Bleaching A Design Onto A T-shirt: A DIY Project

For my DIY project I decided I would get creative and craft something, making a design on a t-shirt using stencils and bleach. I’ve never been very creative, and I’ve always been horrible at creating my own designs and materials, so I decided trying to craft something would be completely out of my comfort zone, and perfect for this project. When first tackling this project, I had concerns about every aspect of the assignment. I had no idea what materials I would need, how I would be able to bleach a stencil design on a t-shirt with out making a total mess, and how creative I would need to be in order to effectively complete this task.

After watching some tutorials and reading some text based instruction manuals on how to effectively bleach a design into a shirt, I went out and purchased the materials I needed. I needed bleach, a spray bottle, a t-shirt, stencils, and cardboard to protect the rest of the shirt, all items I was able to buy at my local Target. Up to this point in the project, I had encountered no problems at all and was feeling pretty confident in my abilities to create a t-shirt that would look good enough to wear around campus. However, I started to encounter a whole range of problems when I finally started to create the shirt.

The first problem I encountered was trying to figure out how to make the stencil stay still while spraying the bleach, and how to keep the stencil flat with the shirt, which led to bleach getting everywhere and making the first letter I tried to create look more like a blob, rather than an actual letter. I also had problems keeping the cardboard pieces where they should be, and ended up spraying bleach all over the shirt in random places before I figured out how to secure everything down. After a lot of trial and error, my final stenciled letter turned out much better than the rest, and while the shirt still looks pretty awful, at least I can say I got better as I went along.

In order to fully understand this project and how to properly bleach my shirt, I had to look up quite a few guides and tutorials before even buying my materials. I first looked through the Google search items that popped up about bleaching shirt designs. Once I found a few resources I liked, I then looked at relating videos or other guides that were posted in the comments or related sections of the websites until I found more resources that were very helpful. I found a lot of Youtube videos, such as one by Sandra Hidalgo showing how to create and bleach your own stencil design on to a shirt. I also found a lot of interesting instructional guides on sites like Pinterest. One helpful article I found was from Pinterest, and linked to the Glamorous Housewife, which explained how to create a DIY bleach project, done by Bethany. I also found a pretty good website called “Instructables” that has a ton of instructional articles and pictures to show you how to craft and make certain things. One post done by mikeasaurus showed several different designs and several different ways to bleach a design onto a t-shirt. One website I found, that wasn’t quite as helpful as the others, was from a website called Practically Functional, where tutorials are created so that “real people” can successfully complete crafting, and other projects. I also found a wikihow page about how to bleach shirts, but the pictures and descriptions were not very effective, and I didn’t find this source helpful at all.

Most videos and guides that I found were created by people who make these kinds of shirts and pants for a hobby, some selling them on sites like Etsy, or other small businesses online. Many stated that they created the resources to show people how they could get creative and have some fun at home with the t-shirts, and all the sources I found were credible, each creator having had plenty of examples of their past work in their videos or instructional guides.

After looking through all the resources, and finally tackling my project, I found that the Youtube videos were the most helpful. I found the instructional guides and manuals to be very wordy, and not being able to visualize and actually see what was taking place made it very hard for me to fully understand how to accomplish my task. My learning style is very conducive to hands-on, visual learning and the videos were perfect for this. According to the Birminghmam Grid for Learning, I am also very interpersonal, so having someone in a video showing what he or she was doing, while also telling me what to do, was a perfect combination to help me move through the process of creating my shirt. I also learn through trial and error, as can be seen on my shirt, with each bleached letter getting better, the first letter looks awful, while the last letter that I bleached looks exactly as I wanted it to. Being able to watch and listen to the instructions that were being presented, and being able to learn through trial and error, even though my shirt now looks like a mess, I was able to fully understand how I learn, and was able to increase my skills at bleaching a design onto a t-shirt as I went.

Works Cited

Bethany. “Crafting With The Glamorous Housewife | The Glamorous Housewife.” The Glamorous Housewife. N.p., 15 July 2012. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.

Hidalgo, Sandra. “Designing My Own T-shirt 2: Design with Liquid Bleach!” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.

“How to Make a Bleach T Shirt.” WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.

Mikeasaurus. “T-shirt Designs with Stencils and Bleach (updated with Robot Image for Download).” N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.

Wohlwend, Jessi. “Make Your Own Bleach Spray Shirt In Just 10 Minutes! || Practically Functional.” Practically Functional. N.p., 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2015.

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