Easy Bleach Batik Technique

Easy Bleach Batik Technique via lilblueboo.com

Ever wanted to try batik? Batik is a method of dyeing fabrics typically using a wax-resist to create patterns and designs.  Here’s an easy way to get the same effect but without the hot wax. I’ve seen people use washable glue for easy batik, but the cold wax resulted in a much better effect for me: it dries quickly, provides a waterproof resist, and also washes out really easily.  Instead of adding color using dye, in this tutorial I remove color by using bleach. 

Easy Bleach Batik Technique Material Needed via lilblueboo.com

I used a Candle Decopaint Pen. It’s a cold liquid wax that applies in a similar method to puffy paint.  It’s meant to decorate candles but it’s perfect for this kind of project.

(Source: I bought my Candle DecoPaint Pen here at Dharma Trading)

Easy Bleach Batik Technique Candle Wax Pen via lilblueboo.com

To create my design, I used some regular school chalk to lightly draw a template.  You can add any design you want but I wanted to use some song lyrics.  Then I used my liquid wax pen to carefully write out my letters. I let the letters dry for an hour.

Easy Bleach Batik Technique (writing with wax) via lilblueboo.com

Then, I took a spray bottle filled with a mixture of 3 parts chlorine bleach to 1 part water.  Starting at the top, I misted my shirt with bleach and worked my way down to the bottom.

Easy Bleach Batik Technique (removing color) via lilblueboo.com

I sprayed more at the top to achieve this multiple tone effect. Once the spray was absorbed I carefully turned the top over to spray the other side so that the back would match the front.

Easy Bleach Batik Technique (ombre tones) via lilblueboo.com

Once I saw the shirt begin to change colors sufficiently, I began to rinse out the bleach in the sink with warm water. (I recommend using gloves….I’m not being a good example here!) The wax lettering will begin to come off.  I used a small kitchen scrub brush to help get any stubborn wax off.

Easy Bleach Batik Technique (wax washes out) via lilblueboo.com

After all the wax was removed, I put the shirt in the washing machine with a small amount of detergent for a quick cycle.  Here’s the final result!

Easy Bleach Batik Technique (finished result) via lilblueboo.com


You can also use this effect on just pieces of fabric. I used a small piece of purple knit to make an applique.  I started by just drawing out the word “love”:

Easy Bleach Batik Technique - applique via lilblueboo.com

Using a spray bottle, I sprayed a small amount across the wax:

Easy Bleach Batik Technique on Applique via lilblueboo.com

Here’s as the bleach removes color from the fabric:

Easy Bleach Batik Technique - Color Removed via lilblueboo.com

After the wax was removed and the fabric washed, I added fusible web to the back and cut it into a heart shape. I ironed it onto a shirt as a patch and sewed around the edges to make sure it would stay attached:

Easy Bleach Batik Technique - Finished Applique via lilblueboo.com

I love this one!

Easy Bleach Batik Technique - Finished Applique via lilblueboo.com

These song lyrics are from John Lennon’s Imagine. You can draw a picture, add a pattern, write out a quote or scripture etc. What would you add to yours?

Easy Bleach Batik Technique - Song Lyrics via lilblueboo.com

Stay tuned for 2 more variations on this project in the next 2 days!


  1. Claudia says

    It looks fabulous! Love the Lennon quote,too. I can’t wait to see the other variations.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    this is amazing! I’m going to use this technique to make floral shorts! (I’ll credit you of course :) but the shirts look lovely!

  3. Loralai's Mommy says

    I am totally making one of these for my daughter and me!! I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for the fantastic idea :)

  4. Deadra says

    I’m so adding this to my list of MUST makes!!
    Thanks for the easy to follow tut!!
    You’re an inspiration to all!

  5. Jes says

    Awesomeness! Quick question though. Do you put anything inside the shirt to separate the layers? Wondering about the bleach soaking through from the back side?

  6. Beth Morrow says

    Omgoodness! LOVE,LOVE,LOVE THIS! The wheels are turning…thanks for sharing!
    Love ya too,

  7. cher says

    the shirt you made is beautiful, i’d buy it at the shops if i saw it for sure.
    Question: is there another way to get the same effect without using that liquid wax pen?

    • Becky B. says

      I was wondering the same. We only have Wal-mart and Target in my city and I’m not sure if they carry them. I don’t want to have to drive so far away for something so small.

  8. Judy says

    Love it, also love that song. I’ll be trying that if I can find a pen. That would be great to do a quilt as well.

  9. Emily says

    Lady, I don’t have any children, but I absolutely love the projects on your site–so fashionable! Thanks so much for all your time and effort! :)

  10. Deb says

    I. Ought the liquid wax from your link in this tutorial and prepared my shirt, wrote the letters in chalk on my t shirt, was all prepared to use the wax and after two letters it froze up on me! Clogged! I used a straight pin repeatedly but still. Oohing. I warmed the bottle over and over. It still nothing! I don’t understand it because I live in Hawaii with warm weather! How did you keep yours from staying unclogged?
    I won’t recommend this to anyone unless it works. The idea is grat but the application is awful!

    • says

      I’m not sure why it clogged up Deb. I used mine in hot weather too….but we have very dry heat…..and I didn’t have any problem with it. It flowed out just like puffy paint. Maybe you need to cut the hole larger in the top….larger than a straight pin. Otherwise any small particle will clog the tip.

  11. says

    Gorgeous technique, I really want to try this! I’m not sure I can get the cold wax pen here. I was going to try the glue method but it does sound a lot slower with the drying time needed. I like quick results!

  12. says

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is wonderful, as well
    as the content!

  13. carla says

    Hi there!

    Love this project, thank you so much for sharing~ Was wondering if I use a white shirt with dyes…. should I still use the WHITE candle marker or should I use one with color? MANY THANKS in advance.

  14. Samantha says

    I have done a similar project only instead of wax we used a mixture of flour and water (mixed until it was about like pancake batter), put it in squeeze bottles and applied to our shirts. Let the shirts dry for at least an hour. The mixture hardens. We used fabric spray paint but I am loving the bleach look as well.