Try This: Bleach-Spotted Fabric

Customize the look of your fabric with this fun bleach splattering technique!Making your own fabric designs is such a fun way to personalize any of your textile projects. I tried hand painting curtains for a dalmation-esque spotted effect last year, but to be honest, it took so much time that I wasn't too keen to try something like that again. Stamping, printing, and dying fabric are other alternatives for DIY fabric designs, but what about bleach? I thought I'd try a more bohemian speckled effect for a recent reupholstery project, and you guys, it was so much fun and so easy!

Customize the look of your fabric with this fun bleach splattering technique!Supplies:
concentrated bleach
-paint brush (An angled brush like this works best.)
-small basin
-drop clothes or tarp
-heavyweight washable fabric (I used twill.)

Tip: Wear old clothes that can get ruined with bleach splashes without breaking your heart. You shouldn't need gloves because your hands shouldn't get bleach on them, but if you're worried about that, go ahead and wear gloves.

Customize the look of your fabric with this fun bleach splattering technique!Preparing to bleach the fabric: Lay out your fabric on top of a tarp or drop cloth. This process shouldn't produce splashing, but you'll want to protect the area around your fabric just in case.

Soak your brush in a small basin of concentrated bleach. Before dropping the bleach onto your fabric, make sure the brush isn't dripping too profusely with bleach. You don't want to get drip lines, like you can see on the top left corner of my fabric. The bleach shouldn't drip off the brush until you have it in place over the fabric.

Techniques for dripping the bleach: You should have enough bleach on your brush that it will drip, but not until you hold the brush still. Move the brush into place above the fabric and just hold it, directing the bleach down to the angled tip of your brush. The bleach will drop off and onto your fabric.

The longer you let the bleach drip in one spot, the larger the mark left by the bleach will be. Once the bleach stops dripping easily, You can shake the brush (in a vertical, not diagonal motion) to create smaller splatters on the fabric. Then soak the brush again, make sure it's not dripping too much, then keep adding more spots.

The bleached effect will appear pretty quickly after the liquid hits the fabric, which makes it easy to envision your design as you make your way across the fabric.

Customize the look of your fabric with this fun bleach splattering technique!Wash the fabric. Allow the bleach to sit on the fabric long enough for all of the spots to be uniform in color, but don't let the bleach sit any longer than that or it will destroy the integrity of the fibers. I ran my fabric through a cold rinse cycle before putting it through a regular wash cycle with laundry detergent. Don't wash it with other linens, which may cause any residual bleach to ruin other items in the washing machine.

Customize the look of your fabric with this fun bleach splattering technique!I used my fabric to reupholster this DIY stool I made over a year ago. I was ready for a change, and had to fix the legs that were coming off because back then I didn't realize you needed mounting plates to keep the legs on the wood! That's a bit embarrassing to admit, but there ya have it.

Customize the look of your fabric with this fun bleach splattering technique!I love my new and improved foot stool, and have enough fabric leftover that I might make a tote or something too! What craft would you make with your own bleach-spotted fabric? –Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella and Valentine from the Signature Collection.

  • It’s funny you mention that, because I’ve recently only purchased fabric from Joanns! 🙂 This was a twill found int he apparel section, and of course, as the tutorial shows, I added the pattern with drops of bleach. Also, my laptop case project uses 45″ home dec fabric from Joanns (here: There were other great trendy fabric in the 45″ bolts of home dec fabric at Joanns that I was considering too. And in the quilting section, they carry some fun patterns. I’ve been enjoying the Cloud 9 for Joanns fabric I’ve discovered recently. I used to work at their corporate office in Hudson, Ohio, and had to walk across the huge warehouse on my way from the store planning department to merchandising frequently and would notice fun fabrics being rolled onto bolts that I didn’t even realize they had in the home dec department. I could get lost looking at fabric for hours, though admittedly the majority of what the stock is not my cup of tea. -Mandi

  • Where is your favorite place to buy fabric? You guys always have such great fabric colors and patterns and I think that’s hard to find at a local Jo-Ann’s. Any suggestions?

  • What a cute little stool. The polka dots are so cheerful!

    Juju Sprinkles

  • What a great craft! Who knew something so simple to execute could end up so…cute! The end result is so awesome and definitely brings a big, bold touch of attitude to the room. Pair this with a bright, custom-made Felt Ball Rug and you’ve got yourself a room with some serious personality!

