Preserving an Autographed T-Shirt

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If you do not wish to frame the t-shirt and never wear it, there are some ways to try and preserve the autograph. This page offers some helpful suggestions.


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November 2, 2019

I accidentally washed a T shirt that had been autographed with Sharpie and now the autographs are barely visible. Any suggestions on how to make them more visible so I can embroider the autographs on?


November 2, 20190 found this helpful
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Since you are going to embroider over the autograph why not purchase a pen that has washable ink and go over the autographs as closely as possible so you can see the lines to embroider.
This type of pen can be purchased at craft stores and probably could find one at Target, Walmart, or online but be sure to get a fine to medium tip so the lines will be narrow.

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November 3, 20190 found this helpful
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You can hold the shirt up to the window on a bright day so you can best see what is left of the signatures to trace. I used to use this method quite often to make "transfers". It should work for you as well.


If you have tailor chalk you can use that to trace the names and then do the embroidery and it will wash right off.

If you don't have tailor chalk, there are special pens you can buy like this one called Temporary Fabric Markers. You can use that and then embroider over and it will wash out the ink when you are done and wash it. The pens may give more control than the chalk.

Since this is something that is going to be washed, I strongly suggest washing you thread first so it doesn't bleed or shrink (that is provided the floss you are using is not preshrunk and has a promise of being bleed free.

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May 14, 2018

So my 11 year old got his jersey signed at the Richmond Flying Squirrels by Aramis Garcia (catcher) and he is really scared if he washes it the signature will come off. So will it be safe?


May 14, 20180 found this helpful
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I'd put the Jersey's in a Display Case Frame.

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May 16, 20180 found this helpful
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so apparently you are not the only one asking about this


3 things that sound interesting are

- when you DO wash it, hand wash it gently and not scrubbing too hard, and hang dry

- some advocate soaking the garment in a solution mixed with 1 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water. Apparently works to keep bathing suits colorfast (though this seems to only work to keep colours from interacting with swimming pool chlorine)

- the most interesting idea was this: "Get hold of a sheet of ink-jet t-shirt transfer paper and cut it out a little larger than the autograph then iron it in place, peeling off the backing sheet when you have done.

For extra durability, use it on the back of the t-shirt to stop it leaching out from behind."

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February 19, 2017

Washing a shirt that has been autographed can be risky. Depending on the type of ink used for the signature there are some helpful hints in this page.


This is a page about washing an autographed shirt.

washing machine

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March 10, 2007

I have a new t-shirt that has been autographed with a sharpie pen. How can I keep the autographs from washing out every time I launder the shirt?


Melanie from Eugene, OR


Preserving An Autographed T-shirt

Maybe a clear fabric paint if they make it. I would ask at the craft store.

By Laura

Preserving An Autographed T-shirt

You know how you can get those iron on transfers that you print your own pictures on your computer then iron on to a shirt? Maybe you could just iron it on without printing anything on it. You would still have to be careful about washing and not put it in the dryer cause they will crack and peel if you do, but it might preserve your shirt for a while longer. Otherwise, I'd frame the shirt and not wear it at all. (08/30/2006)

By Carla Bledsoe

Preserving An Autographed T-shirt

When you wash it, on rare occasions, wash it inside out, but first go over it with an iron. If it fades feel free to carefully touch it up with a sharpie, no one will know! (12/30/2006)


By Bryan

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