Monday, October 20, 2014

Designing Boys Shirts With Bleach Pens - FREE Patterns & a Tutorial

I've been working on a way to combine my love of art with sewing. I came up with a fun, artistic way to do it in designing t-shirts. It's been so much fun creating these! 

I decided to ask my grandsons, who like to receive gifts, what creature they'd want on a tee shirt.  The above image is what they asked for: a dinosaur, a snake (side note: the grandson that wants a snake has a Dad that hates snakes & when his mother reminded him of that, he giggled and said, "Do it Grandma!"....he's a bit of a tease)! The next grandson wanted a sea creature and since the hermit crab his mother suggested was just "okay" looking when I drew it, a shark was what that boy got instead.  My youngest grandson won't care what I draw for him, because he can't talk yet, so I decided to make him a moose just because.

I've seen a lot of cool looks that others have achieved from using a Clorox Bleach Stick to decorate fabric and when I saw a bunch of men's tee shirts in my charity pile, well, I'm sure you can guess what I used to test out this technique.  If you'd like to make a shirt or two, or practice this technique, I've saved my drawings for you to use. Let's get started!

First choose an image: 
  • Dinosaur bones image HERE 
  • Rattlesnake - (a non-scary one) image HERE
  • Shark image HERE
  • Moose image HERE
-Print off the image - remember to not print it using the "fit to page" selection. 
-Cut out the knit fabric a little larger than the image you choose.  NOTE:  this technique did not work well on light colored knits unless you want a very subtle look.
-Lay the fabric onto a stiff surface.  (I used my cutting mat.)
-Lay the paper image on top of the knit.
-Using the small tip of a Clorox Bleach Pen, draw all the lines.  (I purchased a new pen and found that an older one actually worked better.)  
-Let the bleach lines sit on the knit fabric for several hours or overnight. 
-Rinse off all the bleach first in cold water and then in warm water with a lot of good smelling soap.  You don't want any of the bleach residue left on the fabric.  

-Once the fabric dries, trim around the image leaving a 1/4" border.  
-Spray the back of the image with a basting spray. (This will keep your image in place while you sew.)
-Place the image onto the desired position of your tee shirt.  I purchased my tee shirts for $3 from a local craft store and cut out the sleeves and added colored sleeves, and made a sleeveless shirt for the little grandson who gets to live in the tropics for a few years.

Using the same color thread as the border of your image,  sew all around the image.

Easy peasy! That's all there is to it!  Your fun boys shirt is ready to wear! Or in my case, ready to mail to my grandsons.   Oh look, the rattlesnake shirt arrived:

And the shark shirt made it to Japan:

 xoxo Grandma

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