Tee Shirt Recycle – Bleach Pen

Every new season I go out and buy at least a couple of fresh Tee shirts.
One of the reasons that I do this I’m sure will be familiar to the more buxom among us.
It seems that whenever I get a new Tee, it’s only a short matter of time before I spill something oily right on the shelf of my chest and the shirt is now stained; ruined for “good” wear. This is usually caused by salad dressing, spaghetti sauce or undrained hamburger among other culinary culprits.

As I was clearing out my Tee drawer this morning, I counted no less than three of these new-ish shirts and thought what a shame it is that I couldn’t save them.

Then I remembered a Clorox gel-pen tutorial that I’d seen somewhere on the net. The blogger had used the bleach pen on some stained kid’s clothing and just drew on some simple designs.

I thought I’d give it a whirl with the worst of my shirts. The Clorox White Gel pen set me back less than three bucks (got mine at Target) and I used almost all of it to do the design on this shirt.

I stuck a piece of cardboard inside so it wouldn’t bleed through and left the gel on for about 20 minutes once I was finished drawing. Then I rinsed it in water and vinegar to stop the bleaching process. Below we have the outcome. I am thrilled! Can’t wait to get on to the rest of my Tees!

Just a note: Tutorials that I’ve read say that leaving the gel on until it is completely dry will give a white line, 20 minutes gave it the intensity that you see in my photo.
Have fun with it!
UPDATE: I’ve had many requests to draw up the motif I designed for this. I have a PDF and some simple instructions available in my Etsy shop. For less than $1 you too can save some tees with this cute Boho motif!

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9 Comments on “Tee Shirt Recycle – Bleach Pen”

  1. Amy Says:

    Did you free hand that design? It’s awesome!

    • joanmm Says:

      Yes, I did; thanks!

      It wasn’t very difficult. I just needed to make sure that everything lined up with the exact center front, so before beginning to draw I chalked on a center line.

  2. Debra Meyer Says:

    thats gorgeous and a wonderful idea too bad I can’t draw to save myself

  3. Shelba Says:

    If you cannot draw, no way, no how, consider a fresh bottle of Soft Scrub and some rubber stamps. I used a combo of chunky and line drawn ghosts, applied the cleanser with a sponge brush, then stamped on a black shirt. The bleached portion was a light rust color and looked batiked. Be careful to put something between the layers so the back doesn’t get goofed up!

  4. jcbriar Says:

    Love it!!

  5. Bonnie Says:

    That’s very, very pretty.

  6. Stacia Says:

    I love the design! Way to turn a problem around. I can see adding decorative stitching, beads or those glue on crystals to further embellish it.
    I do have something to offer on the greasy stains issue. Being a girl with a shelf as well, I have similar problems. I made friends with the owner of my laundromat years ago. He said to apply plain old blue Dawn dish soap to the stain and completely saturate it. Scrub it in. Let it sit for an hour or so and wash it in the hottest cycle it can tolerate. It may take a few tries, but I’ve never had it fail, even if I’ve accidentally dried the grease.


  7. That is GENIUS!!! I have only used those pens to get stains out of white clothes, like my jeans which always need a touch up, but what a clever and creative use. Thanks!


  8. Love it. I am definitely going to try it. Maybe I can do the same on some of my knit pants. If I miss the bust, the grease stain always manages to show up on the pant.


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