How NOT To Bleach Dye
It feels like forever since I have written about anything that isn’t food or vegan related! We have spent a lot of time preparing our new blog and YouTube channel whilst juggling home education, house renovation and ebooks and I’ve let things slide a little for which I am sorry.
So today I am here to tell you about a funny little craft story which led to the design of our new logo! Who says I can’t multitask hey? So June is a really busy month for us in the celebration department. Not only is it Paul’s birthday, it’s also our anniversary and fathers day all within the space of a few days of each other. Eek! As finances are always a little strained I thought it would be a good idea to make some gifts. After heading over to Pinterest and spending (let’s face it far too much) time looking at beautiful crafts I could never achieve, I stumbled upon some lovely bleach dyed ideas that tickled my fancy.
I got my thinking cap on for design possibilities and thought since we were about to embark on our staycation (YouTube link here) that maybe a camping theme would be kind of cute. I rummaged through the craft supplies and happened upon a perfect triangle-shaped protractor which fitted the bill perfectly. All that was left to do was find the perfect Tshirt to bleach dye. Easy right? Wrong. This is where the humorous part of the story comes in. First of all, I decided to try using an old black t-shirt of Paul’s as I thought the bleaching effect would stand out the most on black. Wrong again! Apparently, bleach dying black garments makes your design turn orange. (Flashbacks to bleaching my hair orange as a teenager!!!) So I decided to go and buy a new t-shirt. It was at this point that I thought it would be sweet to do the kids a matching top each too, especially as it was a fathers day gift. I found two dark grey t-shirts in both Pops’ and Fin’s sizes so I knew I had to find a grey top for daddy too. I found a beautifully soft grey top for Paul. It was a slightly lighter shade but I didn’t think that mattered considering what lovely fabric it was made from. Wrong again! All will be revealed shortly.
I did the kids t-shirts first. They came out beautifully. The craft is so simple. I literally drew out the design with fabric chalk and then freehand painted on the household bleach with a number 2 paintbrush. I used one of my old face paint brushes but you could use any craft paint brush that you feel confident using. I wasn’t going to add the paint splatter effect but I accidentally spilt a dribble on one of the tops so I decided to go with it! (Yes this craft really was a comedy of errors.)
So it was time to start daddy’s t-shirt. I suddenly came over all nervous as, after all, it was the main bit of the gift. Not quite so cool receiving a present that someone else can wear right? I chalked out the design perfectly! Triumphant, I took a deep breath and started to apply the bleach. I put the design on perfectly so I sat back and waited for the grey to turn a lovely crisp white colour. I waited and I waited and…nothing. Hmmm, maybe the t-shirt had some sort of a protective coating on it when I bought it? I thought maybe if I washed and then reapplied the design that maybe it would take better. So I gave it a wash in the machine and when it came out, the design had shown some signs of lightening. Only just, but it made me feel confident that I was right and a second application would make the design more visible. I applied the next layer of bleach and sat hopefully staring at it but again there didn’t seem to be any major changes happening. So I tried popping it out in the sunshine in case that would help speed up the process at all. I didn’t. By the time the bleach had dried you could barely make out any lines at all! Now I’m embarrassed to admit my next move as I would consider myself an accomplished crafter normally. However, for some unknown reason, I was convinced that heat was what was missing here. (Why oh why did I think that?) So with my head hung low, I can tell you that the next thing I did was lay a piece of brown paper over the top of the bleached t-shirt and pressed a very hot iron over it. I’m not sure why I was surprised that when I lifted up the t-shirt that it was covered in holes. Yes, lots of holes!!! A very bitter lesson learnt here. Never put loads of bleach on a delicate, soft top and then iron it. You already knew that though didn’t you?
So in a nutshell, you too can do this craft. All you will need is:
- A ‘suitable’ dark cotton t-shirt
- Fabric chalk
- A thin paint brush
- Any stencils to draw around
- Protective gloves and eyewear
- A board (eg plastic tray) to go inside the t-shirt to prevent the bleach reaching the other side of the topAny old towels or aprons to protect clothing and surfaces from bleach spillage
Instead of giving daddy a fantastic homemade t-shirt we gave him a great big surprise of the kids wearing matching ‘Real Family Journey’ t-shirts. Then we filled him in with the funny story about the t-shirt that never was. He loved the design so much that the next day as a surprise for us he turned it into our new website logo. So, all in all, it turned out pretty well I think. Happy crafting and please be careful whilst using bleach. Oh and I welcome any advice on this craft if you guys manage to not mess it up as much as I did!