Introduction: How to Create Custom Shirts With Bleach

Picture of How to Create Custom Shirts With Bleach

This bleach staining process has been around for a number of years but has remained relatively unknown. The potential complexity and variety of images that can be made is virtually unlimited. More examples of what can be achieved and alternative staining methods can be found here:

Things you'll need:

  • Bleach
  • Spray Bottle
  • Cardboard
  • Freezer Paper
  • Iron
  • X-acto Knife
  • Dark Cotton Shirts
  • Gloves
  • Eye Protection
  • Dust Mask or Respirator

Here are links to the first two designs used in the video:

If you can't buy freezer paper in your country you can make your own using this guide:

Be sure to let me know if you give this project a try!


Deulz made it! (author)2015-02-17

Hello! Very good job, I work on this technique since 1 the years, here is some of my creations ;)

gquirino1 (author)Deulz2015-03-05

Awesome. Could make some money!

writeralgray (author)Deulz2015-02-22


jackowens (author)Deulz2015-02-18

Wow, I'm sure you could sell those for quite a bit. Looks really good!

ileocorp made it! (author)2015-02-17

Wonderful! For those want the Draw file please send me an email at:

mrblank5 (author)2016-01-23

Made some band shirts

wiccanbear made it! (author)2016-01-18

thank you for your instructable! it worked great and my hubby loves his shirt!

dodi03 (author)2015-06-21

I'm planning on doing this on a denim jacket. Do you think it yield same results?

nodcah (author)2015-06-09

This is awesome! I'm totally going to try laser cutting a stencil!

anthonyanicetoguerrero (author)2015-05-14

Thanks for showing us this! I'll have to try this sometime!

NathanSellers (author)2015-05-01

Excellent design and execution. Thanks for sharing.

aszappanos (author)2015-03-10

I love this, and can't wait to try. I am also thinking that I would want to cut out the design from the paper before ironing it on the shirt but I see it would make it more difficult to use layers. Thank you for sharing this project!

jeremy.j.steinmeier (author)2015-03-01

I had problems with either the bleach strength or the freezer paper. Couldn't get any fading on black shirts without applying enough solution to saturate the paper. Also the paper didn't stick to the shirt well at all. Can you tell me more about the products you used?

loompiggytutorials (author)2015-02-21

I absolutely love this idea! I'd love to try it soon! Thanks for the amazing Instructable!

Boppylop (author)2015-02-17

This seems like a very simple process with a very impressive product, I'm gonna try this next time I get around to clothes shopping. I'll post pics when I do!

Ashy600 (author)2015-02-15

Couldn't you cut the stencil first then iron it onto the shirt? Then there would be no holes from the X-acto knife.

NightHawkInLight (author)Ashy6002015-02-16

Yep, you can do that. It just gets trickier to do multiple layers.

Ashy600 (author)NightHawkInLight2015-02-17

Oh yeah...

BeastandEpicProductions (author)2015-02-12

Could you use the same design on two shirts? Or you have to use the stencil only once? Anyway, it looks ridiculously cool

You could use a light box and do your tracings. That would allow you to have 2 of the same pattern :)

It can only be used once with freezer paper, but others have made stencils from reusable materials like hard plastic.

silkier (author)2015-02-15

I was just wondering, in my experience with bleach and cloth the bleach invariably "rots" through the cloth after a period of time (sometimes just starting with a pin prick hole but always enlarging over time).

Is this not going to be a problem with this method?

NightHawkInLight (author)silkier2015-02-16

The shirt is weaker after bleaching, but a small enough amount is used and at a low concentration that it should last quite a long time.

dooley1 (author)2015-02-16

Thankyou for a well described and laid out clip. I really felt like you wanted to share. I have been a member here for - well almost since inception and your instructable could very well be used as a template for other peeps to learn 'how to' make a clip for 'instructables' projects. You are extremely insightful on 'what' will make the 'process' to undertake the your 'instructable' do-able. Congratulations on a your 'instructable'. As well, what you shared with us while not in itself unique, the description was to the point, clear, and presented in a manner and tone that indicated your true intent - to share. And it has motivated me to GIAG (give-it-a-go) ;)

I'm glad you made it very clear you had sponsors. And simply because of your considered and respectful approach in disclosure over sponsorship I was 'engaged' and consequently interested in what you wanted to present.

If the admins are modding over comments still - and they prolly are watching (; - I hope they might even see this as a model for implementing over site.

NightHawkInLight (author)dooley12015-02-16

Thank you very much!

maya1998 (author)2015-02-14

Hey thanks for the instructable! Loved the turn out. Any idea how to make different colors? All i'm getting is orange.

Leopardstripes (author)maya19982015-02-16

It depends on the dye that was originally used for the shirt. I've seen black shirts turn everything from watermelon red, to purple, to orange. :)

JoshS1 (author)2015-02-11

I do have to try this, I'm a Subscriber on youtube too!! Could this work with a hoody too?!?

NightHawkInLight (author)JoshS12015-02-11

Could it ever! Check this out:

That is so cool!!!

sdfgeoff (author)2015-02-15

I wonder if you could use duct tape...

silkier (author)2015-02-15

Sorry, forgot to add, amazing design and beautifully executed. I sincerely hope that my observations on bleach don't happen here.

silkier (author)2015-02-15

Sorry, forgot to add, amazing design and beautifully executed. I sincerely hope that my observations on bleach don't happen here.

RingoWild (author)2015-02-15

Completely brilliant! Also thanks for the info for creating my own freezer (transfer) paper. -- Lori

That is really really really cool!

ShakeTheFuture (author)2015-02-11

Very cool!

When I was a kid, I run out of the soap bubbles, so I decided to make my own. I went to the bathroom and mixed different ingredients - including bleach :)

I did manage to make soup bubbles, but with a surprise. A kid with whom I was playing outside, had bleached stains on his T-shirt. Turns out it was from the bubbles that landed on his shirt.

That's my first experience in bleaching shirts :)

Great project, well done!

You may be interested in one of my other projects...

Yes, I've seen it on your YT channel, amazing!

Raitis (author)2015-02-11

I've been going back to /r/bleachshirts over and over again for a while, but can't currently be bothered with hand cutting extensive graphics.

Do you have any experience or information on cutting the freezer paper on a die cutter and transferring later?

NightHawkInLight (author)Raitis2015-02-11

I don't, but most do recommend to cut the paper before ironing it onto the shirt rather than how I go about it in the video so I'm sure it would work fine.

Raitis (author)NightHawkInLight2015-02-11

Thanks for the quick answer. I'm sort of worried about the freezer paper not being able to stick to cutting mat due to waxed underside, but I guess it's only a single side that's waxed and a mirrored cut could technically be done from the other side? Or should I just stop bothering you and go ask at /r/? (:

NightHawkInLight (author)Raitis2015-02-11

I'm not familiar with using a die cutter so I can't help you out with the details there.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like turning boring things into awesome things! Usually on video.
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