Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pintsperation - Trial and Error

So I saw this idea on Pinterest . . .

I seem to be starting a lot of conversations that way lately.  You too?

Anyway, the Russian Princess came for a visit this past weekend and I wanted to do a fun project with her.  She likes to do artsy things and I thought it would turn out cool. 
I had seen some pictures of bleached t-shirts where they had used a bleach pen instead of spraying bleach with a spray bottle.  I wanted to try this new method since the boys and I had experimented with the spray bottle method last summer and had a lot of fun with it, although we had some hits and some misses.  Good thing we have a lot of t-shirts.
The bleach pen method looked a little less complex with the ability to have a more detailed design.

I had previously purchased a handy-dandy bleach pen at the local Wal-mart.
They are actually really useful things to keep in your laundry room.
But we had different intentions for this one.

I grabbed a plain t-shirt that I had in my closet.  It was not 100% cotton, instead it was 50% cotton, 50% polyester.
Alexa's shirt wasn't 100% cotton either but the blend was different than mine.

Armed with our t-shirts and some ideas off the internet, we got started.  Coming up with a design idea is the hardest part in my opinion.  I just want it to look really awesome when I'm done!

We layed out our shirts and stuck a thin piece of cardboard or plastic between the top and bottom layer. You want to keep the bleach from bleeding all the way through. Then we got to work free handing some designs on the shirts. Shake the bleach pen really well first. Free handing doesn't always work out perfectly, but it's always unique. Part of the reason I put my design on the side of the shirt was because then you wouldn't be seeing both sides at once and wouldn't notice any inconsistencies as easily.

 Here is the shirt while the bleach was still on it, with the design completed. 
It was really hard to know how long to let this shirt sit.  I couldn't see it whitening well.  I think it was because it was a lighter color and possibly because it wasn't 100% cotton.
When you've let it sit long enough, you have to rinse it in cold water. I had to rub the bleach off by hand, it stuck on the shirt pretty well. 

Then you should wash it on the cold cycle and dry as normal.

Here is my finished project.  The look ended up being more subtle than I thought.  It didn't fade to white like I had hoped.  Maybe I didn't leave it on long enough but I was afraid to leave it on too long and ruin the fabric. 
I like the subtle effect though. 

Unfortunately for Alexa, hers didn't turn out at all. I guess her shirt was a blend of fibers impervious to bleach! I didn't think that was possible. 

So I guess what I learned from this is:
* pick a dark colored shirt
*make sure it is 100% cotton
*have a cool design already picked out.

Bleaching T-shirts is a fun and slightly addicting activity. I liked being able to make detailed designs, but the bleach pen was a little hard to work with since it would come out inconsistently. I will definitely try this again, the boys are already asking me to let them do it. However,
next time I think I'm going to give the freezer paper stencil technique a try.
What can it hurt, right?

I'd love to hear a comment on whether or not you've tried this out before.
Post a picture of your T-shirt too!

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Mary Kramer said...

I like it very cool idea, designer shirts at have the price with your artistic talent!! Great job!!

The Beaber Family said...

Thanks Mom! Maybe we can jazz up some of your shirts too!