Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bleach Blotches and a Pin Spin Save

What do you do when you see a t-shirt with a cute design, but you don't want to pay 24.99 just for a tee? What do you do when you have a specific image you want on a shirt but you can't find it anywhere? 


I love making custom shirts. For Girls Camp we did a super-hero theme, so I was trying to have super hero shirts for as many of the days as I could. I decided I wanted some sort of pregger super hero shirt, but I just didn't find anything that I really liked. So I printed off the Incredibles logo onto an iron on transfer, along with "Incrediboy" in a font I liked, and ironed that onto my shirt. It was a huge hit and was really fast, cheap, and easy to make (I don't have any pictures, or I'd show you). Your options with DIY design shirts are endless. Iron-on Transfers, bleach, paint, heat n' bond, etc. You can do just about anything! with all DIY projects, sometimes one method may be more finicky than another. Katie learned this when she was making adorable shirts for her daughters. She ended up with a Pinstrosity at first, but kept persevering and found out how to get the results she wanted using another method. Here's her adventure:

The Original Pin
The link I gave with the Original Pin goes to the actual original tutorial by Six Sisters...this isn't the actual pin that Katie used. The pin that Katie had pinned had directions in the caption that she followed. The pin itself didn't actually link back to the correct site...or a site that even had this photo on it. It did however produce some, ahem, lovely pop ups instead. So lesson #1 careful what you repin. Some people pin a picture, change the link to a spammy or dirty site, and then change the caption to make you think all is well...and it's not until 50 repins later that someone finally realizes they've inadvertently pinned a cute and seemingly harmless craft photo that really links back to porn. Check you pins Pinstrosipeeps...don't help spread these spam pins.

The pin she saw on Pinterest had this caption:
"DIY Bleach T-shirt. Put bleach in a spray bottle (70% bleach/30% water), lay your stencil on a shirt with some double sided tape, place cardboard inside the shirt so the bleach doesnt leak through and spray. Could take 20 min for full color effect. Rinse shirt in the sink then wash to get all of the bleach out. :)"

So that's what she set out to do. 

"I wanted to make ladybug tshirts for my two daughters, featuring their ages, for my youngest's first birthday party this weekend. My idea was to cut freezer paper templates (which came out amazingly cute for my lack of skills and a dull exacto knife). I had shirts ready, bleach in a fine spray bottle, and was all set - just had to wait two days for it to stop raining so I could rush outside and spray."

"Well. First, I sprayed and sprayed and the shirt didn't even look wet. So I got closer and sprayed more. Then I realized that the bottle was dripping big wet splotches all over the bottom part of the shirt. I gave up and moved to the 2nd shirt - which worked better, I just think I oversoaked it. I didn't even wait the 20 minutes; I gave the shirts about 8 and then realized that the splotchy drips looked awful, and this was probably going down. I rinsed the bleach out by hand in the tub, and then in the washer three times. The result:"

The Pinstrosity

"I didn't cry. I just laughed and laughed. And went to the craft store. I came home with this:"

Katie started over with her project, simplifying her design and cutting it out again. 

"I ironed the freezer paper soooo carefully, making sure every  single speck of edge was really stuck to the shirt, I sprayed as the can instructed, and ended up with a goopy mess. My husband recommended brushing the goop around a little, so I used a sponge brush and smoothed it out - and dabbed a little, to keep some texture."  

I have used this kind of paint before, and it is goopy and doesn't spray evenly. It's a little finicky to work with. 

"The can said to remove the stencil and then let dry for an hour. I was nervous to touch anything, but after about 3 or 4 minutes the paint started getting tacky, so I used the exacto knife to pick the pieces of my stencil off the shirt. The results were much happier!"

The Pin Spin:
"If I had managed to check the 1 year old's shirt and make sure I painted the design on the FRONT of the shirt, instead of the BACK (facepalm) then I'd be totally ecstatic. Instead, I'm just glad my baby has a chubby neck and no one will know that her shirt's on backwards. :)"

The bleached shirts can be hard to get to work satisfactorily, but we LOVE how the painted shirts turned out. Way to stick to it Katie! If you want some tips on how to make your own bleached shirts, Emilee did a post on that last year with her tips, tricks, and advice. Check it out!


  1. I really love that ladybug design, it's super super cute!!

    I think that the bleached #1 t-shirt doesn't look too bad. And I reckon if Katie grabbed that blue permanent marker and added some definition to the lines, it'd look great.

  2. I had a very similar problem and went the cheap route and "fixed" the shirt.

  3. With regard to the 1 year old shirt with the design on the back: just cut the neck binding off. She is only going to wear it for a short time (they grow so fast!).

  4. So cute! Now I want to get a bunch of maternity t-shirts to put designs on even more! (I already wanted to, don't like the graphic tees in Motherhood) Also put an idea in my head... changing a large mens shirt to maternity, can it be done? Must search online!

  5. Does this stencil spray paint work well even after going through the wash?


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