Whether it was ripping tights, cutting up an ugly tee or sandpapering holes into a pair of old jeans, we all have memories of trying to "DIY" something. Usually, it started with stumbling across a YouTube tutorial that made creating a "distressed" off-the-shoulder shirt look deceptively easy, only to result in a tattered mess of bleach spots and fucked up fringe going straight into the trash. Unless you’re Eric Sedeño, that is.
Better known as @ricotaquito, the TikTok star is beloved for his unparalleled storytelling ability and Love Island impressions, always delivered with plenty of giggles and a big smile. In the past year though, he’s also begun to go viral for his DIY dye projects, which see him using a kit from Rit Dye to create sweaters that are pretty on-point dupes of more expensive brands like Urban Outfitters and Balenciaga.
guys this was my first time dyeing something please don’t judge me♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists
Maybe that’s because Sedeño has had a lot of practice, as someone who "grew up doing crafts and making stuff" with his mom. So when the pandemic triggered a "sort of Gen Z revival" of DIY clothing, the art director and illustrator decided to keep experimenting with his box of dyes, especially since it gave him a break from his computer screen.
"The reason I've started dying was because I was trapped in my house. I was working from home and felt so tied to my desk and my computer," Sedeño said, adding that it was nice to find a creative outlet where he could be more hands-on and less particular about the end results.
"[With a DIY project] I never know how it's gonna turn out. Whereas, if I were designing something, I would make it perfect," he explained. "It's just fun to kind of mess around and be silly and make jokes about not knowing what I'm doing."
A few of Sedeño’s documented dye jobs have turned out less than perfect, such as an infamous green sweater his fans have turned into an ongoing joke in his comments. And while that particular piece "wasn’t that bad" in the social media star’s eyes, he acknowledged there was one recent project that did need some help from the pros.
Back in December, Sedeño received a pair of "very comfy" but very ugly Snapchat sweatpants reminiscent of something you'd see at a Phish concert. So in a moment of inspiration, he decided to experiment with overdyeing by attempting to turn both the sweats and said green sweater black.
"I didn’t have a concrete plan where I was like, 'This is exactly how I want them to look.’ I was just like, ‘Let’s see how it goes,'" he said, explaining that his only goal was to make the "really bright" colors a tad more muted. Except the results ended up being a little lackluster, leading Rit Dye itself to send Sedeño an email inviting him to Chicago for a private lesson with resident dye expert, Helena Kim.
There, Sedeño ended up documenting the tutorials alongside Kim, who taught him more about the science of dyeing while showing him a bunch of new techniques, including a reverse tie-dye and a method that finally saved the green sweater by turning it gray.
It came out so cute!!! Helena and i literally had so much fun today!!♬ original sound - ThickyRicky
People shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting with DIY projects, Sedeño adds, even if they don’t know how hot the water should be or how much detergent to use, seeing as how creativity is less about the end result and more about how you express yourself in the process.
"In my opinion, it doesn't matter how it turns out or if it works super well or not, because I'm just trying something new,” he said, before advising his fellow DIYers to never "feel any shame if they’re not doing something well."
"I'd say don't be afraid to fail is kind of my mindset with doing new things and trying to get things,” Sedeño said. "It’s just fun to experiment with a different form of creativity."
Welcome to "Internet Explorer," a column by Sandra Song about everything internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter's finest roasts, "Internet Explorer" is here to keep you up-to-date with the web's current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.