Introduction: How to Do the Lightning Fold When Bleaching Old Black Shirts

Xylo0 saw the instructable for transforming old black t-shirt asked me how to do the arrow pattern effect.   As there wasn't room on the comments to explain properly (with diagrams), I am making a new instructable to explain how it is done.   The name of this fold is actually the "lightning" fold.

Step 1: Take Your T-shirt

I have taken one of my already bleached shirts, as it seems to show up the folds more than a plain one. Fold in half, sleeve to sleeve.

Step 2: Fold the Sleeves Into the Center

Fold the sleeves into the center. Keep it nice and flat.

Step 3: Fold Up From the Bottom

Take hold of the shirt about halfway up from the bottom and fold it up towards the neck. This is the first fold

Step 4: Next Step

Make two more folds up from the bottom of the shirt. You will have three folds altogether. See both photos.

Step 5: Continue to Fold and Scrunch

Starting at the bottom outer corner (below the sleeve side)Fold and scrunch diagonally towards the opposite edge of the neck, until you have a flat rectangular shape. Start putting the bands on to hold the shape. It is hard to fold this as you have quite a thickness going there. Keep it folding as diagonally as you can.

Step 6: Banding

Put on the bands very tightly, but keep the shirt flat. You can then put it in the bleach bath as instructed under
You should then get a somewhat similar pattern to the "arrow" design, depending on the shirt and how well you have been able to fold the thicknesses. It's worth a try. You can also use this fold to do a tie dye! Works very well using Black and red, or black and green! The picture shown is of a sleeveless tank top that I folded in this pattern in blue and yellow.


dezignarob made it!(author)2008-04-06

I blogged about bleach/tie dyeing some tees. I did one lightning fold and the rest tied with twine in various ways. I'm very happy with the results.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Robyn L. Coburn

stinkymum made it!(author)2008-04-08

I bleached a brown t-shirt today, but it only went brown and lighter brown. I suspect you have to be "lucky" with the dyed shirt to get green - and no way of telling until after you have bleached. Never mind, it was worth a try. ( I liked your web site by the way.)

new bleach 003.jpg
dezignarob made it!(author)2008-04-08

OK I took off my beautifully soft green shirt and have looked at the label. The brand is American Apparel- a "Standard American" model, of 100% combed cotton. So maybe if you find shirts made by American Apparel, you might be lucky. Robyn C.

stinkymum made it!(author)2008-04-08

Thanks I'll look out for that brand and try to get "green" if I find one.

dezignarob made it!(author)2008-04-08

Your tee turned out great anyway, almost like camo. Thanks for visiting my blog. Robyn C.

stinkymum made it!(author)2008-04-07

Awsome results! Now I'm inspired to try something with twine!

stinkymum made it!(author)2008-04-07

And I'm going to find some brown shirts too!

GorillazMiko made it!(author)2008-04-05

That's so awesome! Great job stinkymum, I love all your stuff! +1 rating and vote.

dp69_2001 made it!(author)2008-04-04

This is the most amazing thing ever. You've just made my weekend

unspecified made it!(author)2008-04-04

That's a really nice one stinky! Excellently documented as usual.

About This Instructable




Bio: Born in England many years ago, moved to California in 1980, moved to New York in 1993, became a US citizen. Favourite place to visit ... More »
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