Instructables

Transforming a boring old black t-shirt using bleach!

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Do you have a few boring old black t-shirts that you are sick of? Here's a way to transform them into "something else". It's sort of like tie-dying, but using bleach to remove the dye, instead of adding dyes. It's also a much quicker process, which I am sure "the have-it-nows" will appreciate!
 
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Step 1: Purloin your boring old shirt

Picture of Purloin your boring old shirt
I have kidnapped an old black shirt from my son! You can also use boring old dark blue shirts for this transformation too! It is really cool! Be sure to use 100% cotton for this. First you need to wash the shirt (for who knows what perils lurk within its folds!) Once washed you can spin it dry and you are ready to begin!

Step 2: You are now spoiled for choice...

Now that you have boring old you know what, you have so many choices ahead of you. How are you going to transform it into something amazing (with bleach.
Choice One: You can pretend you are doing a rainbow swirl tie-dye http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-tie-dye-an-old-white-shirt-or-a-new-shirt-/ and place the shirt face down, place a dowel rod in the center and twirl it anti or clockwise to achieve "pie", and put rubber bands on to hold its shape

Step 5: Choice du Jour!

This is the method I quite like! Take boring old you know what and lay it face down, upside down, sideways down, any old down you like and beg borrow or steal marbles, stones, small rocks, or those litte weird glass shape things that you can buy to decorate vases or whatever! You are going to tie these into the shirt with rubber bands in either a regular or random pattern, whichever you like (by the way you can also do this with tie-dying)
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clutafobic1 year ago
Thanks for your pictures and instructions! I have tried to do the same with bleach on a black shirt. I did not get your beautiful results because I was too impatient. I kept adding more bleach until I see the black shirt changes colour.. I did get beautiful tie die results for a split second before ugly holes start to appear and the whole shirt falls apart. We should follow the proportion of water and bleach you provided!
So would this not work for synthetics? I kind of want to try it with a pair of basketball shorts.
foobear2 years ago
wow, awesome results!
ve2vfd6 years ago
If you want additionnal spotty effect, when you take the shirt out of the bleach, lay it down flat on a table (outside!) and sprinkle straight vinegar on it.

The vinegar reacts violently with the bleach and burns deep spots in the fabric.

WARNING: This releases *very* nasty fumes, do it outside!
this also works with ammonia.
if you mix bleach with ammonia....................wow just don't...... you'll die
 anyone know the actual chemical reaction taking place? To cause the toxicity? 
According to Wikipedia: "Mixing with chlorine-containing products or strong oxidants, such as household bleach, can lead to hazardous compounds such as chloramines" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloramine). Ammonia is generally irritating to mucous membranes such as in the eyes, nose, sinus, lungs, mouth, etc. Exposure to industrial strength ammonia for 30 minutes or more is considered hazardous to human respiratory health and injurious to the lungs. The fumes produced when ammonia and chlorine mix creates a gaseous release of compounds with even greater toxicity. In conclusion: DON'T MIX AMMONIA WITH BLEACH.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/classic/A795611
No, but seriously, don't. You will die.
NEVER mix bleach and ammonia !!! VERY toxic !!! I KNOW someone who DIED that way !!! I am serious !!!
viniger is easier 2 get tho
meyers4 years ago
what if i add a colour corant to the bleach and water solution? Would the dye be for example blue instead of the bleach stain colour?
No - only because bleach removes color from anything. If your dye is in the same solution as the bleach, the bleach'll suck the color right out of it!

But, if you dye the shirt a color afterward, the places you've bleached will be extra thirsty and be very receptive to color!

Cool idea
Well thank you very much ;D
I'll try it.
what type of bleach do you use?
gi joe4 years ago
thanks cool shirt
BobbyCage4 years ago
any way to keep all the "holes" black, makin 'em look like bullet holes?
 oh...and also, the bigger the "object", like the marble, the bigger the circle?
maniqueen4 years ago
I reaaally like the first one in the second row of pictures... you should do a tutorial for that one!! pleeease
KottonKandy4 years ago
Way cool! I can't wait to try this!
    -K.K
CriscoCisco5 years ago
Can you bleach tie dye with a brown shirt?
whitehawk6 years ago
Great instructable - thanks! Just a quick tip to add: When you remove the shirt from the bleach mixture, it's a good idea to rinse it first in water, then in water with vinegar added. The vinegar neutralizes the bleach to make sure it doesn't keep working. cheers, julie
stinkymum (author)  whitehawk6 years ago
Thanks, that's a good idea.
Very cool! How do you get the design of the one next to the diagonal, the tiger stripy looking one?
xylo06 years ago
How do u get the arrow design?
stinkymum (author)  xylo05 years ago
Very cool! How do you get the patter of the one next to the diagonal (the "tiger" one)?
stinkymum (author)  xylo06 years ago
Legend6 years ago
I was thinking of tie-dying a pair of boxers into the Union Jack. It'll be hard to exclude the different places where I only want one colour. Perhaps I wont go tie-dye. Make a wooden rig eg in the red cross shape, get that on, then make an a rig with a load of triangles around the cross to make the blue trianles. Start with a white pair, so then I've the the union jack! Hmm, doesn't sound to hard, etiher.
stinkymum (author)  Legend6 years ago
If you find out how to do it, post it, as I would love to do a Union Jack! I have tie dyed an American flag using red and dark blue. That's fairly easy. However with the Brit flag, just a sufggestion - instead of using wood rig you could sew the shapes in somehow. Maybe fabric paint on a shirt would be the way to go, as then you could see what you are doing and have more control over the result.
The place with the supplies and the knowledge to make any kind of tie dye you'd want is Dharma Trading (google it, they're online). I believe the way they'd have you make a Union Jack is to have you scrunch the shirt slightly, then mix the right color (or colour, since it's British) dye with a gel medium to thicken it. Use the thickened dye as if it were paint, and paint the scrunched up tee shirt. Naturally, you'd have to be careful about how you did the scrunching.
stinkymum (author)  kathynv5 years ago
Good idea! I love Dharma Trading, and that's where I buy all my dyes - they are the best.
-I don't know if this will help any, but once when I was in college I bleached out a pair of jeans, and I stapled some parts to make a design. Maybe that would work. Although, come to think of it, it might be hard on a t-shirt pulling all of those staples out. :) Just a thought.
stinkymum (author)  Legend6 years ago
Here's a picture of one of the "hint" of American flag shirts I did last year. There was a better one, but I can't find it! Someone splashed a bit of green on the front (one of the problems when dying with a group)
american flag.jpg
NinjaSloth5 years ago
does any dark color work because i want to try some of my old brown shirts. They arn't very dark but i just wanna know if it could work before i destroy them.
stinkymum (author)  NinjaSloth5 years ago
it should work, and the shirts will be brown and lighter brown.
I used to have a pair of black underwear... then somebody accidentally spilled bleach on them. Now they're black and orange HALLOWEEN ALL YEAR ROUND!!
hammer98765 years ago
I accidentally spilled multiple spots of some "mildew remover" (bleach) on a shirt I was wearing. It didn't looked bleached until it went through the wash. Over time, the fibers deteriorated and my white-splotched shirt became my holey shirt. Be careful will bleach.
stinkymum (author)  hammer98765 years ago
You are so right!
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