Introduction: Controlled Bleaching With Discharge Paste

This is more of an introduction to discharge paste than an instructable. Yes, the name is terrible and the stuff is white and gooey which makes it even more wrong. But it's pretty damn cool, so you just accept it and move on towards greatness.

Where bleach is incredibly thin and can destroy natural fibers if you're not careful, discharge paste is the opposite. It's gooey so it doesn't spill easily and can be used with silkscreens. It's also nice to natural fibers, which is good as well. It removes most fiber reactives, direct dyes and acid dyes and typically leaves a light golden color when it's done.

Everything you need to know about this is printed right on the label. To use it, you just apply it to a fabric, let it dry, and then iron it on the lowest steam setting for a few minutes to activate it. To make sure it works on a new fabric, test it by putting a small spot in a hidden area of the target material (assuming you're using a shirt) and see how well it works before spreading it everywhere.

Available in the U.S. from Dharma Trading Co.
http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/1574-AA.shtml

Step 1: Apply to the Fabric of Your Life

Put down a stencil or a silkscreen or forgo all premade plans and apply the paste directly to the fabric. If you want to let the goo seep in a little deeper, you can thin it out with some water. You can just go for it or keep on testing on more spots on the fabric.

Used shirts are cheap to play with, but for consistency and thin shirts, go to the underwear aisle and get the dyed t-shirts. They're usually less than $5 each for a decent one and tend to be thinner than the Beefy T's that make me sweat like I still live in SoCal.

Step 2: Make Magic With Your Iron

At first there's not much to see on the shirt. Even when you wait until the paste dries, there's still not much to see. This all changes dramatically when you put the iron on the fabric. The color quickly disappears and POW! there's your design.

One more thing, be sure to be in a well-ventilated area. This stuff stinks and when your fabric is done it too will stink until you wash it. So don't run out to a bar to show off your new clothes to your friends because you'll destroy your shirts first impression on them.

Now clean up your mess and plan out your next project.

Step 3: BONUS! Before and After... Again.

One more example of how the paste looks dried on black cotton and right after it's been ironed.

Comments

author
Squash made it!(author)2016-06-09

I have a huge container of it. I've made about 5 projects and have more than half still remaining but the last two projects haven't worked out. It is not pulling the color out anymore. I suggest a smaller bottle unless you are planning on doing a LOT of projects pretty quickly. It may be losing it's "power" to remove the dye.

author
MelC14 made it!(author)2016-03-17

Can I set discharge with clothes dryer on "hot" instead of using and iron?

Thanks :)

author
KemikalzAreFun made it!(author)2013-09-13

Why do you need discharge paste? Couldn't you just mix up a bit of cornstarch an mix in some bleach so it's thicker? Then just wash it off?
Idk maybe that's a stupid idea.. But it sounds good to me :p

author
ChristiD4 made it!(author)2016-01-02

because bleach runs the risk of destroying the fibers of the cloth and putting holes in it and discharge paste does not

author
JasonH3 made it!(author)2014-09-24

Does it work on spandex?

author
TinyPenguin made it!(author)2012-06-07

How many of those swan thingys do you think I could make from 8oz. of discharge paste?

author
r3nrut made it!(author)2009-05-16

Could you do this with peroxide

author
gwhizz made it!(author)2011-08-04

I was thinking that.
There doesn't seem to be anything similar on eBay UK, so...
... how about a pack of hair colour, but just use the bleach part without mixing in the dye?
Gotta be worth a try!

author
arobz made it!(author)2009-07-28

How would I go about using this technique on a white shirt? I want to put some text on a plain white shirt but have it be black and also red. Is there a dye or something I can use to make that happen?

author
teckner made it!(author)2010-07-12

For that, you need to do silk screening. Here's an instructable I recommend: https://www.instructables.com/id/Screenprinting-Easy-Detailed-Inexpensive/

author
AshleyJean made it!(author)2009-06-02

I tried this out on a purple linen dress and it worked beautifully! I did freehand painting rather than a stencil. Thanks for the instructions!

author
AshleyJean made it!(author)2009-10-22

 Here is a photo of the dress I did with discharge paste...

purple peacock 003.JPG
author
Agroking made it!(author)2009-11-30

Very nice dress! Is that really purple? Looks more like maroon to me...

author
n8man made it!(author)2009-05-11

I am planning on doing this with some red fabric for a flag, my question is though, will the color be bleached through the fabric or just on one side?

author
Squash made it!(author)2009-06-14

When I did it on a shirt, it did go all the way through in some spots. More than likely you will not get an even reverse image on the other side. If you want to do a mirror image, just mark it off after you do the first side. If you want a different design, you'll have to do it with two pieces of fabric and sew them together.

author
fraggle made it!(author)2009-03-13

thanks for this... did this with middle schoolers at a summer day camp and they were amazed and enjoyed it a ton.

