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How to Use Bleach to Make Your Own Custom T-Shirts

Summer style is all about the t-shirt. Actually, style all year round is pretty t-shirt-friendly, but few things beat a lazy Saturday spent in cutoffs, your favorite tee, and a pair of flip flops. But who says that classic tee has to be plain? Using a bit of bleach, water, and a few basic DIY tools, read on to find out how to make your own custom t-shirt designs in a matter of minutes!

Materials:
- bleach
- colored t-shirts
- painter’s tape
- felt adhesive letters
- spray bottle
- waterproof drop cloth

Our favorite thing about reverse dying fabric is that you probably already have everything you need at home. And, if not, you can easily skip over to your corner store or market for most of the goods. For t-shirts, we hit up American Apparel and stocked up on a few cotton t-shirts.

 

1. Word Search: We riffed on the style of an old school word search for this one, with our favorite word appearing front and center.

First, layout your pattern and figure out a design that works for you.

Place a piece of cardboard in your shirt so you don’t end up with a reverse print on the other side. Now, press letter stickers onto your shirt. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 bleach. Spray all over the shirt. Let sit for 5 minutes or so and peel off letters. Rinse with water to stunt the bleaching process. Throw in the dryer to seal your design.

Create!

 

2. Yikes! Stripes!: That’s right. We’re using bleach to create stripes. Win!

Start on the front of your shirt and apply painter’s tape stripes evenly. You can use a ruler if you’re in a perfectionist mood, but we eyeballed it. Make sure to use enough tape so that it wraps around the edges of the shirt.

Flip the shirt over and complete the stripes with additional tape. Now, spray with that same 1/2 bleach 1/2 water concoction. Let soak for 5-10 minutes, depending on how light you want the shirt to turn. Peel off tape and immediately rinse with water, otherwise the stripes will start to get uneven.

We’re loving the pink and red hues on this one.

 

3. Galaxy Print: You might recognize this method from our Reverse Tie Dyed Scarves. It’s out of this world, don’t you think? ;)

Spray the shirt sporadically. Then drop small capfuls of bleach to create larger bleached spots. Rinse, dry, and rock!

This shirt started out as blue, and we’re digging the purple upgrade.

And there you have it, three easy ways to customize your favorite summer tees.

Which one of these designs is your favorite? Got any other ideas for making different patterns? Talk to us in the comments below or send photos of your projects our way via Facebook or Twitter.

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