Introduction: How to Custom Design a T-Shirt With Bleach

Picture of How to Custom Design a T-Shirt With Bleach

For an easy, fun project that lets your imagination go wild with custom designing a T-shirt that is sure to get compliments. The best part is that all the supplies are common household items. Make sure you wear old clothes and use a waterproof drop cloth to protect work surfaces though.

Supplies Needed:

Colored T-shirt

Stencil – Pre-made or you can make your own

Clear Contact Paper (optional)


Utility Knife and/or Scissors

Spray Bottle


Paper Towels

Hydrogen Peroxide

Bucket or Sink for Rinsing

Step 1: Prepare T-Shirt

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Place a piece of cardboard inside shirt so that bleed through doesn't occur from the front of the T-shirt to the back. I cut this t-shirt shape to fit the whole shirt but it all depends on your design if you need one that big.

Step 2: Choose and Create Stencil

Picture of Choose and Create Stencil

Find a design or stencil you like. Design ideas are easily found on the internet or let your imagination go wild and draw out a design. Copy the design onto cardboard or contact paper. Found objects can also be used such as leaves, doilies, wood cut-outs, lace, etc.

Step 3: Prepare Stencil for Use

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Cut out the stencil with the utility knife if using cardboard or scissors can be used with contact paper.

Step 4: Bleaching the Design

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Mix half bleach and half water in a spray bottle. Make sure the nozzle is on the mist setting. Place the T-shirt on a protected work surface and then place stencil or objects on top. If using contact paper, remove backing and adhere to shirt. The spray really disperses so cover any area of shirt you don’t want sprayed with other cardboard pieces, newspaper or freezer paper. Start spraying over stencil. Let bleach sit a couple minutes until you like how much it’s lightened. Blot edges of stencil with paper towels to absorb bleach so excess bleach doesn’t drip on your design as you lift it. After I lifted the stencil, I lightly sprayed over my whole design to get a splattered effect over all.

Step 5: Rinse

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Remove cardboard from inside shirt. Rinse in warm water. A lot of dye will come out at first. Keep rinsing with clean, warm water 3-4 times.

Step 6: Neutralize and Rinse

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Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide with a gallon of water. Place t-shirt in this mixture to neutralize bleach. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then rinse again in warm water 3-4 more times.

Step 7: Finished Custom T-Shirt That Is Sure to Get Compliments!

Picture of Finished Custom T-Shirt That Is Sure to Get Compliments!

And your T-shirt is finished. I flipped mine over after doing the front and did the back as well. I didn’t like how the front turned out so I covered up the horse head design and resprayed it.

Now I wish I had done a reverse image, using the cutouts from my stencil on the back. I guess I know what my next project will be.

Step 8:


CuddaB (author)2016-08-31

next clothing

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-07-19

Cool. That bleach speckling makes a cool space look.

Thanks, I thought of that too. This technique has so many possibilities!

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