Bleach Stencilling

Bleach Stencilling

Using bleach to stencil clothing must have been created after a bleaching accident but its a crafters delight. You can bleach t-shirts, hat's bag just about anything.

What you need

Bleach cleaner
Rubber Gloves
Adhesive stickers or freezer paper


For this project I used ready made adhesive stickers for the writing. You can use freezer paper and iron down the cutouts shiny side down to help it stick to the shirt. Your design can be elaborate or as simple as you like.

Before you begin make sure you prepare your work area, cover any bench tops with newspaper. Make sure you also prepare yourself by wearing an apron and some gloves.

Take your item that you wish to bleach and layout your design. Place a heavy piece of cardboard inside the shirt to stop the bleach going through to the other side.

Then take your bleach and add a small amount of water to it. I used 50% bleach cleaner. Just add enough water so that it’s thinner. If you were using pure bleach or higher concentrated bleach then you will need to add more water.

Take your toothbrush and dip it into the bleach and flick the bleach over your item. Keep layering the splashes paying attention to the area around the letters.


Leave it to sit until the color bleaches out.

Wash the item in the washing machine on its own. This will remove any excess bleach.

It has also been suggested that you wash it in vinegar to neutralize the bleach. But if you wash it straight away this should not be a problem at all.


  1. Its a great idea i got the idea from my sister in law 🙂

  2. Awesome

  3. i thought this was so cool and t kept my family busy

  4. I just finished a project using an old black apron. I put some paper stencils on the front and used a spray bottle with 50/50 mix of bleach and water. I love the results and will keep my eyes open for other items that may need a new life using this process.

  5. This is a very good idea for those clothes that accidently get a splash of bleach, or a stain. Thanks for the idea.

  6. my kids did this with leaves and flowers and the shirts turned out really neat!

  7. Great idea i love it, and i know your materials list says you need rubber gloves, but i was bit concerned your photo doesn’t show rubber gloves

  8. diluting the bleach with water keeps it from eating away at the fabric over time

  9. 5stars for this stencil and bleach technique.In the 60’s-70’s we laid out our jeans & shirts on the concrete, used an old toothbrush/paintbrush and went for it. Let set til color was gone, washed the garments. Names on the butts peacesigns…all good.

  10. I would think a bleach pen like the one produced by Clorox would give you more control especially for lettering.

  11. That is so cool!

  12. FYI! You have to use 100% cotton t shirts to get a decent effect. I tried it with a 50-50 blend and the results were less than stunning!

  13. I love the idea of bleaching out the color. I’m thinking about trying it with my retro shaped rubber stamps.

  14. Love this idea my mother did one a long time ago with a group and they used a spray bottle and used plant leafs as the design and a little of adhesive spray on the back of them to make them stick she used a big fern leaf on a light green shirt :)Love It:)

  15. I, too, tried this project with dishwasher gel (using a fine line paintbrush) to hide a stain on one of my husband’s pricey knit ties — the results were fabulous! Now that “Clorox” has given us bleach pens, the possibilities are endless!

  16. How easy is that , would never have thought of it myself , but realise I have seen clothing decorated using this method , probably at great expence.

  17. this is awesome! i’ve really wanted to try this and i’m glad i know how to safely now!

  18. I have directions similar to these but mine have me using a Clorox bleach pen.

  19. This already says it is an Adults project.

  20. Looks wonderful!!

  21. I’ve often thought about what I could do with an accidental bleach patch. This is the answer.

  22. bleach and younger kids might cause problems

    but i will try this

  23. bleach pens work great, and your have more control.

  24. I tie dyed a dark red T shirt using random rubber bands around bunches of the material. dropped it in a pan of diluted bleach and had a very pleasing result … my grand daughter loves that T shirt.

  25. Bleach may be difficult to work with & leave holes. I have used Diswasher gel (Cascade) with great results.

  26. Another easier method is to fill a sqeezy bottle and spray your article. This gives variety in depth by respraying some areas and not others.
    Don´t forget to dunk in vinegar to stop the bleach activity.

  27. To stop the bleach working dunk the article into vinegar. Depending on the strength of the bleach, if you leave the article for 1-2 hours you could come back to find holes.

What do you think of this project? Let us know!