December 23, 2013

Bleached Reindeer Shirt

In celebration of the colder weather and (quickly) coming holidays, I created a cute reindeer shirt. You can switch it up by doing the silhouette of almost any animal, although some will be harder than others. Bears and penguins would be adorable, and I'm also dying to try this technique with a cute quote. 

You need:
  • Plain long sleeve shirt in a solid color.  I purchased my shirt from Target for $12.
  • Household bleach.
  • A small paintbrush. The smaller the brush is, the more detailed you can make your design. 
  • Plain white chalk. I broke a piece in half so that I’d have a narrower (and therefore neater) line. 
  • Scissors
  • A paper bag or piece of cardboard
  • Pins 

Pre-crafting Prep: To prepare, layer your shirt with at least one layer of cardboard or paper bag to prevent bleeding. I used the front panel of a paper bag with the handle still attached (I left it sticking out of the neck hole) so that it wouldn’t fall out when hung up to dry.

Step One

Start by drawing out your design on a sheet of paper. I used the silhouette of a reindeer that I found online, but you really can do any animal. Let me know what you decide to try!

Step Two

We’ll use the design we created as a stencil. First, cut out the stencil, and pin it in place. Next, trace the outer edge of your stencil with chalk. This can be a little tricky because the chalk has a tendency to catch on the shirt instead of drawing freely. I went over it twice to make sure it was clear and easy to follow.

Step Three

Mix approximately two parts bleach with one part water. It doesn’t need to be super concentrated to work, and less concentrated solutions are less likely to create holes. Then begin painting in your design. I went over it once, let it dry, and then added to a few areas. Keep in mind that the design will not be evenly faded, and that going over areas more than once will make them lighter. The beauty of hand-made items is that they aren’t all exactly the same. The variation in color gives it character, and it will even out as it dries.

Step Four

Let dry. As it dries, the color will become more faded, so if you like the color as it is, you can go ahead on to the next step without waiting.

paint with bleach on shirt

Step Five

Rinse the shirt in cool water until the bleach is completely removed. This can be done by washing it in a machine, however, you’ll need to make sure there’s nothing else in the wash with it.  

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  1. This is great!! Such a subtle great effect for a Christmas/ Winter clothing craft! Love it :) Pinning now to my Crafty Christmas board! Thanks for sharing!

    Hannah ♫
    Sew Lah Tea Dough

  2. Love this shirt, it turned out fab! Great job, great idea!


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