Stenciling with Bleach

How to Stencil with Bleach via

So here’s tutorial #3 in the bleach series! It’s an easy way to customize a shirt, fabric by removing color instead of adding it.

How to Stencil with Bleach (materials) via

For my first project I used a $1 doily as my stencil. I placed it on a navy t-shirt and sprayed a mist of bleach over top:

How to Stencil with Bleach (and a doily) via

I moved the stencil to another location and sprayed again.  You can see the color starting to change at the top:

How to Stencil with Bleach (and a doily) via

Navy….turning to a dark pink/purple:

Using a Doily as a Stencil via



Revamp t-shirts using bleach stenciling via

You can also use vinyl or freezer paper stencils.  Boo picked out this image and my Silhouette machine quickly cut it out. I placed a piece of vinyl shelf paper in between the shirt layers too:

Bleach stencil tutorial via

I used a sponge to dab the bleach around the stencil and I used a spray bottle to mist around it:

Bleach stencil tutorial (using Silhouette Machine) via

Once the shirt began to change colors, I sprayed the back of the shirt with bleach. Then I threw the shirt into the wash and here’s the finished result:

Bleach stencil tutorial (using Silhouette Machine) via

Bleach stenciling is an easy way to add lettering to a shirt too. Here’s one I made for Mr. LBB… he could sport the Lil Blue Boo name. You could also use a bleach pen for lettering.


Bleach stencil tutorial (lettering) via


Finished!  And….it’s something he’ll wear!

Bleach stencil tutorial (lettering) via


Visit the other two projects from this week by clicking the images below:

Bleach Tie-Dyeing via


Bleach Batik via



  1. Beth Morrow says

    I am the Queen of Bleach ( not on purpose ) but now I have an excuse and I will love it. Awesome!
    You are just toooooo much!

  2. Rochelle says

    That is so cool! I can’t decide which is my favorite. Do you have to wash it off immediately when it gets to the color you want it to be? Or will it keep removing color even after you wash it off? Do these questions even make sense?

  3. says

    Seriously… I love them all! 😀 I can’t wait to give it a try… Now to find a doily.. hmmmm great excuse to go thrifting! 😀 Or…. cut one with my silhouette…. either way.. Win Win! Thanks for sharing! :) :)

  4. says

    We were just talking about making our own team shirts (at my school, we’re the special areas team) yesterday and now I can show them this! Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. cher says

    i don’t know what i did wrong but i tried the freezer paper lettering on a t shirt and when i removed the paper the bleach had all spread underneath and the words were a mess :(

  6. says

    This is so freaking awesome and genius! Do you have a general guide to know what each color turns into after bleaching by any chance? Though it seems it’s often a red/pink/yellow… Can’t wait to try this!

  7. Beulah says

    Curious, any idea how well the clothing holds up wash after wash? The clothing I have that have had accidental encounters with bleach tend to get holes and fall apart. I love this idea and the look!!

  8. Jerri says

    What a great idea! I love your blog and am so glad I have found it. I look forward to your wonderful craft ideas as well as your inspiration. Your blog is one of my favorite places to visit.

  9. SangriaMama says

    Take it this outdoors or open a window for the fresh air! I cranked out a lot of these at once for my lil’ one and WHEW!

  10. says

    Oh my time I love this idea, thanks for sharing. I saw where clorox advertised you could do this with there clorox pen which I was going to try this week, but with the pen I thought it was limited to just hand writing..i did this same idea on crinkle gauze fabric when I make my swim sarongs I sell, but I never thought of clorox. I was using white fabric, laying down shells then using Ritz fabric dye in a stay bottle to get the image. This works so much better and gives you more color choices. Going now to follow your socials and subscribe. Glad I found your blogspot via this share. Hope you find time to stop by my blogspot and join me too :) have a great week

  11. says

    Great idea! However, I’ve heard that one should treat the garment/fabric with a chlorine neutralizer after bleaching, to prevent the fibers from deteriorating. You can get it from a swimming pool supplies store.

  12. Swani says

    For the LIL BOO BLUE stencil, did you use your machine to cut out the letters? Could I use individual letter stencils (like for paint stenciling)? How did you stop the edges from bleeding? Thanks so much for the tutorial – have been looking all over for a fabric stenciling DIY for t-shirts that are going in my daughter’s loot bags! Thanks again! P.S. On neutralizing the bleach so the fibers don’t deteriorate: apparently a spray of vinegar does the trick!


  1. […] Whether you want to dress up a plain t-shirt or you're looking to rescue a favorite garment that has gotten stained, bleaching is a great alternative to dyeing – rather than add color, you can take it away instead for a different effect.  Over at Lil Blue Boo, Ashley did an entire series of tutorials on different fabric bleaching techniques, including how to use stencils to create a design.  You can use store-bought stencils, cut your own stencils, or even use various objects (such as a doily).  If you like this look, be sure to check out the rest of her fabric bleaching series as well!  [how to stencil fabric with bleach] […]