Monday, February 14, 2011

Shirt + Bleach = New Design

First off, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I made that pink shirt for Valentine’s Day and here’s the one I made for St. Patrick’s Day. (I was busy last week)

I was watch some DIY show a few years ago and this guy was spraying bleach on some jeans to give them a aged faded look. In the back of my head I thought “Someday I’ll do that trick but not on jeans.” Last year I tried it on a few shirts for other people and more recently I’ve made a few for myself.

You need:
A T-shirt (pre-wash before you do your project)
Something to use as your stencil. (Paper, stickers, contact paper…)
A spray bottle of bleach
A large piece of cardboard covered with a plastic bag
A bucket of soapy water
A well-ventilated workspace

It works best on cotton fabric and something that is solid, not having a pattern already. Then anything goes for your design. It can be something abstract, a shape or letters. Originally I made some with initials. I cut out paper letters in different fonts and sizes then scattered them over the front of the shirt.

The more I make the more creative I get and I’m also learning new tricks along the way to make the process easier. I have discovered that the shirt comes out better if the pattern is stuck to the shirt for the bleach process. I started to cut my patterns out of contact paper.

You can draw out whatever shapes you want and then the contact paper works like a sticker to adhere to the shirt temporarily. If your lucky you can save yourself a few steps by finding the shape you want already made. You can use a sticker or a simple paper decoration.

If you can find a paper cutout of the shape or logo you want, use a glue stick to adhere it to your shirt. The paper only needs to sit still for a few minutes and then the glue can be washed off in the washing machine.

Don’t forget you can use Google images to find all sorts of shapes and logos if you need to make your own pattern. Then you can copy and paste it into a word document and alter the size to suit your needs. I made these shirts for the kids and me. Their logo needed to be a little smaller to fit their shirt. You can see in the picture that the smaller shirt folded over on itself when I pulled it off the cardboard to put it in the bucket. Those few seconds were enough to leave a mark. I can hardly notice when she has it on but I did learn to blot the bleach from the contact paper or pattern before I move it to the bucket. You can also see in the photo how different shirts react differently to the bleach. I got my shirt at Wal-mart and the girls' at Target. My guess is that different manufactures use different dye. Just something to think about if you want to do several shirts for a team, family reunion or something like that.

From the bucket of water I go to the washing machine and toss the shirt in with a load of clothes. (The bleach is so diluted after the bucket of soapy water that it can go into any load of clothes without worry of fading other clothing.)

After the shirt is washed you can be finished or you can continue to decorate. Here’s the heart shirt after the bleach treatment.

Then I used some fabric paint and a stamp from my kid’s card making kit to add a few red hearts to the design. Squeeze a small amount of paint on a paper plate then I rolled it out with a brayer to get a level area to dab my stamp into. This helps to make sure you get a nice even coat of fabric paint on the stamp. A quick test on the paper towel and then a few stamps on the shirt.

Over the weekend I had the luxury of flipping through some magazines and I think I found yet another technique I can use to decorate some more T-shirts.
I can't wait to see how they come out!


blueviolet said...

That is just way too cool! I love how they came out!

Heather said...

What a COOL idea! That works great for so many things! I'm definitely going to have to try this. Thanks for continuing to inspire!

Teaching Heart Mom said...

This is genius... I love this idea! My wheels are turning. I love the Sharock shirt. Very cute idea!

Intense Guy said...

Those are really cool!! Once again you amaze me with your oh-so-cool "crafty" talents!!

I hope you made a shirt for YOU!!