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2009-03-16

Cool. Have any pictures of the shirts?

author
gaby99 made it!(author)2007-12-15

Do you have any idea of what colour it becomes for different coloured shirts, or if the amount of paste changes it at all? I just bought the 8 ounce one... expensive!

author
MrL33TPenguin made it!(author)2008-09-29

how expensive?

author
The+Porsche+Fan made it!(author)2008-12-23

yo, it's in the link above but it is 8.39 for 8 ounces.

author
MrL33TPenguin made it!(author)2009-01-02

oh..... i dont read in between the lines...

author
thecheatscalc made it!(author)2008-12-04

hmm... the question I have is, how much paste will a design like your bird take? I'm thinking of doing ~3 shirts of a design of about the same area, and want to know if an 8oz bottle would suffice?

author
moisture made it!(author)2008-12-19

Eight ounces will definitely be enough. I laid it on thick for one of my designs and it still looks like I just opened the 8oz jar.

author
moisture made it!(author)2008-12-19

I made a TNT shirt for one of my destructive little brothers. The stencil was cut out of thick paper then pinned it to the shirt. A double-helping of paste followed. It's a little fuzzy but I quite like it and will definitely be doing more, thanks!

DSC03645.JPGDSC03646.JPG
author
hivoltage made it!(author)2008-10-14

i bought some of this stuff to try silksdcreening it onto tshirts and it worked great! i am very happy with the results. it has a consistency i wasnt really expecting, very sticky and goopy, less gel like. i was worried it wouldnt screen through well but it worked excellently. i accidentally exposed the screen for the guitar shirt backwards so now its a left handed guitar :) the skull shirtis a little fuzzy because i got impatient and ironed it before it was dry and i accidentally forgot to replug in the iron so i was smearing it around with an iron that wasnt even hot...

CIMG1594.JPGCIMG1599.JPG
author
codongolev made it!(author)2008-12-09

AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH A LEFT HANDED GUITAR? ha, there's one sitting on my lap right now.

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2008-10-15

Hey, nice look there!

author
hivoltage made it!(author)2008-10-15

thanks! im very happy with them. i used slimguy379's great screen printing instructable to make the screens for these designs. this is kind of my first foray into screen printing and its a lot of fun. the possibilities are endless.i really like the discharge paste effect and i think ill be using it a lot. i just have to make sure to let it dry fully instead of getting impatient and ironing it before its dry.

author
askjerry made it!(author)2008-09-18

Wow... that is really neat stuff. I have a 35w Laser Engraver so I can cut some really detailed stencils. I'll get some and try it out! If anyone needs a stencil cut I can probably do that pretty cheaply too. (Just let me know)

Silkscreens would be the best for doing a large number I suppose.

Thanks for the info!
Jerry

author
theeekingeek made it!(author)2008-08-30

Hello, I plan to use this method to design a hooded sweatshirt for someone and I was wondering if the the sweatshirt needs to be 100% cotton or just mostly cotton? A lot of the hooded sweatshirts are 90/10 or 80/20.

author
parke made it!(author)2008-07-15

I've used this technique a few times now and only had a few problems. The bleaching was sometimes uneven with different shades, i'm guessing due to uneven application of the discharge paste. Also, i never invested the few dollars and time to get spray mount so i would just have to hold the stencils on the shirt, not quite as precise as a mounted stencil(bleach would get under the stencil). But altogether this technique is awesome... thanks

author
parke made it!(author)2006-12-03

you said that you used spray mount to put the stencil on the shirt but i couldn't find it on any websites. Is there a technical name for the stuff or does anyone know where to buy it. thanks

author
resonanteye made it!(author)2008-07-14

most art stores and hardware stores have it. spray mount adhesive. If you're looking online utrecht art supplier carries it.

author
snauzinator made it!(author)2007-03-09

art stores will have this stuff... its called spray adhesive or spray mount, just ask!

