A Little Bleach & Packing Tape


I just have to tell you I have the coolest in-laws. Really. Reeeally. My sister-in-law is fantastic. She speaks fluent Cantonese from living in China for a year and a half. She’s getting her masters in Engineering. She throws a serious dance party. She has excellent taste in music and it was her birthday last week.

striped tshirt 1

While lurking the “Sale” section at Urban Outfitters I came across a radical black men’s tee that had bleached spotted stripes. Sadly it didn’t fit Chris or me, so I logged the idea in the back parts of my brain to use at a later date. The later date ended up being (surprisingly) a few days later when I was thinking of what to make for Lindsay’s birthday.

bleach stripe shirt 3

I got a basic shirt from you-know-where and revamped it using a little bit of bleach and a lot a bit of packing tape. It was super simple. I just laid the shirt flat on some cement, taped stripes down, mixed 1 part bleach 1 part water and flicked at the shirt with a brush like a crazy lady. I was smart and wore junky clothes and took great care to dispose of the packing tape without getting any stray bleach on me. After I bleached up both sides of the shirt I threw it in the wash (with rags as to not waste water and not ruin any other clothes). I would’ve been done at that point, but I had to add a little flair on the side. If you asked me how I did it, the only terms you’d hear are “scrunch this”, “squish that” and sew.

striped teeshirt

My biggest fear was that I creating a heaping, bleached mess, but it worked! I’m disappointed that I didn’t think ahead and make two while I was at it. I think it looks pretty snazzy.

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    1. wow! your skillz are amazing.

    2. natalie says:

      i like it a lot.

    3. Chris says:

      This shirt is a rainy day in the front and the night sky in the back as seen through window blinds.

    4. I agree- that does look pretty snazzy! Very creative!

    5. Brooke says:

      Love this! You did such an amazing job.

    6. Emily H. says:

      You have more creativity in your pinky finger than I have in my whole body! Love this shirt!

    7. linda says:

      Melissa, you fascinate me. You have the ability to see, and then figure how to make what you have seen or imagined. Your talents and energy are awesome. The shirt is beautiful.

    8. brandi says:

      this shirt turned out so great! what a neat idea. the flair you added really makes this shirt. i’m sure your sister-in-law will be thrilled!

    9. Kelsie says:

      looks great! i made bleached shirts all the time in high school. the only bad thing about them is they eventually burn holes through your shirt :( I don’t know if that was because I washed my shirts too much (from wearing them so often) or if i used too much bleach….it might have been from using too much bleach!

    10. Kathy says:

      That’s awesome! And the perfect solution if you accidentally get bleach on a t-shirt (though I might have to do it on purpose now).

    11. summer says:

      LOVE this! what a stellar idea, and your handy work is top notch, as always!

    12. liz stanley says:

      very clever, love the idea!

    13. Marie says:

      This is hot hot hot!! And you are so dang cute! I have so many plain-jane shirts that need a little spicing up! Hopefullly I won’t end up putting too much bleach and have holes all over – although maybe that would be kinda cute too!

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    15. Ruby Murray says:

      Love this idea, definitely going to be trying it for myself, thanks so much for making it seem so easy!

    16. […] of ’09 I snatched up a basic yellow tee & went to town bleaching stripes for a gift for my sister-in-law. I loved how it turned out & I nearly forgot all about that […]

    17. megan orsi says:

      wow. this is awesome! I LOVE this & I’m a huge sucker for stripes! I may have to do this! I could translate this technique to a totally adorbs baby onsie too! Thanks for the awesome idea!

    18. Marissa says:

      this (among many other posts/reasons) makes me wish I was your sis-in-law. :)

    19. wowo I love this idea!!!!

    20. […] Make yourself a new adorable tee using packing tape and […]

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