One of my favorite DIY secrets is the Clorox Bleach Pen ($10). It’s controllable and allows you to “dye” only the areas that you want. I mostly use bleach pens to add designs, type, or splatters on clothing — however, this time I used it to create a mudcloth-inspired picnic blanket. If you aren’t familiar with mudcloth, it comes from African cloth traditions of creating symbols and patterns to tell a story. We created our own pattern story by bleaching these symbols on navy canvas to give our picnic blanket a reverse indigo dye look.

Materials and Tools:

Warning — bleach pen will bleach everything it touches, so wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Cut a diagonal line through all four corners of the fabric and then glue the edges up to create a clean hem.

What I love about mudcloth patterns is that they don’t have to be exact straight lines or have perfect proportions. Use tape to section off the fabric, but no need to get crazy specific.

Now, bleach does crazy things with dyed fabric. Depending on the structure of the fabric, you could get a various array of colors. When dying navy, I have seen either a more orange outcome or a more pink outcome. To me, either are fun, but if you’re going for a certain look, test a small amount before drawing out the whole pattern.

Stick to a few symbols to create a cohesive look. Play around with the two sides of the bleach pen — one side creates a thick line and the other a thin line.

Once you have finished drawing all patterns, let the bleach sit on the fabric for two hours. Wash out all the bleach by hand and then let the blanket air dry. Washing out the bleach is very important, because it doesn’t know when to stop and will always keep eating away at the fabric.

Grab your picnic basket and pillows to create the perfect picnic scene. May we suggest mudcloth-inspired pillows to complement your mudcloth picnic blanket? :)

We’re ready for warm days near the lake with good food and great company. Oh, and of course, awesome lake floaties.

And then sometimes when we’re shooting, birds attack our food. LOL!

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DIY Production and Styling: Kelly Bryden
Photography: Kurt Andre