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A reader these days asked what to do with his developing series of remarkable-but-unwearable live performance tees:

“I love collecting old concert tour t-shirts from eBay and have a million great ones but they’re all really stiff. Is there anything I can do to make them look cooler and more vintage-y in my bathtub, or a bucket or something? Using relatively cheap supplies to do it? Thanks!”

First of all, what a great obsession to have! I mean, if you’re going to horde anything, it might as well be sweet vintage tees. Way better than those creepy dolls that look like Jackie O or Princess Di like my old neighbor had all over her house. Or, liiike, keeping all your fingernail clippings in jars in your basement.

There’s virtually a quite simple method to speed the growing old system in your t-shirts that doesn't contain your tub OR a bucket. And I am in no way a “cunning” character, so I promise it’s clean.


One word: sandpaper!

You can sand some a long time into your t-shirts without too much effort. At the hardware shop, look for paper classified “one hundred grit” or heavier. Grit just refers to the scale of the particles embedded inside the sandpaper, but how badass does that sound? “Excuse me sir, I want more grit.” Gah, I love it. Anyways…

To begin, flip the t-shirt internal out and deliver it a terrific rub down along with your sandpaper (maybe mild some candles first? Put on a bit temper tune?). The sandpaper frays the fibers, making the blouse feel softer and more worn-in, with out affecting the printed photo on the the front. So don’t worry, that candy Van Halen brand is secure.

If your purpose is simply to make the shirt sense thinner, this need to do the trick. If you want the the front to look like it’s visible its fair proportion of motion too, flip it right-side out and repeat the procedure.

If you’ve were given an electric powered sander at home (and surely, who doesn’t?), you can use that to make the procedure pass even faster. Just be careful to use a light contact, or you’re certain to move proper thru your tee.

A greater extreme thought I've heard, but never attempted – bury the t-shirt in the yard (or in a potted plant) for some days or even weeks for a few, uhh, natural distressing? But then you definitely’ll genuinely need to wash it. Sorry no longer sorry.

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