  • Wowzers! Love it! I was thinking about doing a bleached pattern on curtains but wasn’t sure about it. Thanks for more inspo, this is lovely!!


  • I love this, great idea!!
    A very very nice footstool.

    Have a nice new week
    (from the nethelands)

  • Love your DIY posts like this! Would you consider doing one for bleaching denim?


  • Bleach spotting is so fun- this stool turned out so cute! A friend of mine made these kind of cheeky/silly boob t-shirts by using a similar technique. Haha, don’t know if that motif is up everyone’s alley, but it just goes to show there are so many possibilities with the medium! Thanks for sharing!

    xo Mary
    Mostly Salty Blog

  • That could be a cool look! I’d suggest using a bleach pen. It’s like a gel, so it bleeds less. -Mandi

  • This is such a cute idea! Love the whole interior of this room and the chair looks so cute!

  • What an awesome idea? I don’t know why I didn’t think of this considering I’m always spilling bleach on my clothes by accident.

  • I’m just going to chime in with everyone else and say that stool looks adorable. The pink plus the white splashes is a very charming look.

  • I always love seeing your DIY’s, you’re so creative, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next! And I just adore this one.

    Courtney x

  • Love this so much. Have tried writing with bleach on fabric before, but this looks so easy. Think I will try hanging fabric on the washing line and trying to get a drip effect. Fingers crossed. oxoxo

  • Wow did that change the room! I love how pink isn’t just for little girl spaces anymore. Super fresh, thanks for sharing.

  • That looks really cool! It’s a color that I would choose too.


  • This is so cute! I wonder how it would look if you tried a loose graphic pattern, like big diamonds or something. I know it would bleed and be irregular, but conceivably could look cool. Hmmm, my mind is off!! 🙂 Thanks for this!

  • Yeeeeeessss I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while now! Thanks for the tips I will bookmark and have a go 🙂 // photography & lifestyle

  • I’m usually not a fan of bleach DYIs, but this is super cute!

  • Yes! I’ve seen people do this. I did this to a pair of baby jeans making polka dots, but I used a bleach pen to get more control over my writing. -Mandi

  • I didn’t notice the fumes at all, and I’m very sensitive to smells and fumes right now, so I would say you don’t need to. You’re not working with a bucket of bleach, just a small dish or cup, so I’m sure that makes a difference. 🙂 -Mandi

  • I love the legs on that stool! Re-upholstering stuff is my favorite activity nowadays. 🙂

    xo Sabrina

  • So fun! I love the pink too. This is so simple and perfect for an ottoman, love the girly vibe it gives.

    Warm Regards,

  • This is so gorgeous! I would love to do this with green fabric too. The fuschia is gorgeous! / creative + lifestyle blog

  • love the purple..and the pattern is so pretty…love it! Wish i could make a few for myself.. someday!


  • This looks so cool! A pretty simple way to get a really unique design. Do you think it would work to use a smaller brush and actually paint patterns? Like hearts, X’s or even write something in script?

  • I used a spray bottle of bleach and squirted it on a sweatshirt. I did this AFTER I had accidently bleached a spot on a dark pink sweatshirt. It made a random pattern that looked like I had intended to do it all along.

  • Mandi this is beautiful! Would you recommend wearing a mask when working with bleach or is it okay to just do the project in a ventilated area?

  • This is sooo cute, I’m thinking about trying this technique on a dress.

  • omg, that’s a good idea !!!! Great DIY 😀

  • The final product looks very neat! I love the bright fuchsia color.


  • Such a simple process, but it turns out so well! It kind of reminds me of a speckled egg shell, but pink.

    Bethany |

  • Oh neat! I might try this with some extra fabric I have and make some funky curtains!

  • Lots of stores sell them, like World Market, but I got mine on eBay quite a few years ago. It’s a wool flokati rug. You can use that as a such term if you look online. -Mandi

  • I thought it might be messy too, so I laid out a bunch of towels and changed into old clothes. But turns out I got no splatter anywhere but on the fabric, because literally all you do it hold the brush vertically and let the bleach drip off. I’d still lay down a drop cloth just in case, though. 🙂 -Mandi

  • I love the stool! It’s very adorable. But I’m in love with the rug! Where might a gal find one like it?

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