Bleached Shirt 2.0 DIY Tutorial

Hey, crafters! Since I’ve gotten a lot of questions on my last bleached shirt DIY, I wanted to do a sort of recap to hopefully answer those questions a little more clearly.

Some helpful tips:

  • Any dark colored shirt will work. I’ve even done this technique on a sky blue shirt and it shows up; it just doesn’t have that awesome contrast.
  • You’ll need a printout of your design. A silhouette is usually the best, and you can find all sorts of things on the internet that will work! Or, you can always freehand something.
  • You will need freezer paper that you can purchase at any grocery store or even on Amazon. It is NOT the same as parchment paper, and wax paper is coated on both sides, so neither of those will work for this. You will need to use FREEZER paper.

How to use freezer paper to make a stencil for a shirt.

Now, to create the shirt!

Cut enough of the freezer paper to cover your printed image, then trace the image with a marker (or a pen or pencil will also be fine.) Make sure the shiny side of the freezer paper is face down. You don’t want to draw on that side.

Tracing a design for a shirt DIY.

Cut out your design. Once done, decide where you want to place it on your shirt (being sure the shiny side is face down onto the shirt again), then carefully iron it on. The wax on the one side of the freezer paper will become an adhesive and keep your stencil in place. It will not ruin the shirt and easily peels off.

Shirt stencil made from freezer paper.

Now, outside or in a place you’re not afraid to spray bleach (like your bathroom or even kitchen counter), lay your shirt flat. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts bleach and water. You do not need a lot for this project, and I used whatever bleach I had on hand. There is nothing specific or special about it.

I placed a couple of Dollar Tree place mats inside the shirt. You can do this or place some cardboard inside to make sure the bleach doesn’t seep through to the back.

Test your spray bottle first, then holding it a short distance away from your shirt, spray a couple of times. Wait a minute and watch the bleach begin to work its magic. If it’s not bleached enough to your liking, spray a couple more times. But DO NOT over-saturate. If the freezer paper gets too wet, it will begin to lift up from the shirt and not leave a clean design.

Learn how to make a cool t-shirt design with bleach!

Let it sit for a couple minutes more and then peel off your stencil. You can either let it completely dry before washing, or wash it right away. I’ve done it both ways and have had the same result every time. The shirts I made a couple years ago are still going strong and haven’t disintegrated as some people have claimed. I just used the simple cotton shirts you can buy from the craft store.

Wash the shirt in cold water by itself and dry it normally in your dryer, or let it air dry. And then your bleached shirt is all done! Thank you so much for stopping by. Please feel free to watch my video below to see this DIY in action.

And as always, subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already or feel free to follow me on social and leave any comments below! See you next time!