feel to some of the finest scenes and images of the forests, lakes, rivers and marshes that Wisconsin has to offer. I like to go to pristine and secluded areas where nature resides quietly and I feel the resulting “lost” images are profoundly unique. I am usually “in the moment” when I take these pictures. When I say in the moment I mean a sense of excitement often precedes what my eye captures through the camera. I never stage these shots but seem to be in the right place and time when I shoot them. And when I transfer them from my camera and view them on my computer screen I realize a sense of surrealism that resonates with me yet again to the time they were taken and exemplify the beauty of nature. Please peruse my sites and experience the beauty of being there as I did.