Why Tiktok Can Be Your Quarantine Escape

It seems like during this time of quarantine, Tiktok is taking over everyone’s screen time. I am definitely not a stranger to its addictive qualities and I will wholeheartedly admit that I spend far too much time on the app myself. However, there can be some benefits from perusing your For You Page once you have finished your schoolwork for the day. There are plenty of diy (do-it-yourself) videos on the app that can spark creativity while cooped up inside with items that are already lying around the house. There are plenty of tiktokers who have posted tutorials on things from making new recipes, to designing your own clothes, to experimenting with new photography ideas.

First, I took on the challenge of designing my own t-shirts. A few different videos by different creators began popping up on my For You Page, a page curated based on other videos you have liked while spending time on the app, showing how to make your own iron-on decals. I decided to test it out on an old sweatshirt, starting by unattaching its front pocket, cropping it just slightly, and then proceeding to find the decal that I wanted to attach to it. After searching for about a half an hour, I decided to go with a blue and yellow retro MTV logo.

By watching and following the directions in one of the aforementioned tiktoks, I successfully printed the logo, cut it out, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and placed parchment paper over it. I ironed it onto the top-left corner of my sweatshirt for five minutes straight, allowing the plastic to melt into the sweatshirt so that it would stick on. Once the five minutes were up, I could not believe how happy I was with the result. However, I wore it outside in the rain and realized that the rain made the ink from the logo smudge, meaning it unfortunately was not going to be laundry-safe.

I used this technique on two other plain, old t-shirts that I dug up from my clothes draws. One was white with pink accents around the neck and arms so I decided to add a pink, orange, and black monarch butterfly decal that I found on Google images to the very front middle of the shirt. The other t-shirt was a salmon-pink color and I settled upon adding a rainbow Vans logo to the front left corner. I am obsessed with the look of the shirts and cannot wait to wear them, yet I will most likely have to end up re-ironing new decals if I want to wear them more than once.

Next up I attempted to bleach tie-dye an old long sleeve blue shirt that I discovered while going through my winter clothes. Again, I had seen a variety of tiktoks where people bundled up their sweatshirts and sweatpants with rubber bands and sprayed them with bleach and was obsessed with the results that they had reached. I began by wetting the shirt in my bathroom sink and ringing it out. Then, I used a fork to twist the front middle of the shirt and wrapped it around itself in a tight circle, securing that with elastic bands. I haphazardly bundled up the arms and did the same thing as I had for the body of the shirt, making sure that it was all as secure as possible.

I brought the shirt outside and basically soaked the entire thing in pure bleach. It started raining shortly after this, so I carried it inside my screened-in porch and let it sit overnight to dry on a piece of cardboard. By mid-afternoon the next day I unwrapped the shirt since it was almost fully dry. The results were even better than I could have imagined, the swirl on the front formed perfectly white against the blue shirt with just the right amount of blue to bleach ratio. I would definitely recommend trying this with any old shirts that are worn or need a fun update.

My next tiktok inspiration came in the form of diying jeans. This also included bleach, so I decided to try it the same day as my tie-dyed shirt. I combined a few videos I had seen: ones where one leg of the pants was bleached while the other remained dark denim and ones where the tiktoker painted stars all over their desired pair of pants. The jeans that I chose were a much darker wash than those that I saw others working with, so I decided that by adding white stars to the opposite side that I was planning on bleaching, it would even out the light to dark contrast between the two legs.

I stuffed the unbleached leg of the jeans into an old plastic shopping bag so that it would not get hit with the spray bottle and began saturating both sides of my desired pant leg. Once I felt that it was fully covered, I let the pants bask in the sun for a little over an hour before going back and applying more bleach to the areas that seemed to be hesitating to turn colors. I ended up having to migrate the jeans inside just like my shirt, draping them over a small, old step ladder within my porch.

Once they were fully dry the next day, I used a small bottle of white fabric paint that I re-discovered while digging through my craft box to begin painting the stars on the opposite leg. The smell of the bleach and paint mixed together was pretty strong, but I pushed through it because I was so determined for the final result. After the stars were all in place, after meticulously drawing and filling them in by hand, I finally rinsed the bleach out and hung them to dry.

While I am happy with the result, I am sad to say that they look more like an American flag than I would have liked. I plan on going back and adding smaller stars in between the bigger ones that I've already painted. The jeans also seemed to have deteriorated in a few areas due to the harsh bleach, but not so much that it’s a huge problem when I go to wear them.

Lastly, getting away from more clothes designing, I decided to try the tiktok trend of taking a mirror outdoors to take pictures with. My vision was simple yet very vivid in my mind: I wanted to capture the wildlife and the blue sky around me while making it seem as if the mirror was meant to be a part of it. I found an old, beveled, full body length mirror with a detached white frame in my grandma’s “tea house” which was perfect for the job. I dragged it out, sprayed it down with vinegar, and cleaned it as best as I could.

For the first round of pictures that I captured, I leaned the mirror up against a tree and sat down in front of it. The frame leaned on it, slightly off center, making it look almost organic to the scene. I sat down in a patch of green leaves and small violet flowers, the rest of the year overflowing with various wildflowers all around. Once I had gotten a few images that I was satisfied with, I placed the mirror down on a small path through the yard. I proceeded to take pictures almost as if I was floating above the mirror, capturing the blue sky and dark tree branches cutting through it.

The outdoor mirror pictures were by far my favorite TikTok inspired activity that I took part in. Each undertaking was time-consuming yet fun and gave me new inspiration for getting outside and being more creative with the excess amount of free time that I found on my hands. I cannot wait to find more trends and videos on the app to do and I highly recommend finding inspiration from TikTok. Instead of just watching the comedy and dance videos that it provides for us, spiraling into a black hole of time that we lose track of, I like to look at the app as more of an ingenuity for getting in touch with your creative side.