Intro: Bleach Resist T-Shirt Project
Its mid-summer, too hot to do anything outside, kids are going nuts and have had it with plain old arts and crafts. What are you going to do? Its time to be reinspired.
Step 1: Materials
* Bleach Pen
* Solid colored t-shirts
* Cardboard, plexi glass, or chip board. A strong surface for working on that won't allow the bleach to bleed through the fabric to the other side.
* Chalkboard chalk
Step 2: Sketch Time!
Insert your divider into the t-shirt. Make sure its a sturdy surface as the kids will be drawing on it. It has to be impermeable as well so the bleach won't soak through.
Take your piece of chalk. If you only have one break it in half. Sharing doesn't come naturally to kids, so make sure there's enough chalk for everyone! All they have to do is sketch their design onto the shirt with their chalk. Its not as easy as it looks to draw on fabric, so reassure them that mistakes are ok, the chalk will brush off and you'll only put the bleach where its supposed to go.
Kids art is never what you envision. My son, who is four, told me he was going to draw a dragon on his shirt. He made line after line, paused to study his work, then looked at me and said, "its a machine!" OOOOooookkkaaayy! Gotta love it.
Step 3: Bleach Application
The stuff inside the bleach pen, if you're not familiar, is actually a gel form of bleach. Bleach pen is not nearly as noxious as straight bleach from the bottle, but there is still an intense smell and I'd advise opening a window or turning on a fan. ;-)
When the kiddos are finished with their design/picture, its time for the bleach application. This is not a job for young children. Not only is bleach a corrosive chemical and can irritate eyes, nose, and mouth, its going to leave a mark on the shirt wherever its applied, whether accidental or otherwise.
I applied a fairly thick line of bleach gel to every chalk mark my son put on his shirt, and the same with my daughter's design. Once everything had been covered with bleach we left it to set for about twenty minutes.
Step 4: Color Check
We let the bleach sit for about twenty minutes, but you can let it stand for more or less time depending on the color you want the design to be. For example, with the green shirt, if we’d rinsed it ten minutes earlier my daughter’s fairy would have been yellow instead of white. Darker colors take longer go bleach than lighter colors, so if you want white lines on a black shirt you may have to let it sit for a l-o-n-g time. You can tell if you look closely at the black shirt design that there's a reddish tinge at the edges of the bleach lines. The kids were stunned by the color change and sooo excited to see their drawing becoming permanent art!
Step 5: Rinse and Reveal
After setting for twenty minutes the gel had begun to harden a little bit. This is good. Instead of submerging your shirt in water and smooshing it around and exposing the rest of the shirt to bleach, I was able to hold the design under running water and flake the gel off in small segments without exposing any other parts of the shirt to bleach. We hung our shirts to dry, but the dryer would have worked, too. ;-)
Step 6: Voila!
Happy, proud kids. They wore the shirts several days in a row. :-D