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Customize your own t-shirt with an edgy bleach splatter effect! No messy fabric dyes needed. Simply create a stencil for your t-shirt then spray bleach mixture on the shirt for an eye-catching pattern.

Supplies Needed:

  • Blank t-shirt - can be cotton or blends. It should however to be dark in color so the bleach effect can stand out.
  • Household Bleach
  • Spray bottle
  • Sticky Vinyl
  • Cardboard
  • Transfer Paper

Tools Needed:

  • Vinyl Cutter (optional)
  • Exacto Knife

Software Needed (optional)

  • Whatever works with your vinyl cutter.
  • Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator

Step 1: Customize Your Stencil With a Vinyl Cutter

My local hackerspace has a vinyl cutter so I used that to cut my artwork. It's a Silhouette Cameo with Silhouette Connect Plug-In for Illustrator.

If you don't own a vinyl cutter I suggest buying a stencil from your local art supply store. You can also check out this vinyl decal instructable on how to make one by hand if you want something completely customized.

Step 2: Transfer the Vinyl to Your T-Shirt

If you're using a regular stencil skip this step. This is for sticky vinyls.

Peel off an inch along one of the edges of the the back of your transfer paper and apply it to your vinyl decal. This way you have a good starting point and your transfer paper won't stick to itself. Slowly peel off the rest of the transfer paper and carefully apply to the rest of your vinyl decal.

Peel off the extra vinyl so only your design is showing through. If you can't grab a corner use the exacto knife to help you lift up the vinyl.

Place the vinyl on your t-shirt and carefully peel off the transfer paper.

Step 3: Spray Your T-Shirt With Bleach Mixture

Fill your spray bottle with half household bleach and half water.

Cut out a piece of cardboard about the width and length of your tshirt. Then stuff your tshirt with it.

Go outside and set your tshirt on the ground and start spraying! In order to make the design show up you need to spray around your stencil. On a black cotton tshirt the effect is almost instantaneous. It may take a minute or two if you used a blend since other fabrics may not absorb water as well.

When you're happy with the results, simply peel away the vinyl or stencil.

Step 4: Wash the Shirt and You're Done!

Since bleach is still on the shirt you should wash it before you can wear it. Also be sure to wash it by itself so you don't accidentally bleach other clothes with the residual bleach on the shirt.

great instrucable. used one of those plastic posters you see at STAPLES or FedEx for reusable stencil and 3M to temp. tack it to fabric. used some transTint and rubbing alcohol for thr dye. great time saver. couldn't of done it without the info. thanks.
very creative technique! thanks for sharing.
good instructable
<p>Thanks! Love your design. </p>
worked well
<p>have been using bleach to print designs on shirts for years. great fun, easy to do, and pretty fast. also a lot less stuffing around compared to screen printing ect.</p>
<p>I've never tried screen printing but yah this entire process took less than an hour.</p>
<p>Those shirts turned out really good. Nice designs. </p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>Love the old Mariners logo.</p>

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