Sep 13, 2012

Bleach Pen T-shirts

I had saved a few colored Tshirts, but have not worn them for some time now, because they started to loose their shape, looked like they were washed too many times (which I'm sure they were) and just overall had a kind of raggedy look to them. But I still loved the colors, even if they looked washed out and they were still comfortable, but I felt every time I was wearing them that these should be  "I'm sick with the flu and I don't care what I'm wearing" shirts. I came across them recently, and started thinking that another overdyeing project was due. But I liked the color. I did not want new colors. Then I remembered reading a few months ago about using bleach pens on fabric for design purposes. Make sure you get the one for WHITES!

  I put newspaper and on top of that wax paper under each shirt, well, inside each shirt. The wax paper was right under the top layer of the shirt, so the bleach would not bleed through. A reader commented that using Freezer Paper ironed on the wrong side of your T-shirt would work great too. She was right, I tried it out and it gives you a great surface to write on. Cut a piece of Freezer Paper and using your iron on cotton setting iron the shiny side to the fabric's wrong side. Make sure the paper side is what you iron on!  I grabbed a piece of chalk and tried to draw a design. But stretched out shirts and chalk do not go well together, so I had to abandon that idea. Instead, I decided to be bold (or impatient) and draw freehand with the bleach pen! I grabbed a book my mom gave me about Hungarian folk designs  (I was born and raised in Hungary) and started drawing.
I let the bleach sit for about 10-15 minutes on each shirt (you may need to leave the bleach gel on for longer or shorter, depending on the the fabric and dye that was used by the manufacturer, and also on the fabric itself), watching as the colors were changing and when I liked what I saw, I washed the bleach off under running water. When all the shirts are done, spray the design with hydrogen peroxide and water solution (1:10 ratio) and leave it on for 10 minutes to stop the bleaching process. Then I put them in the washer, and that's it. They have a bit of a hippie look, because they look washed out and shapeless, but it looks like it is on purpose.