Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Adventures in Bleach Painting

Recently I've been playing around with bleach painting and sketch embroidery on my sewing machine. Here are a few beanbag dolls I made. Notice the super awesome bug fabric that looks like innocent ol' polka dots from a distance.

Also, for Christmas I bleach-painted a sasquatch onto a T-shirt for my brother, who is currently madly in love with the show Finding Big Foot. My cute squatchy boyfriend is modeling the shirt.

When I bleach paint something, I find it's best to first plot out what I want it to look like. For lighter colored fabrics I use a soft leaded pencil, and for darker fabrics I use chalk. I recommend using a paintbrush with synthetic bristles to lay down the bleach-- the bleach will eat away natural bristles. Also, I dilute my bleach with water so the reaction time is slower. Paint the areas that you want to be the lightest first (the longer you leave bleach on, the lighter it will be), and lay down bleach on the areas where you only want a subtle tone shift last. I recommend painting near a sink so you can quickly throw on some soap and water as soon as you've achieved the tones you want. Bleach will behave a bit like watercolor, in that if you wet an area with water before laying down the bleach, it will spread out, whereas if you lay it down on dry fabric, it will generally stick to where your brush touched the fabric (it won't spread very much). Also, if you want to bleach-paint a shirt, make sure to put something between the front and the back to keep the bleach from leaking through. I just used a piece of cardboard. You can repeat the process as many times as you like, though I recommend fully drying your fabric between paintings.

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