Thursday, April 28, 2011

DIY Bleach Customising + Cropped Top tutorial

I get asked quite a bit about my bleach customisations, so I thought I would write up a more detailed tutorial for those who want to know :D

This works really well for plain black cotton shirts or jeans that you want to jazz up :D

You will need:
- An item of clothing you wish to bleach. Black cotton works the best, I find. I have had results with polyester blends, but you will definitely want to patch test to make sure you have the desired results.

- A bottle of bleach. You can find it in the cleaning aisle of a supermarket. Black + Gold is cheap and works just as good as expensive cleaning bleach :) Make sure it's undiluted!
- A paint brush + container for the bleach. I usually use the lid, but some people don't like pouring bleach into tiny containers.

- Rubber gloves. I cannot stress this enough- bleach chemical burns are horribly painful, and you don't want to wreck your pretty nails!

- Put on old clothes, particularly clothes you don't mind getting a bit of bleach on. It can be messy!
- Access to a bathtub/laundry tub. You need to rinse your clothes :D

- Put down a splat mat, or even do it outside if you can. I do mine on my balcony, but make sure I have a plastic bag I can put the clothes in to transport them to the laundry without dripping bleach on the floor.
- You have some plastic/a piece of cardboard/something sturdy to put inside your shirt if you're painting a bleach design on the front. It stops it from leeching through to the back, which isn't a good look most of the time!

Okay, now we're all set up!

I decided that this time I did a bleach shirt, I wanted to make it a cropped top. To crop a top, basically all you really have to do, is put the shirt on, mark where you'd like to cut it + then shear it off with sharp fabric scissors. You can hem it if you'd really like, but I find with cotton shirts, the cut tends to roll a little which eliminates the need for hemming. That said, make sure you keep this in mind, as your top will always end up a centimetre or so shorter than you intended because of that rolling :)

How to:

1. Prepare your work area. Sketch out the design you wish to paint onto your shirt if desired, otherwise you can freehand it. If you're not just spattering with bleach, make sure you put cardboard up inside the shirt to stop the bleach from leeching through to the back.
If you're just going for a splatter effect, it's not such a bad thing, so you don't have to worry about it :)

2. Don't dilute your bleach! Put on the gloves, and go mad! I find for a good splattering effect, if you load a big paint brush up + flick bleach, it comes out quite good! You can dribble it on with the lid, splash it your gloves- it can get quite messy, which is why wearing old clothes is important. And eye protection, for that matter!
If you're going with painting, try not to expect a hugely sharp image, it may bleed a tiny bit. It's a mistake free zone too, if you smudge it, don't get sad- it will add to the DIY look :D

3. Once you've bleached + painted to your hearts content, let it sit in the sun for a couple of minutes to develop. You will see it's start to lighten around the edges, but most of the time, it's all you see of the developing. I find a good waiting time is three minutes- by then you can see some of the spatters lifting well.

My latest creation soaking in the sun. The warm sunlight helps bleach develop ^_^

4. Safely transport your garment to a tub where you can rinse it. If that means whacking it in a plastic bag, do so- you do NOT want bleach stains on your carpet!
Rinse under a cool tap until the water runs clear. I find after that, putting it in the washing machine for a rinse + a spin ensures you get the rest of the bleach out. There is nothing worse that the smell of not rinsed bleach clothing. Puke!

5. Air dry, flat if you can. And viola- you are now the proud owner of a totally unique, totally rad bleached clothes! How did yours turn out? Send me pictures! ♥

I wore my cropped shirt out today- it came out a liiitttle shorter than I thought it would (remember what I was saying about the fabric rolling up? Yeaaaah.)

But I had the bodylove to rock it today- along with my high waisted cut offs + bowler hat. I bought fodder for my next DIY project- stay tuned ;D

Happy customising!




  1. woooow it's so greaaaat!
    I love the shape of the t-shirt!
    it looks like the jackets tails!

  2. That outfits so awesome, not the kind of style I usually wear but I see that and want to try it on XD

  3. I soaked from the knee down my black skinnies in diluted bleach so it came out as a half-assed attempt, put them through a rinse cycle and dried them. Then I took straight bleach and painted it on to the back pockets and belt hoops and did some random splattering and they came out awesome.
    No one I know likes them coz they're all a bunch of boobs but I love them. Don't have pics though because I am so not photogenic and I'm too sick to do anything right now.

  4. I <3 you by the way. ^_^
    But my shirt did not come out as great as yours. Never the less my pants came out pretty decent.
    I hope it's okay that I mentioned you in my word-press since the idea/inspiration came from you, I have the image hyperlinked to your blog.

  5. Totally just used this method for a t-shirt. Thanks!
    I messed it up quite a bit.. but it was my first attempt-

    I'm going to be using it for a photo of mine. It'll be up in my Deviant Art some time this week :)