DIY Solar Eclipse T-Shirt Tutorial

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Did you see the solar eclipse?!? Tell me you saw it! It was amazing!


DIY solar eclipse t-shirt tutorial

My husband and I would not be offended if you called us "nerds" or "geeks." We fit the profile! If it has to do with math or science, we're there!


2017 solar eclipse



My husband found out last week that he was going to be traveling for business on the day of the solar eclipse. After some calculations, we discovered that he would be driving right through the path of totality at the perfect time! We quickly made arrangements so the boys and I could go with him!

Did you know there will be another total solar eclipse in the United States in 2024? Well, the paths of this year's eclipse and the 2024 eclipse actually cross each other. The spot that will get totality twice in seven years? Carbondale, Illinois. That left only one logical place for us to go!

And if you were going to the Solar Eclipse Crossroads of America, you would want to make sure you were dressed in style!

We grabbed some cheap black shirts and a spray bottle at Wal-Mart, and I made it happen!

DIY solar eclipse t-shirt tutorial

DIY Solar Eclipse T-Shirt Tutorial

Note: Working outside is best. Do not put bleach in a used spray bottle and do not use the spray bottle afterwards for anything but bleach. Wearing gloves and clothes that you don't care if they get stained are advised as well.

What you need: black shirt, bleach, spray bottle, paper plate, cardboard the size of the shirt


DIY solar eclipse t-shirt


1. Pour a small amount of bleach into the spray bottle. Adjust nozzle to be more mist than stream.

2. Place cardboard inside the shirt. Center shirt on the cardboard and smooth out any wrinkles. (Three of the shirts I used were nearly 100% cotton. One shirt was 95% rayon. All four worked well!)

3. Lay a paper plate upside down in the center of the shirt. (I used a large foam plate for the adult shirts and a small foam plate for the kid shirts.)


DIY solar eclipse t-shirt

4. Spray bleach around the edge of the plate from about 6-8" away.


DIY solar eclipse t-shirt
DIY solar eclipse t-shirt


5. Wait just a couple minutes. The bleach works quickly, so it won't take long for the eclipse to appear!

DIY solar eclipse t-shirt

6. When you are satisfied with the color of the eclipse, work very quickly to remove the paper plate and cardboard from the shirt, then rinse the shirt thoroughly in water.

7. Throw the shirt in with a load of laundry to wash and dry.


DIY solar eclipse t-shirts

I made matching shirts for all of us to wear. It took about 20 minutes to make all four shirts! (I don't think I've ever shared a picture of my family on my blog! You know this must really be a special occasion!)


We left Monday morning, stopping only for Moon Pies at a gas station.


Moon pies for the solar eclipse 2017
Once in town, we found a great spot with a shade tree and had a picnic while enjoying the eclipse. There were well over 100 people where we were. As soon as we arrived, people started complimenting us on our shirts! It was amazing how many people came over to ask us where we got them!

I really wanted to capture the eclipse on camera, but I am a complete camera rookie. I always shoot in auto mode. I've never even touched the manual button on my phone (an LG V20). I had zero confidence I would be able to capture it. I held my phone up. Just as expected. I put the solar glasses over the lens and zoomed in as far as I could. Better, but still not great. I knew if I had any chance of capturing it, I'd have to switch to the dreaded manual mode. I stared at all the options. I picked ISO and started reducing the number. The image was getting clearer! I went all the way to the lowest setting, and by golly, it worked! The images on my camera looked just like what I was seeing through the solar glasses! (All of these images are straight off my phone. No editing)

2017 solar eclipse

As totality neared, I took pictures nonstop. I wanted to capture every moment of it!

2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse

Right on time, day turned to night, and we were able to witness totality!

2017 solar eclipse totality
2017 solar eclipse totality
2017 solar eclipse totality

As totality was nearing the end, I again began taking nonstop photos in hopes of capturing the diamond ring effect. Once complete, I was elated to discover that I had indeed captured it!

2017 solar eclipse diamond ring effect

Then just as it started, the view becomes very different once even a speck of sunlight gets past.

2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse
2017 solar eclipse

The eclipse was amazing! Truly an indescribable experience. If you are anywhere near the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse, it is worth the effort to make it there!

2017 solar eclipse shadows

As we began packing up to leave Carbondale, everyone shared the same goodbye, "See you in seven years!"

9 comments:

  1. Your shirts are brilliant! I never would have thought to use bleach for the color. So clever!

    Your pictures are stunning. I'm so glad you got to be there, and that you figured out how to capture it. I'm also always in automatic for any pictures I take. Half the time I use my phone and my camera in hopes that one of them will come out better than the other. I should probably learn more, but when???

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  2. Love the shirts! I had the same problem with my phone camera but didn't bother to experiment like you did. Your results were worth effort. We drove 4 hours through solid rain and when we reached our destination, we had to storm track and Google Map our way to a clear spot with just a few minutes to spare. We pulled into a farm lane and had a great view. Definitely worth the ride. (My husband and I are both Math majors...go figure.)

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  3. Very cool shirts! And I love your pictures. I didn't know how to take any with my phone. I'll be ready for 2024!

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  4. Brilliant idea! Love the family photo. The eclipse photos are pretty epic, too. The last one is my fav!

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  5. Your photos are totally awesome. We didn't have the totality but it was still a wonderful experience. I've bleached with leaves but hadn't thought about the eclipse. I'll have to do that for my niece and her husband (he works for NASA) since they fought the traffic to get to a spot in Oregon. Thanks for the tutorial!!!

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  6. Very cool TShirts and how awesome you were able to drive to get to a point of totality. My family lived in the path of the eclipse this year so we were super lucky to be able to go and see it, too.

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  7. Great shirts! Wasn't in the path this time, but watched what we could see. It was fun! Glad you got some pictures too. The professional ones are great, but I always lke my own a little better.

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  8. I love these shirts! We were only about an hour from totality and made the drive and loved it. No obvious spot for us in 2024 but we're starting to think about where we could go. Now we may have cool shirts whenever we get there!

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  9. I'll review this blog as An and it demonstrates how much exertion has been put into this.
    omconstruction solar panel

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