Today Jill of Lune is going to share the next part of our textile printing series, how to paint with bleach. I love the simplicity of her design and can’t wait to try this. Enjoy!
Bleach painting is a fun, easy and inexpensive way to play with fabric dying and I know you’ll love the results! I chose to create a simple tank with the phrase “We are made of stars” which is adapted from a famous Carl Sagan quote. I hope you enjoy my take on painting with bleach!
Supplies Needed: Fabric safe household bleach, inexpensive synthetic bristle paint brush, glass or ceramic bowl, dark colored cotton blend top, a white towel or rag, white chalk, cardboard.
Safety: Bleach is toxic, so be careful to keep it safely out of reach of children. Always protect your eyes, abrasions and clothing from coming into contact with the bleach. If you have sensitive skin, you will want to wear thin gloves during this project. Be safe, have fun!
1. Place a flat sheet of cardboard inside your shirt. This will provide an even surface for your design to be created upon, and will stop the bleach from bleeding through to the back of your shirt. With a piece of white chalk, sketch out your design.
Don’t worry if you need to smudge out chalk lines and re-sketch. The chalk lines will wash out once your painting is done.
2. Secure your shirt by folding the sides under the cardboard, using elastics or clips to keep it from slipping. Prepare a small bowl with non-diluted, fabric safe bleach. Have your towel on hand to wipe up any drips.
3. It’s time to make your design permanent! Dip your brush in the bleach and drag it on the edge of the bowl to eliminate dripping. Use steady strokes to trace the chalk lines of your design. For an even bleach line, you will need to reload your brush every two inches.
The fabric will quickly soak up the liquid. Work in a natural position, and take it slow. You will quickly see your design appear, like magic!
4. Continue to trace your design until you reach the end. Take a break, and return in a few minutes once the bleach has had time to react with the fabric of your shirt. Are there un-even spots or light areas? No problem. Simply go back in with your bleach filled brush and even out the design.
5. Once you’re pleased with how your shirt looks, let the piece sit in the sun for an hour or more. This will allow the bleach to process and lighten. Depending on the cotton content of your shirt, the color of your design will range from dark red, to orange, to pink, all the way to white.
Rinse and hand wash your shirt, and hang to dry. Your design is now permanent, safe to wash with like colors, and ready to wear.
There are so many options for bleach painting. It’s a great opportunity to get creative with recycled materials.
Creating large paintings, a grouping of small shapes that mirror the stitching of your garment, simple patterns like stripes and dots, and handwriting are just some ideas for your new design. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for sharing this technique with us today, Jill. Be sure to visit Jill’s blog, Lune. Xoxo. elsie
I am using 95% cotton fabric and my results are all very orange – I am wondering how I can get the bleach to lighten to white and what I may be doing wrong? My test run was with a spray application with a 1:1 ratio of water and bleach in the spray bottle. Will using straight bleach be better for the results I want?
Hey, I’ve been using both bleach and diluted bleach. On a black shirt(100% cotton), I’ve noticed that it gets me a color somewhere between salmon and pink. The diluted bleach consistently gets me orange/brown.
I add baking soda to the bleach to form a paste its easier to work with! HAVE FUN!!!! L.O.V.E.
Great post! Also I was wondering….where did you get your cardigan? I love it!!
Thank you for this information. Theh are so useful. I like your web sites.
Love it! And where can I get that sweater? lol
I love the safety-pin disgen you could get that printed onto a t-shirt from a high-res digital image (lots of fast-print places on the high street are doing this from photos etc).Go for the fevered fantasies!The bleach one is cool too. Can’t see where you hacked away at the neck?
Also in the latter week of June, on a trip to New Mexico with my wife, I was to meet up with an old fnired and a fnired of his. We ended up missing his fnired, as she had some projects to catch up on. I later found out that she had no such work, but rather had been intimidated about meeting me because she thought I was, confided my fnired to me, an internet weirdo. If not for his confidence, I’d send her a thank-you note.
You crack me up!!! Loves it, oh and cleaning with bcaleh is honestly not the worst thing you can do to your lemon sized fetus. And who cares…I was 4 days overdue and was buying a diet coke and the lady had the nerve to tell me I shouldn’t be drinking it. Well lady last time I checked you worked at Wendy’s not a Dr’s office.
Attitude is more important than the past, than eduotaicn, than money, than circumstances, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitudeCharles Swindoll
Your mom was right. Allowing the cloth to dry completely helps dinsimih pathogens. It’s the sponges and cloths that stay wet around the counter and soak in bacterial soups that get gross.Put the cloth or sponge in the dish machine when it’s time to use it. This sterilizes them. If that suggestion doesn’t apply or isn’t convenient, boil them in a pot of water on the stove for three minutes. Soap or detergent in the pot is not necessaryBleach works too, but bleach isn’t only toxic to pathogens on rags and sponges, it’s creates toxic fumes that humans shouldn’t be breathing. I stopped using bleach in my laundry, I found substitute items to use that work just as well without the toxic effects.
jennsmom / Thats hysterical, you are no loengr in Kansas Dorothy. Had a great time with your men last night. Poor Kev watched the oscars I am sure out of pure kindness. Dad and I took over cheeseburgers and I fixed polk adot baby scrambled eggs. Nice fire and the whole nine yards but we missed you. It was not as good as I had hoped. Jon Stewart had afew funny things to say, but not great. Did not see one good dress except maybe Katherine Hiegle. Everyone had red on. Hope you are having some fun and enjoying your element. Do you remember always saying that your job would be on the East coast? Funny how things turn out. Be safe and stay out of any funky parks, no jogging with ipod on, and stay away from Bill Clinton. love Mom
Thanks Natalie. Yeah, now isn’t the time to be looking into all this stuff but I might try to think/do more about it next week. One oitpon would be to use an online service like Cafe Press. Another possibility, if I wanted to keep it fairly low-key and hand-made, would be to use some kind of spray paint put the pins on the fabric, spray, let it dry, then shake them off. More labour-intensive, but also more bespoke and one-off. Must try to do one, at least, for myself.You can probably see the hacking better if you click through the photo to one of the bigger versions on Flickr. Essentially I chopped about half a centimetre down into the fabric of the neck, then followed it all the way round in a circle. Makes the t-shirt fit me better and also scruffs it up a bit in line with the painted words.
I fell in love with this idea and decided to make a shirt for my sister as a birthday gift. If I have one piece of advice it is this: Don’t plan on writing out a quote if you have bad penmanship! Stick to drawing something simple, like hearts, arrows, stripes, etc. Even though mine didn’t come out as whimsical as the above example, I still think my sister will really like it 🙂
Very coll idea in designing for your own top. I also love the phrase you’ve used for it.
I’m in love with this tut! Decided, this will be my next project!
I’m in the process of trying this, making a tee to wear to the Jubilee celebrations in London tomorrow!
I love this idea so much! I totally want to try it sometime.
What about putting the bleach in an empty fabric liner bottle. I’m going to try this.
My brush got completely destroyed, but I think it was worth it. 🙂
i tried it and the bleach didn’t do anything to the shirt, it just dried. What did I do wrong?