A&E News

Do It Yourself: Make Galaxy T-Shirts in Your Dormroom

Trying to be “fashion forward” isn’t the easiest thing to do on a college student’s budget. It’s hard to walk through a mall, flip through a magazine or even watch TV without seeing something we want. Now, with spring break only a couple weeks away, the ache of our empty pockets only hurts that much more. However, students can actually recreate the same expensive fashions at less than half the cost. With some easy step-by-step directions, household items and inexpensive tools, it’s easy to take inspiration and turn it into a piece of wearable art. To put our theory to the test, we searched Pinterest and found amazing how-tos and decided to try our hand at making Galaxy shirts. These are going for prices of up to $50 on Etsy and are perfect for any sci-fi nerds looking for something awesome to wear that they can make themselves. It’s important to note that this same method we used on T-shirts and tank tops can also be used on jackets, dresses, leggings and jeans. They look pretty fantastic.


  • Shirt: $5-$8
  • Paint: $.74
  • Paint Pallet: $.99
  • Paint Brushes: $2
  • Bleach: $2
  • Spray Bottle: $1
  • Newspaper: Free
  • Sponges: $3
  • Total Cost: $15

Total Time: 2 hours preparing and treating shirt (1.5 hours painting)


Set down a protective layer like newspaper or plastic wrap onto a flat surface. We did this on the floor of a dorm room.


Take the spray bottle and fill it up halfway with water and halfway with bleach.


Spray the shirt. When spraying, try and create both concentrated areas and lightly sprinkled areas. After you’ve sprayed a few times, wait a couple minutes for the bleach spots to start showing so you know where to spray next. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to bleach the entire shirt. Less is more when you get to adding the paint.


Let the shirt dry for about an hour.


Rinse the shirt in cold water.


Let the shirt dry again. Hang dry, or if the tag instructs, toss in the dryer.

Kaela Bernardino/The Minaret


Start with purple paint (mix red and blue if you don’t have purple already). All the paint should be watered down. It’s hard to say when it’s the right consistency because different levels will have different effects. We added a teaspoon of water at a time until we thought it looked right and adhered to the shirt the way we wanted it to. Take a sponge and get some paint on it. Then dab the paint along the edges of the bleach spots. Painting these shirts isn’t a precise art. We focused on the large bleach spots first. Then, when the paint became low and watery, we would dab around the rest of the shirt, often slightly darkening sprinkled bleach spots. This effect creates a ghostly quality that really adds to the “galaxy” effect. Leave any leftover paint in the pallet. You’ll be going back and forth between colors.


Move on to the blue, but sponge along the edges of the purple paint. Overlapping is fine. You don’t want it to look so literal like rings of a tree trunk. Galaxies have a very wispy, ghostly quality.


Use a warm color like red or pink around the inside edges of the bleach spots if they came out a warm hue. It they came out grey, start by using very watered down white paint around the middle and work your way to the edge. Then introduce pink, orange, yellow or red. After whichever method you start with, blend the inner colors out into the purple and blue. With any leftover warm colors, mimic the same ghostly quality by, for example, dabbing your sponge in with a watered down orange color and then in the blue or purple.


Blend the paints gently together with either a wide-thin-fanned paintbrush or with a toothbrush. We also used wet sponges with leftover paint on them to create layers of colors and then we did the same thing again after adding stars. This creates depth. A piece of damp paper towel works as well.


Now, onto the stars. The directions we used said to use a pencil to create little white stars, but our first attempt proved that being too careful didn’t really work. So, with a tooth brush or paint brush, we gently dabbed them in white paint and flung little speckles at our shirts. That creates really authentic looking star clusters. I also dabbed a bit in white and again in teal, then flung paint. Like in the last step, you can take watered down sponges with leftover paint on them and dab over the white speckles to add depth.


If you’re looking at your shirt and you’re thinking that the shirt needs some more color here or there, maybe a ring like Saturn around one of your paint quasars or other final touches, just add them. If you look at one spot and think it’d look better as a shooting star, then make it so. It can be whatever you want your galaxy to look like.


Let it dry for about an hour. There will more than likely be some bleach spots that soaked through to the back of the shirt. If you feel so inclined, you can repeat the above steps and paint the back after the front has dried.


Wear it! When washing the shirt, do so inside out just like you would any other graphic T-shirt.

Photos Top  to Bottom: Mr_Mo_74/Photobucket, Dale_Asher/Photobucket, marlonc_photo/Photobucket, eastcoastdirect/Photobucket, Kaela Bernardino/The Minaret

Kaela Bernardino can be reached at kaela.bernardino@spartans.ut.edu

Brianna Kwasnik can be reached at brianna.kwasnik@spartans.ut.edu

1 comment

  1. BREAKING NEWS! All pay attention! Once in a life time offer!
    Klark Kent states this is such an excellent idea that he has raised enough money to have a real star shipped to the university. This star will only be offered to honors students and will be a one time offer ONLY! This star will be the size of a base ball, he claims and will be a bright white color. This will make for the best galaxy shirt on campus. Klark Kent also stated that the one who gets this will have the opertunity to take a picture with Mr. Kent himself. This is an excellent opertunity that will be offered only once here at UT and should definitely be taken advantage off. The shipment will be available in the university post office March 15 at 3:30 am. Come all and experience what it feels like to be a real star!


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