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DIY Bleached and Stenciled Tees


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How to make DIY bleached and stenciled tees. I have a new video up on Threadbanger where I show how to make some awesome bleached, dyed and stenciled T-shirts! 

I started with cotton t-shirts I bought at Target, they were already colored – red, blue, charcoal. Neon shirts didn’t work, keep that in mind!

Supplies and directions for DIY Bleached and Stenciled Tees:

Bleach is pretty strong, so make sure to wear a mask and gloves.

Dilute the bleach in a spray bottle, half water, half bleach will work nicely. If you use too much bleach, it can create holes in the fabric. Now if you want that kind of look, cool, but keep it mind that even after you wash out the bleach it will still weaken the fibers.

Work in a ventilated area.

Line your work area with plastic covering so you don’t get bleach on your table or other items.


Check the label to make sure it is 100% cotton. I found 60% cotton works as well, but anything less than that it won’t work. 

Wash your shirt, especially if it is brand new or if it has fabric softener on it. You want it to be as pure as possible, just nice, soft fabric!

Crumple the shirt and spray on the bleach.

Let it set until you see the color lift, not too much or it could create a hole in the shirt, especially if the fabric is thin.

Quickly take the shirt to the sink and use a sprayer to rinse out the bleach. Give it a good soak. Once it looks like the bleach is rinsed out, wash it in the machine.

Another method:

bleached and stenciled tee-1

Apply tape or stencils and then spray over them with the bleach.

Add the dye!

Set it on a clean area of the plastic liner on a table. Prepare your dye! For this we used the Tulip One-Step Dye. Choose your color, remove the lid, add water to the fill line on the bottle, and shake. until fully mixed.

Make sure to wear gloves!

bleached and stenciled tee-

Add a generous amount of dye.

Unless you are using a spray bottle of the dye, then spray over the bleached area. When it’s all done the bleached area will be the color of the dye you use. Pretty cool, right?

Wrap your shirt in plastic and let it set for six hours. This is how long it takes the dye to activate.

Rinse out the dye in the sink until the water runs clear. 

Wash the shirt in the washing machine again.

Hang dry.

Add the stencil:

Slide a piece of cardboard between the layers of your shirt. This is the the bleach won’t soak through to the other side. For this project, we are using a detailed stencil and we want the design to be nice and crisp on the front. 

Set the shirt flat on the table.

Apply some  Aleene’s Repositionable Tacky Spray to affix the stencil to the shirt. This is so the bleach won’t go under the stencil. Smooth the stencil down with your fingers, make sure all the seams are flush with the surface of the shirt.

bleached and stenciled tee-

When you are done, you’ll end up with a cool shirt like this. Check out the video to see the other designs I made!

bleached and stenciled tee-

Summer photography contest at the @HeardMuseum

At Last (music cover!)


2 thoughts on “DIY Bleached and Stenciled Tees”

  1. Is there anywhere that we can see a side-by-side comparison of the bleaching process and the finished t’s? They all flashed by so fast, and it’d be great to see how this turned into that, you know? 🙂 Thanks!


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