I used red wine as fabric dye, and here’s what happened:

We’ve all been in a situation where we took a leap of faith in the morning and threw on a crisp white article of clothing. After a couple of turns checking your fine self out in the mirror, you nod your head in approval and head out into the world, ready to slay in your fresh digs. You feel great, more confident than ever as you go throughout your day shining brighter than the sun itself. After a long day of work, you get home and open up your favorite bottle of wine: A Merlot that you’ve been waiting to indulge in for days. You tip your wine glass to your lips to put the stressful work day to rest, only to miss your mouth entirely, unintentionally decorating your shirt with wine. “Uh oh.”

I know I’m not the only one who has done this. (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do this fairly recently.) As I reflected on the clothing items I’ve ruthlessly tossed in the past because of their blemishes, I decided to try something new…What if I used red wine to dye an entire shirt? That way, when I spill more wine on it in the near future, I won’t even have to think twice about whether or not I want to keep it. Gen-i-us.

After digging through my closet for a white tee shirt, I sprinted to my local grocery store in a whirl of excitement so I could make my vision come to life. The following events are what went down as my inner wino met my inner fashionista:

First, I grabbed two bottles of wine. One to dye my shirt, another to consume and fuel my vision, obviously. I chose a Merlot to transform my top, but you can choose whichever red wine you feel represents you best. Nobody will know in the end, so I suggest you choose the cheapest option. The price of the wine will not change the quality of your dye. What matters is that you feel like the million bucks you are after putting on your creation.

With both bottles popped, I dumped the Merlot into a pot and placed it on the stove with the heat on high so the wine would come to a boil. The other bottle, a Sauvignon Blanc, went straight into a glass for my inspired self. Once the wine came to a boil, I turned the heat on low to reduce the wine to a simmer and placed my t-shirt in the pot. The next steps were easy: sit back, drink my other bottle of wine, and relax. I even considered writing a heads-up letter to the curators of New York Fashion Week, stating they may want to rethink their plan for the upcoming season because your’s truly is onto a trend that’s really hot.  

The steps that follow are where your own creativity and desires come into play. The premise is simple: the darker red you want your article of clothing to be, the longer you leave it in the wine. I decided to go for a lighter shade of pink, mostly because I’m impatient and wanted to see if my experiment actually worked. I figured an hour in the pot would be a good starting point. I set a timer and went to waiting.

After a twinkling alert from my phone I knew it was time to see what I had created. I removed my shirt from the pot and transferred it to the sink to run cold water through it to rid it of all the extra wine. Sure, red wine smells heavenly, but you don’t want to walk around giving people the wrong idea. After a thorough rinse, I hung my tee up outside to let it dry, giving it another few hours to air out.

“Tim Gunn would be so proud.” I thought to myself. I held my new shirt up to the sky, the sun backlighting my tee, revealing a perfect light maroon that I just know will surpass millennial pink in the trendiness department. Note: If the results aren’t exactly what you wanted, toss the tee back into your pot of wine! If it’s a little too dark for your taste, either try again or throw the shirt in the washer and dryer on the hottest settings to make it fade a bit.

Once you’re satisfied with your work of art, go out and own that shirt. Let people know how you made it, scream it from the rooftops! Pair your new wine tee with your favorite jeans and throw the evidence on the ‘gram. You’re basically a professional DIY-er now, you beautiful wino you.

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of winos with a passion for vino. With our amazing wine director at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

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