November 13, 2011

Bleach Pen Fabric Art

Have any plain T-shirts laying around that you're bored with? I first saw this fun idea on Pinterest by a blog called Show Tell Share and I couldn't wait to try it.

I think it made me reminisce to my '90's childhood days of designing shirts and canvas shoes with puffy fabric paint. (I thought I was so cool! )

I love that this technique looks a little like batik (and not so '90's).  Here's what I saw:

bleached T-Shirt designs from Show Tell Share

After seeing this idea, I went through some of my kids' clothes and some of my own to see if there were any with little stains on them that I could disguise this way. I also went to the grocery store and picked up my Clorox bleach pen-around $2-3.

I decided on a green shirt for my son that had a bleach mark already on it. This was so simple and fun to do!

Here's what you'll need: 
1. Clorox gel bleach pen 
2. Cotton shirt or fabric of your choice
3. Plastic to line the back of fabric (plastic bag, wax paper, or cereal box liner). 

First, lay the fabric out flat on table. Place plastic liner in between front and back of fabric so bleach doesn't bleed through. Then, draw whatever design you want-I did freestyle numbers for my son's shirt.

It's fun to watch the bleach slowly lighten up the fabric until you see your design. Be prepared for a bleachy smell in your house. Opening up windows might help!

The nice thing about the bleach pen is that it comes out as a gel, with two different ends for flow options.

Allow the gel to dry completely onto fabric for a few hours. Then throw in the wash and dry!

my son happily holding up his shirt
I'm glad my son liked his shirt! (I know my time is limited with them willing to wear what I make for them...) I'm excited to try this technique on some of my shirts, and maybe some pillows, curtains or a table runner. Does this inspire you to go color with bleach like it did for me?

Linking up with these parties!


  1. Wow, this is brilliant! I love your interpretation. Who knew? I am a new FB follower from Someday Crafts and I have stumbled this great post. Vicky from Mess For Less

  2. Thank you Vicky for your comments and support-and thanks for stumbling!

  3. What a cool idea! And so simple! I'm going to have to try this.

  4. What a great idea. LOVE IT!!


  5. What a great way to decorate T-shirts. I host a weekly upcycling party and would love it if you linked this project up.

  6. Your little ones are just precious! This is such a great idea, looks like a lot of fun! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a wonderful week and come back soon!

  7. Thanks for letting me link up! Take care, Kristina

  8. totally just bought a bleach pen and i'm going to do this tomorrow!!

  9. I tried this and the bleach bled and disfigured my art. What did I di wrong?


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