A burnout T-shirt is made using a technique called devor , or fabric etch. It is produced by destroying some of the material in a fabric with chemicals, leaving patterns of sheer, translucent fabric in the garment. The T-shirt used in this technique must be made with a combination of cotton and a man-made fiber, such as a cotton and polyester blend. The chemicals will burn away the cotton fibers in the areas it is applied, leaving whatever patterns you desire.
1. Wash a cotton polyester T-shirt to remove any dirt or debris that may impede with the chemical process.
2. Prepare your work station by laying at least five layers of newspaper down on a table or countertop. Cover the newspaper and the surface with a plastic tablecloth. Lay the T-shirt down and place a large cotton towel inside the T-shirt so the acid does not bleed through to the other side of the shirt.
3. Draw your design on your T-shirt using tailor’s chalk, leaving at least a half-inch of space between the lines of your design. The idea is to make thin lines that you can trace with the paste to create a pattern in the shirt without making large holes.
4. Put on safety goggles, an apron, a dust mask and rubber gloves. The chemicals in the devor paste are acidic and are a toxic lung irritant.
5. Apply the paste to your design using the tip of a foam brush. Go slowly and apply only to the areas you want the design to show. Do one side of the T-shirt, let it dry, then do the other side. Follow the directions on the paste container for drying times.
6. Wash the T-shirt again to remove all the loose fibers. Trim any hanging fibers with small scissors.