Graphic Tee DIY (with bleach and a fabric pen)

I got the idea for bleach tees off pinterest. But first a warning about the post:

Warning! This post contains a ridiculous amount of pictures. Some of these images may contain mustaches, llamas and Darth Vader.

Well, that’s the warning :) I promised a bleach tee tutorial and this is it!

Materials (at least the ones I used):

  • shirt of some kind
  • design, preferably a clever and entertaining one ;)
  • bleach or bleach pen
  • fabric pen
  • freezer paper
  • x-acto knives
  • iron
  • sink with cold water
  • pen or pencil
  • cutting board
  • cardboard


1) Find or create a design. These are my designs. I created all of them except the Alice in Wonderland one :)

heh heh i see what you did there

2) Pick a shirt. If you are bleaching, you might want to do some research about what color your shirt will turn. Black turns orange. Brown turns orange/rust/yellow. Purple turns pink. Pink turns white. Some blues turn green. Green turns light green or white. Red turns pink. Google them to see which ones you like best :) I picked black, brown, and purple for bleaching. I picked pink for the fabric pen.

3) Trace your designs onto the freezer paper.

4) Then cut the designs out with the x-acto knife. This takes the longest amount of time. All the cutting must be done carefully or the bleach will bleed through the iron-on.

Since the cutting took so long, we had to entertain ourselves :) For you viewing pleasure, I present the stache photos!

5) Iron on the freezer paper where you want to bleach on the shirt. Be careful about the placement because once ironed it can’t be moved and re-stuck. It just peels off.

6) Place the cardboard between the layers of fabric (aka the front and back). This keeps it from bleeding through. Bleach the blank spaces. Make sure you don’t use too much bleach or it will bleed through the freezer paper. We had an accident with the first one and it messed up. Oh the poor poor Ariel tee with Arial font!! Sadness!

This is the one that bled so badly. Beware of too much bleach!

You can tell that some of the tees change color almost immediately. That black one changed as soon as the bleach touched it. The brown did too. The purply blue one took a little longer to change.

7) Once the color is what you want, peel the freezer paper off and rinse it in cold water to stop the bleaching (and get it off the shirt). Be extra careful here because the brown Batman shirt folded over on itself while removing the cardboard. *sigh* Now there is a great smear on the collar. I still haven’t fixed that yet. I’m going to rub bleach on some other spots to make it seem on purpose :)

8) Let them dry. Here’s the finished product with bleach.

And there you have it!

If you want to use a fabric pen instead, then follow steps 1-5 and pick up with these steps:

Alternate Step 6) Color the blank spaces black (or whatever color you picked). Be careful not to smear the paint while it’s drying. The stuff has a knack for sticking to hands, fingers, arms and anything else it comes in contact with.

Alternate Step 7) Peel the freezer paper off once the paint dries. Follow the instructions of your fabric paint from this point on. (There were no instructions for Sharpie so I just left it as is and washed it later.)

Here’s the finished product with a fabric pen.

I used a clorox bleach pen and a sharpie stained fabric pen. Both worked wonderfully! Sharpie stained is one of my new favorite things.

Just in case you were curious, here’s what the Arial Ariel tee looks like now…

OneNotAlone: Graphic Tee DIY (with bleach and a fabric pen)


2 thoughts on “Graphic Tee DIY (with bleach and a fabric pen)

  1. Pingback: What went wrong :[ (aka Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong) | One Not Alone.

  2. Pingback: Batman via Twitter | One Not Alone.

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