Instructables

Reverse, or "Clean" Graffiti using Bleach

PICT2210.JPG
PICT2211.JPG
PICT2212.JPG
In this instructable, I will show you how to create clean graffiti, commonly called "reverse graffiti", using a rag and bleach! It's very, very simple, but not everyone knows about it.

Disclaimer:
I DID NOT invent this style of graffiti, just made it easier and put it into an instructable format. As far as I know a graffiti artist named "Moose" invented it [link], and i completely and utterly copied him. :P
If you do something stupid, like write on someone's car with this method, DO NOT BLAME ME. I know there's always these stupid disclaimers, but really, how would you like it if someone wrote on your house or car with bleach?

Anyways, I don't believe this to be illegal, as long as you keep it on cement or concrete, but if you do it on something (Like wood) it might be, so keep it to the street guys. (Just because I don't think it's illegal doesn't mean it is, remember that) On wood, it seems to actually bleach the wood itself, so I think that someone could argue that you damaged their property.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Gather Materials

You need to round up:
Bleach --the most important part, duh!
An old rag --don't use a new one, it's getting bleached guys!
A cup, or something to hold the bleach
Some nasty cement -- look for cement that seems to have black stuff on it (that works the best)
Gloves --believe me, my hand smelled like bleach for the rest of the day, no matter how many times I tried to wash it

If you want to use something else to write on the cement with the bleach, go for it, I just preffered using a rag, and I happened to have one laying around.
typo31503 years ago
Has anyone tried painting "invisible" graffiti with a resist, such as a wax or WD40? I think it wouldn't show up until somebody attempted to paint over it. They would have to fetch special chemicals to strip it off -- otherwise everything would get painted except what you did.
loikkonen typo315011 months ago
Is it that the aerosol paint that someone is spraying, wouldn't stick to the WD-40? What would happen?
Dr.Hax3 years ago
Sulfuric Acid, such as that found in car batteries, or sold in a powder form for dilution when filling a car battery, or many other sources... Use a diluted version and it will clean concrete to a beautiful bright white, even through oil stains and such.  Once the reaction is complete in a minute or two, it becomes inert and relatively non toxic to the environment and its safe to use as long as you wear protective equipment when handling it.  It WILL eat holes in shirts, pants, shoes, and skin.  Imagine if you splashed some in your eyes?  Don't be stupid with it, but give it a shot sometime. It works wonders.

-Ashley
BLEACH PEN!
Bleach isn't exactly environmentally clean pressure washer is the way to go
Must agree on the pressure washer thing.
Great stuff, not seen bleach being used to do this before. Have you tried a stencil before?
RicochetBNB5 years ago
to all the haters... whatever! graff is art... it's been around since the dawn of time... study up on it! and yes even graff has rules. anywho nice idea, never really thought of this. seems less illegal kinda depending on where you do it lol... what they gonna make you do, make the street dirty again to cover it up haha! p.s. no im not a graff writer... i would like to be though hehe... but i support it fo' sho'!
i totally agree graffiti is an amazing art form when it isnt abused.
tentacle6 years ago
Yea, smearing bleach on side walks and fences. This is destructive and stupid, go ruin your own property and not other peoples.
How is cleaning destructive if you don't like the look of the sidewalk when it has been selectively cleaned go out and clean the whole thing yourself. And usually people use this method to force the city or town they live in to clean up the rest of the surface the artist chose to clean and therefore beautifying your streets. But no need to thank us!
Smearing bleach on fences and side walks is not cleaning,if you had ever cleaned any thing in your life you would understand this.This is defacing public property.Writing witty sayings on side walks and fences is not cleaning them. It is not artistic ,it is selfish, stupid ,childish and destructive. You want to do this great, do it to your own property not public property or other peoples.
While bleach may damage wood surfaces depending on the concentration of the bleach solution and how long the bleach solution is left on. Please remind me of how diluted bleach can damage concrete, how long do you think it would take for a diluted bleach solution such as the one used in this Instructable to actually start eating away at SOLID concrete. and also Dictionary.com defines clean when used as a verb without a direct object to be, "to get rid of dirt, soil, etc. (often fol. by up): to spend the morning cleaning." So please reply and tell me how when used on concrete which is what the Instructable advises it does not suit that definition or any other for that matter.
I think the real reason people are complaining about this instructable is that they cannot resolve the idea of people being able to express themselves without paying for a billboard OR committing a crime / destroying something. It is always easier to criticise others for their behavior than to open ones mind to new ideas.
surprisingly enough, if you use bleach on an area of concrete, and then clean the surrounding area the next day with almost anything else, your bleached area will still be visible... short exposure might be ok, but don't leave the active bleach on there... carry a neutralizing agent in a spray bottle... otherwise, this is defacement... in addition, despite the fact that the area is dirty, forcing the owner to clean it to remove your message is criminal. its akin to graffiti in results, and is unsanctioned advertising, and on commercial premises may get you in trademark trouble for causing your tag to be associated with their property.
The idea of a neutralizing agent such as water is a valid point and should be included in the instructable.
I'm going to have to agree with tentacle here- If someone was smearing childish drawings in bleach on my nicely-aged, hand-built, wood fences around my house, I would be more than a little pissed- and rightly so. Just because you want to do it, and can contrive ways to justify an action, doesn't mean its a responsible or decent thing to do, no matter how you spin it.
Toulouse (author)  tentacle6 years ago
im gonna find your property and clean it up for you!
Bard5 years ago
ever try doing this on a T-shirt? then you can wear your Graffiti where ever you go.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy_T_Shirt_Sketching/
Personally I find that when the council paints over graffiti with their random paint swatches it turns out even uglier. What's even worse is having my neighborhood covered in corporate advertising. Perhaps using this method to remove billboard advertising could be effective?
detergent and a wire brush. check out what moose does...
slide_512_11351_large.jpgs-SKULLS-large.jpg
reno_dakota6 years ago
This might work well with a simple stencil, too.
and a spray bottle
did this after reading this instructable with a big stencil, whatcha reckon?
IMG_2031.JPGreverse-graff stencil.jpg
I love how that turned out! Subtle, but with a lot of detail. Who's that a picture of?
thanks!! yea, it looks like an apparition of sumkind. it's a photo of a self portrait painted by chuck close (big boy of american painting scene in the 60's) hence the pun 'close, but no cigar'. he did a lot of big-scale realistic portraits, i was just playing on the idea that an image can only really depict reality as opposed to being that which it depicts. so it can be close, but never really be the real thing. anyway this is turning in2 an essay, u get the idea! :-)
Ha! Neat, I like it.
From the title, I thought this instructable would be about how to get rid of graffiti, rather than create more of it. I'm sorry, I fail to see the merit of there being so many of these things on Instructables.
Toulouse (author)  a grain of alt.6 years ago
mmk, sorry i displeased you, you seem pretty concerned about it
breezah6 years ago
I made a big stencil using bleach in a spray bottle after reading this instructable, If you're interested go on my page & look at the slides, also made one using chalk podwer. Check'em out & give me sum feed back! Cheers
If you mix the bleach with a little flour, it makes kind of a paste so you get a more consistent bleaching and it doesn't drip.
Lost Moai6 years ago
Portable pressure washers are also great for this.
sideways6 years ago
Hmmm....bleach pen=thickened bleach. For small graffiti?
xtank56 years ago
Sweet. I wonder if city officials could paint lines using this technique. Would probably wear away easily tho. > D
Oh, so it actually makes more? I thought it made the graffiti go away. Cool job anyways!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!