Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bleach Pen Art

I saw the technique of embellishing T's (or whatever) using a bleach pen About 6 or 7 years ago, but never tried it.  Now, it's all over blog land.  It took me a while, but I FINALLY tried it.  And I LOVE it!!  It's so fun, and addicting.  I've found that some fabric (or maybe it's the dye in the fabric) reacts completely different than another.  It's fun to see what's going to happen.  You use an bleach gel pen from Clorox, found in the laundry section by the Tide stain remover pen.  I've seen some people draw a design on the shirt using chalk, and then they draw over the chalk using the bleach pen.  Others just free hand it, or use paper cut outs as a guide.  Me?  I use contact paper to cut out my design, then stick it right on the shirt and  squeeze the gel on the spots I want to bleach.  The contact paper helps keep the bleach where I want it, to some extent (depending on bleed).  The possibilities are endless!  Here is a video tutorial on the basics of using a bleach pen from I am Momma- Hear Me Roar.
This was the first shirt I did.  It's John Lennon's self portrait and a line from his song "Hey Jude".  I L-O-V-E it!  It turned out just how I wanted.  The lettering is even a computer font based on J.L.'s handwriting.  Here is a close up up it.  It blurs out a little at the edge (which you should expect).  If you are looking for sharp, crisp edges, this is not the medium you want to use.  I left the bleach pen on this for about 6 hours.
It turned out so great, I promptly worked on the next one.  With the guitar, I was actually trying to bleach the guitar itself, not around it.  I cut the design out of contact paper, making sure to keep the circle and block to place back onto the guitar body.  I intended for the guitar to bleach out to a lighter color, but after about 30-60 SECONDS I saw the yellow halo appearing around the guitar.  I quickly pulled off the contact paper and washed out the bleach in the sink.  The effect I got on this one was unintended, but SO cool!  I'm not sure why it reacted this way.  It may have to do with the fact that it was a onesie I had dyed myself the previous day, and perhaps this particular dye (tulip brand) reacts differently.
My 5 year old loves guitars, so I used the guitar shape that I cut out of the contact paper from the green onesie.  I got one of his old shirts and placed the guitar in just the right spot.  Then I outlined the guitar shape with the bleach pen.  I then used a tooth pick to drag the bleach out away from the guitar to cause a sort of star effect.  This one took about 4-5 hours of bleaching.


Anonymous said...

Hello Carrie, Jaclyn here with Clorox. These shirts look amazing! I'm thinking of a few shirts of my own that would love the Clorox Bleach Pen treatment. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for exactly this type of thing to BUY for Father's Day. Are you making them???!!! etsy shop??? Let me know!