DIY Bleach Pen Shirts

When I first saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew that I’d have to try it.  If you’re anything like me, the comfiest shirts you own are also the most boring.  You know what I’m talking about…the basic, solid colored, v-neck t-shirts.  BOOOORINNNNGGG.  I decided it was time to make them a little  bit more fun!

penClorox Bleach Pen: my weapon of choice against lame t-shirts everywhere.

From Target, these two long-sleeved, v-neck tees were bought on sale for about $8 each (less with my RedCard which gave 5% off).

Rather than bedazzling them, which my inner 12 year old wanted to do, I decided on a more artistic and creative method to spruce them up.  This is where the bleach pen comes into play.  There’s definitely a method to the madness… you can’t just start drawing on the shirt with it.

Step 1:  Insert a large piece of cardboard to separate the front of the shirt from the back (otherwise, it will bleed through).

Step 2:  Create your design on the t-shirt, being careful to squeeze the pen consistently for an even flow of the gel (not too hard- you’ll get too much; not too soft-it won’t come out at all).

*Tip: Be careful not to make lines too close together.  The bleach gel bleeds a bit, and if they’re too close, they’ll run completely together.

Step 3:  Wait 7-10 minutes (depending on how thick the fabric is).  If it’s a basic cotton, it should be about 8 minutes.  In order to tell if your fabric is ready to have the gel washed off, take a glimpse on the underside.


Also, take note that the bleach will not make EVERY color a white line.  The darker the color, the more difficult it will be to get a WHITE result as the design.  You’ll see that by using a deep maroon shirt, the color of the design ended up looking light pink, rather than white.

Step 4: Remove the cardboard from inside the shirt, being careful not to allow the bleach to run or touch any other areas.

Step 5:  Rinse off ALL of the gel in the area you’ve designed.  Make sure it all comes off and that there are no traces of bleach left on the shirt.


*Tip: You may want to wash it before you wear it, just in case there are remnants of bleach on the fabric that could irritate your skin.  Also, I’d recommend washing it by itself so that in case there is any bleach left behind, it doesn’t ruin any of your other clothing.

Step 6: Allow to hang dry (I just hung them over the chairs in our kitchen)



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