Makeover Monday: T-Shirt with Bleach Design

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Since seeing Jess and lots of other crafty people use bleach to create a design on t-shirts, I have been looking to try the technique myself. The primary issue I’ve been having lately in doing any kind of “makeover” project is that I’m living in temporary quarters right now, having brought only the clothes and goods I deemed necessary. As Jess recently mentioned, I have a knack for purging closets of unnecessary items. Good for life, not so good for when that crafting urge hits.

Which brings me to the first point of this Makeover Monday: I confess that I actually bought a shirt for $5.60 so I could do this t-shirt makeover. However, you are encouraged to use any old t-shirt, especially a stained otherwise marred one, for this project.

This project requires only four items:

  1. A t-shirt
  2. Bleach (I used a concentrated gel version, similar to what comes out of a bleach pen, and just as cheap as a jug of regular bleach)
  3. A paper bag to put under the t-shirt layer I was painting
  4. A thin, cheap-o paintbrush

Seriously, this technique couldn’t be easier. I started at the top of the shirt, near the pocket and started doodling peacock feathers. Working my way down, I realized that I could almost get an ombre-like effect by having the bleach work longer on the top than on the bottom. It probably took 20 minutes, and I got to listen/watch to the Emmy Awards while doing it.

When I was all done, I rinsed the shirt in cold water to get rid of the bleach, then washed and dried the shirt as usual.

This is a good project to encourage you to go with the flow and let go of any desire to make it perfect. The bleaching happens as you go, so it’s pretty fun to see it develop. Kind of like a Polaroid. I think the technique is particularly suited for flowing, organic designs because the bleach will spread a bit. Think: waves, swirls, flowers.

P.S. Do you remember that time that Jess and I played with bleach on her head? That feels like so long ago!


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