Last week I decided to try painting with bleach. Instead of adding color with paint, I'm taking it away. I have to say this was a fun experiment. You don't really know how it's going to turn out until everything is all washed and dry. It's inexpensive and you can paint with bleach on most cotton items. Blankets, placemats, pillowcases, clothes—have fun! I painted on napkins and lampshades for my first attempt. Want to try it out for yourself? Check out the directions below or head to my blog, The Paper Mama.
What You Need
- Bleach or bleach pen
- Old paintbrush
- Solid color cotton fabric napkins and/or a lampshade
Step 1: Prep for PaintIMAGE COURTESY CHELSEY ANDREWS
In a well ventilated area: put on your gloves, goggles, and apron (I did all this outside). Open the bleach pen and squirt some of the bleach into a jar.
Step 2: Brush BleachIMAGE COURTESY CHELSEY ANDREWS
Dip your paintbrush into the bleach and brush a small horizontal line onto the fabric and/or lampshade. You can do little short lines, or long lines. Create a little pattern with the lines. Don't worry if the design isn't perfect, freehand painting this project will give it charm. Though, if you'd prefer, you can always use a washable fabric pencil and ruler to mark where you want the lines to go.
Editor's Tip: Feel free to get creative with your designs! You don't have to brush the bleach on with a paintbrush, instead you can use the tip of the bleach brush to make a neat design. Polka dots, lines, and swirls. Maybe some flowers? Words? Try whatever you'd like!
Step 3: Let DryIMAGE COURTESY CHELSEY ANDREWS
Let the bleach sit on the fabric until you start to see the fabric turning white. Mine sat for about 3 hours. Wash and dry the napkins (separate from any clothes) before using. For the lampshade, rinse off the bleach in the sink and let dry completely before using.
Party-Ready NapkinsIMAGE COURTESY CHELSEY ANDREWS
Once you've mastered your technique, try bleaching your favorite fabric decor for a pattern boost. Plain tea towels in a colorful shade can easily be updated with a fun bleach design and used for every type of celebration.