How To Create A Custom-Designed Tee Shirt With Bleach

Shopping Articles

If you are interested in making your own designer tee shirt, then an inexpensive and easy way to do so is by using bleach. The effect is sharp-looking, and you can make an almost unlimited number of designs of your own choosing. Below is a list of materials and supplies you will need, as well as step-by-step instructions for making the tee shirt:

Materials and supplies

  • Cotton tee shirt - you can choose any tee shirt as long as it is 100% cotton, but keep in mind that darker colors work best. Light colors will not provide a sufficient contrast to make your design "pop" from the shirt.
  • Printed design on letter-sized paper
  • Fine-tip pen or marker
  • Clothes iron
  • Freezer paper
  • Laundry bleach
  • Spray bottle with adjustable nozzle
  • Sink with cold water
  • Hobby knife with sharp blade
  • White cotton towel
  • 24-inch by 12-inch piece of cardboard

Step-by-step procedure

1. Print a design of your choosing - The first step is to either create a design or find a digital image that you would like to replicate on your shirt. The best images for this project have high contrast, sharply-defined edges and consist of one color. For example, simple logos work well, as do text and symbols.

After deciding on a design, print it on plain, letter-sized paper using black ink or toner. Set the paper aside for a couple of minutes to allow the image to dry if using an inkjet printer.

2. Trace and cut the design on freezer paper - Once you have printed a design, place the paper containing the design on a hard, flat and well-lit surface, and lay a sheet of freezer paper over the top of the design. Be sure to cut a sheet that is large enough for the design with several extra inches on all sides; the extra paper will serve as a buffer to protect the shirt from overspray in a later step. In addition, also be sure to lay the freezer paper so the plastic-coated side is facing down on top of the printed design.

After you have the freezer paper placed on top of the design, carefully trace the outline of the design using a fine-tip pen or marker. If you wish to add freehand designs to the freezer paper during this stage, feel free to do so. When you finish tracing, lay the freezer paper on top of a rectangular piece of cardboard and cut along the lines with a hobby knife with a sharp blade.

3. Prepare the tee shirt for imprinting the design - Check to be sure the tee shirt is not inside-out, then slide it over the rectangular piece of cardboard. Apply a hot iron to the surface of the shirt where you wish to place the design and remove any wrinkles that might be present.

Next, position and lay the freezer paper stencil you cut in step 3 on top of the shirt in the desired location. Once you are satisfied with its placement, apply heat from the iron to the paper so the plastic coating on the underside softens and adheres to the fabric. Be careful not to burn the paper or damage the shirt with excessive heat or melted plastic.

4. Spray the tee shirt with bleach solution - Prepare a bleaching solution by mixing one-part plain tap water with one-part of laundry bleach; pour the solution into a spray bottle and adjust the nozzle until it produces a cone-shaped fine mist.

Cover any areas of the tee shirt that are still exposed with freezer paper or newspaper, then spray the cut-away area of the design a few times until the surface slightly glistens with the water and bleach solution. Immediately dab the area with a clean white towel to absorb extra solution and to prevent bleeding under the edges of the freezer paper.

Once the fabric has faded a desired amount, apply the hot iron to the design to help dry the shirt and brighten the faded area. If the faded area still isn't bright enough, spray another light coat of bleach/water solution on top of the cut-out area, and repeat the steps above until you obtain the desired results.

5. Finish the tee shirt - After spraying and bleaching the design, peel away the freezer paper from the shirt; if you have difficulty removing it, place the shirt and paper inside your freezer for a few minutes to harden the plastic.

Next, rinse the shirt in cold tap water to remove the bleach from the shirt and prevent the cotton from being damaged by continued exposure to the bleach. Launder the shirt in warm water and dry on medium heat.

For other tee shirt design methods, talk to a professional printing company, like Absolute Screen Printing.


12 October 2015

brand name clothes on an off-brand budget

Do you love wearing brand name clothes but don't have the clothing budget for them? Have you ever thought about buying your brand name clothes online or through consignment shops and sales? This blog is all about saving money on brand name clothes. You will find tips for finding the styles and brands that you want without cutting into your grocery budget for the month. It is my hope that my frugal living will help you create the looks and styles that you want even on your tight budget. Hopefully, you have as much fun reading through the tips here as I did putting them all together for you.