bleach pen t-shirts are my fave

October 2, 2012

Sharon is back today with a super easy t-shirt tutorial.

My kids wear a lot of plain t-shirts. They are ridiculously economical (hello Hanes buy 5 get one free packs at Target!) and they make the kids look super cool (in a not even trying to look cool kind of way). But sometimes it is fun to be a little crafty and do something just for them. I am not an artist in any way. But these shirts still managed to come out looking pretty cool I think.

All you need is a black t-shirt, a Clorox gel bleach pen and some wax paper. I got these black t-shirts from the thrift store, but like I mentioned above, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom have packs of plain shirts at Target. They have an awesome pack of black, army green and washed out navy all together, but they are sometimes hard to find). The bleach pen I used has a thin side and thick side which is perfect for the two different designs I’m showing you. The wax paper just keeps the bleach from seeping through to the other side of the shirt as it sets the design.

Draw any design you want. It can be a silly little guy, it could be words, it could be a portrait of your mother…possibilities are endless. Once your design is done, let it sit for about 20 minutes. The gel bleach doesn’t really spread and firms up just a bit so you don’t have to worry about it bleeding too much. When the time is done, take the shirt to a water source you are comfortable putting bleach down and rinse the design. I tried to be very careful and not have the bleach run off go back over the t-shirt but it really didn’t matter. Once you rinse the bleach out, throw it in the washer and dryer and you are ready to go.

As you can see from the finished shirt, there is a little area near the bottom right where you can see a little bleached out area. I think this is because I had the bleached design sitting on that part of the shirt while it was waiting for its turn in the washing machine. So just note that even though you washed out the bleach, it can still remove color if left on something. Oops.

My oldest son is not allowed to dress up at school for Halloween. So I made him this shirt to wear instead. For this one, I used the thicker side of the bleach pen and didn’t leave it sitting for as long (I think it was closer to 12 minutes) so it would be more of an orangey color.

What kind of a design would you do?

Images by Sharon of Cupcakes and Cutlery


  • On October 2, 2012 , DIY bleach pen kid's tshirts said:

    […] T-shirt Guest Post October 2, 2012 By Sharon Garofalow Leave a Comment Go see my tutorial for DIY bleach pen kid’s t-shirts on You Are My Fave today.  It is the perfect, easy Halloween craft! Related […]

  • On October 2, 2012 , Gloria said:

    What a cute way to jazz up a simple tee!

  • On October 2, 2012 , Lena said:

    This is genius!

  • On October 2, 2012 , Lashley said:

    Cute! I’ve read other places that drawing the design in chalk first keeps the bleach from running. Would also help me with my constant need to re-do!

  • On October 3, 2012 , Erin said:

    These are fantastic – I’m going to share with all my friends with children.

  • On October 3, 2012 , Joanne H said:

    You are so clever! Just the “project” to do with the kidos next week. Thank you for sharing.

  • On October 4, 2012 , anna - Today I Like Blog said:

    great ideas! i’m sorry for your son, I remember when I was at school we weren’t allowed either but instead we designed our costumes in class so everyone was dressing the same 🙂

  • On October 13, 2012 , Bleaching Your Clothes On Purpose | So Crafty powered by Squidoo said:

    […] Are My Fave uses the bleach pen method to create custom designs on solid-colored cotton shirts. The crafter, Sharon of Cupcakes and […]

  • On December 18, 2012 , Betsy Stephens said:

    I just did this (on shirt still has bleach soaking in). I had two interesting differences. The bleach pen kept producing bubbles! Was very annoying. Second, on the first shirt, I made the letters too thick and the bleach bled. I really thought that the shirt was ruined – until I rinsed the shirt. Where I had put the bleach was still blue! So the letters were blue with a bleached out halo effect. I really like how it looked. I just hope my niece does.

  • On February 22, 2013 , me said:

    That’s such a great idea!

  • On April 19, 2013 , personalized spiderman tshirt birthday said:

    You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the web for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

  • On June 14, 2013 , Ani said:

    I want to do this project at my daughter’s birthday party. Should I rinse the shirts out with water before the girls take them home?

  • On July 22, 2013 , T-shirt Printing Murah said:

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog
    loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  • On August 10, 2013 , Finlay said:

    I like the valuable information you provide in your
    articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  • On November 3, 2013 , seiko wired said:

    seiko キネティック

  • On March 11, 2014 , Elizabeth said:

    This is very helpful!! Thank you so much!!

  • On May 23, 2014 , laser cutting machines for sale said:

    For most recent information you have to pay a visit world-wide-web
    and on the web I found this web site as a best web page
    for most recent updates.

  • On June 3, 2014 , said:

    Awesome blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little
    lost on everything. Would you recommend starting
    with a free platform like WordPress or go for a
    paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..

    Any tips? Thanks a lot!

  • On June 9, 2014 , Aviva Ubezpieczenia said:

    Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your web site unintentionally,
    and I am stunned why this coincidence did not took place in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  • On June 16, 2014 , Caiden Wiggins said:

    I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with?

    I’m experiencing some minor security issues with
    my latest blog and I’d like to find something more risk-free.
    Do you have any solutions?

  • On June 16, 2014 , Escort Agencies said:

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit
    more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your
    theme? Great work!

  • On July 18, 2014 , said:

    Thanks , I’ve just been searching for info about this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest
    I have discovered till now. However, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain in regards to
    the source?

Leave a comment


A Darling Site