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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Fold the Sleeves Into the Center

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

Step 3: Fold Up From the Bottom

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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 (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 (author)dezignarob2008-04-08

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.)

dezignarob (author)stinkymum2008-04-08

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 (author)dezignarob2008-04-08

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

dezignarob (author)stinkymum2008-04-08

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

stinkymum (author)dezignarob2008-04-07

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

stinkymum (author)stinkymum2008-04-07

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

GorillazMiko (author)2008-04-05

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

dp69_2001 (author)2008-04-04

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

unspecified (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 »
More by stinkymum:Tiny Teddy Tree Trim"Kiteman" at the end of your fingertip!Finger puppets for all reasons!
Add instructable to: