Friday, September 28, 2012

just bleachy

When I was in Minnesota last weekend, I went bonkers over Rachel's pants. She had drawn the prettiest pictures and poetry all over them -- with a bleach pen! She in turn had been inspired by Jen, who once fiddled around with them on dishtowels, and I thought it a marvelous idea. I came home and became a bleaching fool.

bleachy-final-fold

These cloth napkins are from Tuesday Morning -- they came in sets of 12 for $19.99 each. I'm sure there are more inexpensive options available, but I loved the jewel colors and thought they were worth the splurge. Plus the tag said DO NOT BLEACH so I was certain these were winners.

bleachy-supplies

Outside I went with my Do Not Bleach cloths and a protective placemat (to spare the bricks from what I don't know). I started out with the dual-tip bleach pen, which is $3 for 2 ounces, and it worked beautifully. The narrow tip and thick gel gave me plenty of control over how and where I placed my lines. However, I blew through 2 of them almost immediately -- it was only enough to cover 5 cloth napkins. Since I had bought the last two at our grocery store, I ran over to CVS to get a few more, but ours doesn't carry it -- so I picked up a 24 oz bottle of bleach gel for laundry for the same price and gave it a try instead.

bleach-in-progress

The bottle of bleach gel is runnier -- and messier -- than the pen, so I had to work quickly. But in the end, I preferred the effects of the bottle. The lines are wider, covers more territory, and stuff just drips where it will. I think the results are much more natural looking -- not to mention that it is much more cost effective than the pen. You can see it working almost immediately here. Do not bleach, indeed.

bleachy-vines

After bleaching, I let each one sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinsed very very very very very completely and extremely well with cold water. As the gel rinsed off, it created a really nifty batik/marble type of effect across the cloth, while still retaining the pattern that I so randomly bestowed upon it.

bleachy-in-the-wind

After that, I let them flap in the wind. As Amy remarked when she saw these pictures on Instagram, "there goes the neighborhood."

bleachy-outdoor-drying-rack

When all 24 were dry, I tossed them into the washer with a smidge of detergent, put them through the hand wash cycle, dried them on low, and then ironed them. It is not in my DNA to do any of those things but sometimes we must suffer for crafting.

bleachy-folded-2

It was worth the effort, especially the final push with the iron (that I hadn't picked up for five years).

bleachy-hearts

bleach-bird-sun

bleachy-pink-periwinkle

bleachy-detail

bleachy-layers-2

bleachy-layers-3

bleachy-layers

bleachy-cloth-napkins

Now I have two dozen smooth, crispy-edged, totally fake-batiked napkins -- and now my family knows what they're getting for the holidays! If you've made these before and have any tips you'd like to leave in the comments, I'd love to hear and/or see what you've made!

{Update: my favorite fiber mavens Candy and Traci recommend one final step in the process -- neutralizing the bleach in the cloth during the rinse cycle with hydrogen peroxide or anti-chlor, since it's hard to get out completely and can wear down the fibers over time. Check out Candy's links in the comment section for more info. Thanks Candy and Traci!}

{linking to Paint Party Friday.}

55 comments:

Kim G said...

Fantastic...I love this!

Em said...

I have been wanting to play around with a bleach pen forever! You're going to get me actually doing it!

Vicki Holdwick said...

Looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing,

xoxo

Candied Fabrics said...

These look great! We'll get you dyeing fabric soon!!! :-)

Bleach is insidious, it's very hard to totally get rid of - there's a chemical you can get to add to a final rinse that will totally inactivate it, here are 2 links where you can order it, the shipping will be more than the chemical, LOL!

http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/620804-AA.sht

http://www.prochemicalanddye.com/product.php?productid=16675&cat=0&page=1

But you could also run down to the drugstore (or your bathroom medicine cabinet) and use some hydrogen peroxide to rid any last remaining bleach molecules from your awesome napkins! Here's a link for more info:
http://www.pburch.net/drupal/?q=node/123

Natasha said...

I saw these on your instagram...amazingness, I am wondering if we have bleach gel in New Zealand, I hope so!!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

okay you are SUPER AMAZING!

These are FANTASTIC! I am pinning and I'm going to play like this too (outside).

rachel awes said...

i loooooooooove them!
they are like a
candy counter of
dish towels!
just pick your fav
artsyville flavor!
xox

Dana Gaffney said...

I am so doing this, thanks!

Jess said...

Wow these look amazing! I've done a lot of fabric dyeing and tie dyeing in the past but have never thought of this! 'There goes the neighbourhood'? I'd love to live in a neighbourhood like that! :)
Jess xx

Jenni Horne said...

Love, love this idea!! Great for gifts indeed.

Sam B. said...

They turned out great! I have done similar on a solid color tee shirt that had a stain on it making it unwearable. I stamped the bleach product onto the shirt with a cut off broccoli stem! Looks really cool and is now wearable again! You can find the bleach products more in a thicker paste form than gel, too. I used Soft Scrub with bleach. Not as runny but, depends on the affect you are looking for.

lisa b. said...

What about the neighborhood? If you sewed the napkins together and hung them up you would have a beautiful hand decorated prayer flag!

Claudine Intner said...

Great idea!

T.L. Holmes Williams said...

Lovin' it, Aimee! What a fun project :)

Debbie said...

This is a fantastic idea. I've used bleach pen on paper, but this has great gift possibility as Christmas looms in the not too distant future.

Daisy Yellow said...

Amy, I cracked up at your mention of suffering through things like ironing and laundering for the sake of craft. This is the most magical idea and all sorts of patterns are running through my mind. Just fabulous! Thanks Amy for the tutorial.

Mary C. Nasser said...

These are awesome, Aimee!
I must try this!
I've had a bleach pen around forever that I've not used...and now I can try the bleach gel, too!
Hope Tuesday Mornings still has some cloth napkins! :)
♥♥♥
Happy PPF!!
Mary
Mixed-Media Map Art

Christie said...

These are such colourful fun! Another awesome Artsyville makeover. :)

Maria Ontiveros said...

I love these (and your blog, which I just found and will add to my reader). I don't work with fabric very often, but this looks like something I can do. And I think they would make great bases for prayer flags.
Thanks for commenting on my blog, because it led me here!
Happy PPF!
Rinda

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

These are positively fantastic. What fun and what fun they will be to give away and to use. Thanks for sharing. HPPF

Netty said...

wonderful results, loving them all with their fabulous designs. Happy PPF, Annette x

cactus petunia said...

Incredible, Aimee! Such happy colors and patterns. Thanks for sharing!

Linda said...

Oh my these are FABULOUS!!!! I'm gonna make note of this and give it a go sometime-what fun! Happy PPF and thanks for your inspiration!

Diana Evans said...

holy smokes!!!! these fabrics are amazing.....you are super creative and I love them!!! Wonderful work!!! happy PPF!!!!

Giggles said...

These are so fabulous! I wonder if salt or vinegar would work as a neutralizer too!!

I see a table cloth coming next,no?

Thanks for sharing your talent!!

Hugs Giggles

aimee said...

candy said emphatically not to use vinegar -- I guess it reacts with the bleach and makes it something much more caustic! :-D

Gloria said...

Hi Aimee. How fun and how great they look. I have actually tiedyed before with tshirts using rubberbands for tying various areas. Thank you for sharing.

Liz said...

Wow, so inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing your technique. This looks like a great deal of fun :D

Should we let you loose with some fabric paint now? :D Think of the layers you might be able to create combining the two. Will bleach affect fabric fixed acrylics? Might be interesting to find out :D

Thank you so much for this.

Best wishes,
Liz

Daniele Valois said...

very cool!!!

Carolyn Dube said...

Fabulous! What you did took these from good the amazing!

Robin said...

These are fab!

Were you surprised at the secondary colors that the bleach brought out? (I would have expected the bleached part to be white!)

Molly said...

what a brilliant idea. they turned out wonderfully. good choice on the bright colors. you've inspired me to give it a try!

Tracey Fletcher King said...

Putting aside the fact that require ironing... these look like dangerous fun... I am seeing lots of these in my future... and i love the smell of bleach as it always makes me feel like I have been virtuously cleaning... so I will get the cleaning vibes without actually having cleaned... winners all round...xx

NatashaMay said...

What an awesome idea! :) Just love how everything turned out.

soulbrush said...

You are amazing -and have such an inventive mind and soul, love these- the colours just pop and the whole bleacing thing makes them unique and stylish- sell them on your etsy- better still make a set with your words bleached on them- now those would sell for sure, happy ppf dear one.

wednesday said...

Oh dear...you may have just sent me down the rabbit hole of wacky napkins. And I am also picturing cushion covers for my kitchen chairs!

denthe said...

Wow! these look so cool! Love it!

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

wonderfully done and so creative ~ love the random designs and great colors ~ (A Creative Harbor)

cat @ sea.sky.stone. said...

I've really enjoyed watching the progress on these on Instagram. And now, the bored little bleach pen on my laundry room shelf is looking at me with sad puppy dog eyes... :)

aimee said...

thanks everyone for the feedback and tips! and robin, yes, I was very surprised to see that effect. in some spots where I added the bleach in thin layers rather than thick globs, it seemed to only take part of the color off, so it created multiple shades. bonus colors! xo

michellegd.com said...

these are fantastic, aimee!
my kids will love trying this with me!!!!

Fallingladies said...

These are amazing and bright and fun, and i am so glad you started list it tuesday up again, i had just found it about the time you put it on hold, i hope to join in next week!

Andria said...

Super-cool project, Aimee! I know you liked the bottle effect better, but I wonder if you could refill the small pens from the bottle for designs you'd like more control over. Just thinking...

I love hearing your process!

minnemie said...

This is absolutely delightful!!! I love love love what you did (and that you shared with us HOW TO:-) Thanks!

storybeader said...

love how they came out. Was expecting white where you used the bleach, but the colors didn't totally fade. Neat! {:-D

Introverted Art said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Introverted Art said...

Aimee, these are fantastic. I am even feeling the bleach itch!!!!! Bleach is a no-no item in my household as my husband is allergic to the smell and well, he is the one who does the laundry, but these so deserve breaking the rules!!!!! You know, for the love of crafting ;-)

painted fish studio said...

they are so fun & fabulous! too bad i tend to use the back of my hand or a shirt sleeve instead of napkins! ;)

belldoubleyou said...

I did this once to a shirt of my boyfriend's.

You see, he really liked the shirt (pre-bleach). But he wore it to do laundry and got a drop of bleach on it. GRR ANGRY MAN. Behold, I said, I will make this into a bleachy doodly shirt, and you will be happy again.

And all was good.

truecolorblog.com said...

Just last week I wrote bleach pen on my grocery list to do this on some shirts! Good feedback out the pen vs. bottle. I'll have to get a bottle, too. These look great!

Lisa M Griffin said...

Very cool! I need to find some Do Not Bleach napkins. :)

505whimsygirl said...

Oh my. I love these! How very cool!!! You could put me on your gift list any time!!!

Hugs,
Kay

Karen Albert said...

Wow, this weekends project!! Adore your designs. I hope CVS has the Bleach gel.

PS I am having a Paris Book Giveaway!
xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Gloria said...

Wow! What a great idea for all my birthdays and hostess gifts, and what fun! Thank you for sharing.

Carolyn Dube said...

Brilliant brilliant brilliant post! I so wish that was where my neighborhood was going- artful and colorful! Thanks for sharing all the steps!