Team Spirit Bleach Pen Shirt

Support your favorite sports team by making a custom t-shirt with a Clorox bleach penA few months ago I found a neat project idea on Pinterest. You can use a bleach pen to write or draw on an inexpensive t-shirt and create a permanent design. Of course I pinned it and then didn't really think about it any more until I wanted to make a shirt to wear to my daughter's high school basketball games.

Even though it seemed like an easy enough project, I'll admit, I really botched up the shirt on my first attempt because I didn't rinse off the bleach before washing the shirt. I was able to learn from my mistakes, and my second shirt turned out just the way I wanted.


  • Clorox bleach pen for whites
  • cotton (or mostly cotton) t-shirt
  • printer and paper (optional)
  • Reynolds wax paper
  • peroxide
  • iron (optional)


A little common sense warning before you get started. When you are using a bleach pen, it will discolor fabric, could damage your work surface and can be irritating on your skin. Be careful so you don't get bleach where it shouldn't be.

Start by washing and drying your shirt.

If you are using a long sleeved shirt and would like to write down the sleeve like I did, use an iron to press the sleeve with the seam at the bottom and the crease at the top. This creates a center line to help you position your design so that it is on the outside of your arm and can be seen.
I decided to write the school name "Empire" on the front of the shirt and the mascot "Ravens" down the sleeve. I printed out the words in a font I liked and the size I wanted so that I had a guide as I worked. You don't have to do this step, but it may be helpful.
Protect your fabric with Reynolds wax paper when using bleach to dye fabric Before you get out your bleach pen, you will need to line your work with wax paper so the bleach doesn't soak all the way through your shirt. I used six layers of wax paper to really make sure that no bleach would bleed through to the other side.
Carefully slide the wax paper into your shirt and down the sleeve. (Notice that the paper is positioned in the sleeve so the pressed crease is the center line.)

From this point on it is helpful to work near a sink for easy clean up.
I positioned my printed guides near my work then used the narrow tip of the bleach pen to write the words on the shirt.
If you want your design to be a little thicker, go over it a second time with the bleach pen.
I did this on both the front and the sleeve.
Let your shirt sit for 10-30 minutes until the letters have faded to the to your desired thickness. I let mine set for about 30 minutes. If you want thinner letters or lines let the bleach set less time.

As your bleach is setting, mix 1 1/4 cups of peroxide and 13 cups of cool water in a bucket or the sink. You will be using this mixture to neutralize the bleach.
Once your design has set, rinse the remaining bleach off of the shirt without letting it get on other sections of the shirt.

Start with the sleeve and quickly and completely rinse it with a fast stream of cool water.

Once it is rinsed you can remove the wax paper liner.
Repeat the rinsing process for the front of the shirt then remove the wax paper.
How to neutralize bleach with peroxide and water when dyeing fabric I was a little concerned that the bleach would continue eating through the material over time, so I Googled how to neutralize bleach.

Apparently soaking fabric in one part peroxide to ten parts water for ten minutes does the trick.

So, soak your shirt for ten minutes in the peroxide and water mixture that you prepared earlier.

Finally, machine wash and dry your shirt separated from any other garments.

I'm ready for some basketball. Go, Empire Ravens!


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The Chilly Dog: Team Spirit Bleach Pen Shirt
Team Spirit Bleach Pen Shirt
Tutorial: How to make a customized t-shirt with a Clorox bleach pen - Here's an easy and inexpensive way to design your own t-shirt and show your support for your favorite sports team.
The Chilly Dog
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