Son(s) of Boring Black!




About: 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, besides London England, is Lake Winnipesaukkee in New Hampshire, home o...

Many of you seemed to like the instructable regarding how to turn a "boring old black t-shirt into something else, using bleach," so I am submitting this second one which will tell you how to make some more interesting (and less paint ball effect) patterns. Presenting Sons of Boring old black - the sequel!

Step 1: The Three "sons"!

As my own son would no longer let me anywhere near his closet, let alone hand over any more t-shirts, I had to visit my local thrift store and buy my own black shirts. They cost about two bucks each and all looked new. One even had the tag and price left on! One is plain black, one has a logo and design on the back, the other has the Greek alphabet on the front! They need livening up!

Step 2: All Tied Up and Ready to "un" Dye - the Flower Fold!

I decided to do the "flower fold" on the plain black shirt. Follow the diagram and put the bands on very tight.

Step 3: Spiral Fold

This shirt has the spiral fold. . Place the dowel in the center of the shirt and wind either to or against the clock. When you have the nice flat pie shape, put plenty of rubber bands, back and front to keep the shape. Keep the shirt flat.

Step 4: Another Way to Fold - the Fan Fold!

You don't have to speak Greek to fold this shirt! Place face down, fold in half from top to bottom. Start turning the dowel at the outer corner in a clockwise direction. (if you turn the other way, the pattern will be different - not that it would matter). This will also need to be formed into a pie. The sleeves will come naturally round and join the circular flow! When you have the pie shape put plenty of rubber bands on, back and front.

Step 5: The Frankestein Moment - Into the Bleach Bath!

Make a solution of common household beach, using 3 parts cold water and one part bleach. Please be careful when using bleach, don't get it on your hands or clothes, especially be carefull with your eyes. Wear gloves and aprons, etc. Accidental splashes wash off immediately. The two spiral folds I left for 10 minutes and removed - they were done. The triangular fold was not done and took 20 minutes of soaking!

Step 6: Spiral Result Revealed

Here is the spiral tied shirt, This is the one that had the logo and designs on the back and front. As you can see the letters are not affected at all! You get quite a nice spidery effect with this one.

Step 7: Here's the Fan Folded Effect

Again the Greek alphabet is unchanged. The back looks like it has fish bones on it?

Step 8: Flower Fold Revealed

This was one tough t-shirt and didn't want to be un-dyed. In fact I unwrapped after 20 minutes and nothing much had happened, so I had to tie it up again and put back hoping that the dye would come out before the bleach ate the shirt! Finally I unbound and soaked and here are the results. Maybe if it had been a thinner or a less quality garment, the pattern may have been more pronounced! It's rather subtle though! Definitely a true son of Boring Black!

Step 9: This Is How the Flower Fold "should" Look!

I was not satisfied with the result of the first flower fold, so I searched my messy closet and found two plain black t-shirts of my own, and went back and folded and bleached them! These are smaller thinner shirts, and these worked much better. I think the other shirt was so large, that the width when folded up was too big for much dye to penetrate. It was also a rather thick shirt to start with. These smaller shirts came out just right!

Then of course, I found a very dark green one!



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    52 Discussions


    3 years ago

    All mine turn orange.


    4 years ago

    genial, mis hijos van locos


    I am a little confused. In the first Instructable the solution was 1/3 bleach to 2/3 cold tap water. In this Instructable the solution was 3 parts cold water and one part bleach. Which one is the correct?

    2 replies

    So, in the fan fold, wouldn't one side of the shirt be affected more than the other by the bleach?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thinking about it, I came up with two ways. 

    One use a shot glass or smaller diameter.  Put bleach in a dish and dip the glass in the bleach then press on the shirt.... sort of like a cookie cutter.

    Or you could do it the same way we tie dyed way back when. 

    You use small rubber bands, using your finger from underneath, push up a "circle" of fabric and wrap it with rubber bands.

    the object of course would be black circles with a hopeful tan background

    Good luck


    9 years ago on Step 9

     cool! liked the instructable. I will be experimenting with folds

    I'm also looking for one to do with stebcils or one to bleach with a design...any suggestions?


    9 years ago on Step 9

     This is cool O w O. I like the triangle fold best. definitely going to try it. ^___^


    9 years ago on Step 9

    i was wondering if you could do this with pants...
    soooo can u?


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 9

    It isn't really red, it's more reddish brown. When I edited the photo I may have lightened it to show the pattern effect better. However, the black dye they use for t-shirts seems to be different in every shirt! It's a hit and miss thing, as you don't know what the colours will be until after you have done the bleaching process. By the way, if you bleach a brown shirt you can get green and brown! Check this out this web site from another instructable member


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    However the brown one I bleached only gave me brown and light brown - it's the original dyes, the original dyes!

    new bleach 003.jpg

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Ok. My daughter likes pink, so I got her a pink T-shirt on sale cheap. I washed it in case if there was any sizing in the fabric. Then fold, fold, fold.

    10 minutes. Nothing. 20 minutes. Nothing. 24 minutes and more bleach. Nothing. I began to question if it was 100% cotten, but I didn't want to unfold it to check the label.

    Then Brilliant inspiration I put the whole thing in a microwave safe bowl and into the mcirowave. 1 minute at a time. Flipping it over between each minute.

    10 minutes in the micro wave was a bit too much I should have stopped earlier, but it really worked!

    1 reply