Pimp my Rashguard DIY

Okay, so I’ve got a set of those fabric markers you can pick up at any craft store, or even at any big box store now. I remember the days when kids would use Sharpies to mark up their jeans and Keds with the Anarchy signs and “Non Conformist” graffiti just like everyone else. The irony was totally lost on the 6th graders. I just stuck with drawing “I heart Doogie Howser” on my binder. Yeah, that was a happy memory crasher when I became an adult….
Anyway, as an adult, and a surfer, I thought it would be fun to get artsy fartsy with one of my rash guards. I wanted to test if these markers would stay on Lycra and how they would draw.
I have two types of fabric markers (Tulip Brand and Sharpie Brand Fabric Markers), so I thought I’d try each on the rashguard to see if I’d get different results. I used a white rashguard and got some scrap cardboard to put between the layers of the rashguard in case of bleed though to the backside:

My supplies

For this project, I opted to use the black markers so they’d show up on the white. The marker tips are  definitely different as you can see:

The Tulip Brand Marker is on Top, the Sharpie Brand is on the Bottom

Drawing on Lycra is tricky. The fabric wants to pull against your marker, so it’s important to draw slowly to avoid errant drags on your pictures.
First, I made a design on the shoulder and upper sleeve of the rashguard using the Tulip brand marker. Making lines was slow, but making dots was quite easy, of course. The ink really didn’t bleed over itself, except were I got sloppy.

Next, I put a little matching design on the bottom right of the rashguard using the Sharpie Fabric Marker. The brush tip was more like a paintbrush, so it was tricky to get a crisp line, but could make a really flowy pattern, almost a watercolor design. However, these colors will bleed into one another, so keep that in mind.

Per the instructions, I allowed the images to dry completely for a full 24 hours.
Now, for the real test……
I washed this rashguard in the washing machine for 40 minutes on cold using liquid detergent. I even threw it in the dryer for 10 minutes just for fun.
Here’s the verdict:
The area I drew with the Tulip marker came out great, with the black color very strong, with almost no fading, and no bleeding:

The area I drew with the Sharpie fabric marker faded significantly, but didn’t bleed, at least:

I’m sure that any image drawn would fade over time, being exposed to the sun and saltwater, so make sure you make your images strong and make sure they stand out. A bit of fading would make for a desirable effect depending on the image you have in mind.
I guess I’m going to paint black stripes on the arms of my rashguards to make one of those crazy shark repellent thingies.

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