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2006-12-03

You couldn't find it? Did you try Googling "spray mount"? 'Cuz that brings up a lot of results.

author
trayo made it!(author)2008-06-28

Those designs are bomb digity.

author
amorello5401 made it!(author)2008-04-24

This is really cool! I read a couple comments and looked up how to make discharge paste... after going through several pages of femanine hygene sites this one caught my eye.
http://www.emich.edu/textiles/PDFs/thiox.pdf
It says to use soda ash and ammonia among other things. thanks for this instructable I can't wait to try it out.

author
Rishnai made it!(author)2008-03-26

Kickass bird stencil, man! Did you design it yourself, or download it from someplace?

author
capitolhill made it!(author)2008-03-16

Very helpful fungus amungus, thanks much.
Here is my result working from a laser printed stencil
(font is Birckham Script Pro, shirt is American Apparel The Summer Shirt).
My Flickr has the full sizers...

DVMB_full.JPGDVMB_detail.jpg
author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2008-03-17

Cool! Nice detail there.

author
capitolhill made it!(author)2008-03-17

Thanks! I might as well ask this here, as I have been scouring the 'webs for while for info... Are you familiar with a fabric effect called 'burnout'? I have seen different t-shirt manufacturers doing it, but I have never been able to figure out the process. On a t-shirt, for example, the fabric looks almost see-thru, with chunks that are thicker. It sort of appears heavily bleached, but the fabric still has integrity... Sorry, that's the best I can describe it... Let me see if I can find a picture...

IMG_7392.JPG
author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2008-03-17

You're talking about the burnout, or devore, effect. What happens is that the plant fibers are dissolved such as cotton, rayon, or linen. If the material is a blend of plant and non-plant fibers, then the non-plant fibers remain.

There's Wilflex Oasis which has a burn out base as well as this stuff. I haven't tried it myself.

author
capitolhill made it!(author)2008-03-18

Awesome-- I think that will be my next experiment! Thanks for pointing the way, it appears I should have spent more time looking at Dharma's site. They certainly are a comprehensive resource.

author
iamthemargerineman made it!(author)2008-03-15

woahhhh. this is sooo cool. the name is amusing though. i can't wait to walk into homeroom and have someone ask "hey! wher'd you get that kickass shirt?" to which i will then reply... "oh this old thing? i made it with dishcharge paste."

author
diN0bot made it!(author)2008-02-17

The first shirt I tried this on didn't work out so well--- after ironing the paste looked yellowish and then faded back to black. after washing the shirt was still black. prolly a synthetic fabric? next few shirts worked great. the paste wont bleach off paint, but works fine for dye. excellent to use after tye dying. thanks for the heads up. ps - drying time can take 30 minutes to a few hours<-- to make sure it works fully. I assume the discharging occurs up until drying time (?) i've tried different amounts of paste to see if I can get more/less discharging. hard to control pps - ironing takes a minute, maybe a few more just to "make sure".

author
Scooterjockey made it!(author)2008-02-06

I have never been more pleased with the final result of a project. I couldn't wait to try this! Great! -T

DSC00313.JPG
author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2008-02-06

Yeah, the effect of ironing it and seeing the design pop out is pretty magical. Nice job on the skull!

author
ezuk made it!(author)2008-02-06

Beautifull work. I want to try this method, but buying from Dharma isn't really an option for me, being located in Israel. (Shipping charges are killer.) Any idea how I can make a paste from common household materials? I saw mentions of cornstarch etc, but did anyone actually try?

author
fungus+amungus made it!(author)2008-02-06

I haven't tried that. I still have a ton of the stuff left so I haven't bothered with alternate methods.

author
Summer made it!(author)2008-01-25

I've been reading about this product and was wondering if you used the detergents that The Dharma Trading Company recommended you use with it.

About This Instructable

95,879views

796favorites

License:

Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.
More by fungus amungus:3D Printed US Population MapLight Painting With an IPhoneSuper Bright RGB LED Bike Wheels
Add instructable to: