So, I was going through my wardrobe the other day, trying to tidy up a bit, and I came across this shirt hidden in the middle. I remember buying this shirt ages ago and I know I haven’t worn it… EVER! Instead of chucking it in a charity bag, I wanted to test out a DIY idea and bleach it. I was initially inspired by images I’d seen on Pinterest where people had dip-bleached their checky shirts to create an ombre effect. This shirt wasn’t my colours at all, so I thought instead that I would bleach the whole thing!
Let’s start with some safety
Since I wanted to try and get some more DIYs done for Hey Preston, I figured I should snap some pics and do a little tutorial. Before I start, I will say that this is super easy to do, but you NEED to be careful with bleach. I will pop a couple of tips here:
- Do this outside or in a well ventilated area
- Wear gloves when touching the bleachy water or the bleachy shirt
- Wear old clothes which you don’t care about (in case you splash any bleach)
- If you get bleach in your eye (somehow) rinse it out thoroughly with an eye bath
- BE CAREFUL!
I know nobody will be silly enough to do anything stupid with bleach, but I feel like I have to mention these little precautions, because safety is a big deal!
Now let’s crack on with the DIY
To start, you will need the following things:
- A checky shirt
- Rubber gloves
- A wooden spoon
- A washing-up bowl (or bucket)
- A plastic bag with no holes in the bottom!!! or another washing-up bowl (or bucket)
First things first; fill a washing up bowl with water (warm or cold) not to the brim, as you’ll need space for the shirt to go in without it overflowing. Next, add the bleach to the water.
I used about 200ml of bleach. The bottle was new and about a quarter of it was poured into the water (a 750ml bottle to begin with). My mum insisted on helping me as even though I am a 27 year old adult, she still doesn’t trust me with bleach in her house/garden… haha! But I totally understand 🙂 only reason I asked to do it here was because I rent and didn’t want to risk any bleachy accidents… and I don’t have a garden…
Then I stirred the bleach into the water to make sure it was evenly distributed, so I didn’t end up a patchy shirt.
In goes the shirt, straight into the water to soak. I pushed it under the water (with gloves on!) to fully cover it then used the spoon to stir it about a bit and make sure it was completely in the bleachy water.
I left my shirt to stew in the bleach for about an hour, maybe a bit more, checking on it ever-so-often. This allows some time to enjoy a nice glass of wine and the little bit of sun that we had today! 🙂
My first check was about 20 minutes in (I didn’t actually time it… just guestimated) and I could see the colour was completely different. It wasn’t quite what I expected… it wasn’t the super washed out colours I expected. Obviously the pink was quite close to red, and so the bleach brought out a more rusty/mustardy shade. So I left it for a bit longer.
I went out around half an hour later to check again and it was slightly lighter, but still mustard toned. So I left it again.
The last time I checked it, the colour hadn’t changed, so I figured if I would need to add more bleach if I wanted a dramatic lightening. But this will do for today. I think I will definitely wear it now 🙂 because of the mustard colouring, it will definitely suit my style better. But it might get bleached again at some point… we’ll see.
So then it had to be wrung out and then rinsed out. Use your rubber gloves again here, and wring out the shirt into the bleachy water as much as possible, before placing it into an empty bowl (or carrier bag) so that you can safely carry it to where you will rinse it through with clean water.
Run the shirt under clean water a couple of times before hanging it out on the line. Once it is dry, I will be washing it to get rid of the slightly sickly bleach smell (a bit reminiscent of the swimming baths smell). BUT, I would suggest washing it with other fully white items, or light coloured things… just don’t put it in the wash with your favourite clothes! At least not for the first wash.
But here is the result. Although it isn’t necessarily lighter, it is definitely an improvement (to me) and looks quite dramatically different! The next thing I’ll be doing, is sewing some different buttons onto it; probably some nice wooden ones, since the pink ones look a bit daft now.
If you have an old (or new) shirt that needs a bit of an update or a makeover, then bleach could be an option for you! There are loads of cool tutorials online for creating some awesome looking clothes just by using bleach. It’s perfect for creating a grungey look or adding some batik styled patterns to an old pair of leggings or a jumper.
Have fun and be safe with your bleachy creations. Comment with your links if you’ve already done some crafty clothing updates, I’d love to see them!