We all have one. That one t-shirt that is perfectly worn in, wonderfully soft, faded in all the right spots, and fits better than any other shirt in your closet. Vintage t-shirts are essential to any wardrobe, but sometimes it’s hard to find the perfect one when you’re out shopping. Do not worry. Seriously! There are plenty of ways to turn a brand new shirt into a garment that looks like you’ve been wearing it for years. (In the good way, of course. Not like in a stinky way.) To help you out, we’ll outline three great ways to give your brand new tee a vintage look:
1. Use Sandpaper
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One simple way to add distress to your shirt is to use sandpaper or a file to create worn spots on the tee. Just think of the places your old shirts are a little more faded due to natural wear and tear: the underarms, the neckline, the hems, and, if there is one, the design. Make sure to not file through the fabric itself, just distress it enough that the fibers begin to fray. After you have sanded to your heart’s content, throw that tee into the wash like usual.
- TIP: Be sure to start small as far as sandpaper-ing goes. You can always add more wear to the shirt, but if you file a big hole into the front that you didn’t want, you’re stuck with it.
- TIP: Washing and drying will cause any small holes to grow bigger over time.
- TIP: Use fine-grit sandpaper.
2. Tea-Dye Your Shirt
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Another surefire way to make your shirt look older than it really is is to replicate years of drips, spills, and other stains. Easy! Soaking your shirt in a big pot of black tea can give your garment an aged, vintage look. Simply Bring a pot of water to a boil, remove from heat, and let the tea steep for 5-10 minutes. (Use one bag of tea for every cup of water.) Remove the bags and let your shirt soak in the tea for about ten minutes. If you would like the stain to be darker, keep the shirt in there longer. When you’re happy with the shade, take the shirt out and rinse with cold water.
TIP: Tea -dying works best for light colored shirts.TIP: If you want some extra dark stains, leave a few of the tea bags in the pot with the t-shirt. The spots on the fabric that touch the tea bag will be extra-dark!
3. Spray With Bleach
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We already covered making your lighter shirts darker to make them look aged, but what about fading your dark shirts? Bleach it! Fill a spray bottle with one part bleach and three parts water. Soak your shirt in water, lay it on a flat surface (preferably outside!), and start spraying. Let your shirt air dry in the sunlight to speed up the fading process. After your shirt is the color you want, wash and dry it in your laundry machine.
- TIP: Bleach is potent, so be sure to not get any on what you don’t want stained. Wear gloves and goggles and do this project in a ventilated area.
To see all of our vintage t-shirts, shop here!