Finally, the bleach


After lunch we moved on to discharge dyeing with bleach and bleach containing products. We wanted to keep the discharge paste separate from the bleach as we didn’t know if combining them would give off any mushroom-shaped clouds of toxic fumes. (cough, cough).

Besides liquid bleach, which we mixed 50/50 with water in spray bottles, we used Clorox bleach pens and Palmolive gel dishwasher detergent. This is thick enough to use with rubber stamps or stencils without it bleeding like liquid bleach would. You can buy a thickener to add to liquid bleach, but this was much simpler and seemed to work fine.

Kay did some neat writing with the bleach pen on black fabric which discharged to a rusty color. Did I take a photo? Uh, NO! Jeri brushed some through a stencil. Did I take a photo? Uh, NO! Kay laid some keys down on fabric and sprayed bleach over them. Photo??? Better ask Kay! I was derelict on my photographer duties!!

We tried laying down some leaves and spraying the bleach solution over them. It didn’t work the best. (The next day, I re-read the chapter in Colleen Wise‘s book, Casting Shadows, on doing discharged shadows. She recommends pressing your leaves in a book for several days to get them flat. It would have been nice if I had read that part several days BEFORE we met.)

After the girls left (gosh, the day went so fast), I played for another hour or so. I had that piece of green where I had stamped the ferny leaves with the discharge paste and turned it to a lovely yellow-green. So I laid out 3/4 of a yard of that and collected leaves and grasses from my yard and sprayed bleach over it. I was working half-in, half-out of the sun, so it was hard to tell what was happening. As it turned out, not much. I forgot – that fabric turned to a yucky gray-green with bleach. (It was only pretty with the discharge paste.) And since I hadn’t flattened my plant material (sure wish I had read the chapter in the book more carefully a few days ago!), I had some odd green marks on ugly gray-green material!


I can't believe I'd show you this!

I can't believe I'd show you this!

Then I played with something else I’d seen on a site for discharging on t-shirts. They had taken stones and those marbles you use in flower arrangements and rubber banded them into the shirt, then dipped it into a bleach/water solution. I had done that with a small piece of dark fuschia fabric, but instead of dipping it I sprayed it with the solution. I LOVED the result:


The true colors are much prettier, but this gives you the idea

The true colors are much prettier, but this gives you the idea

Kay had tried the same thing with black fabric, hers looked like flowers:

Oh, that’s right, *I* didn’t get a photo. Kay, yoo hoo, will you update your blog, gosh darn it?!?!?

So that gave me an idea. I started with a bit larger than a fat quarter of solid purple Kaufman Kona cotton fabric. Rubber banded those stones, but separated them a bit:


The 'stones' I used are shown in the lower left

The 'stones' I used are shown in the lower left

Then I sprayed the bleach solution just around the stones. The color started to change almost immediately:


The magic is starting....

The magic is starting....


And this is the result after the fabric is washed and dried:




Wouldn’t this be cute on a shirt? I have plans to do something more to this piece, but it will probably have to wait for a bit. (Hint, this fabric turns yellow with discharge paste.)


MORE fun with bleach (and bleach-like substances)

Today was the day. Jeri and Kay were here for Art Quilt Group. (Maybe we should come up with a more creative name? After all, we’re trying to be creative.)

We started with discharge dying using discharge paste. We did that first because you’re supposed to wait until it dries, then cause the discharge to happen using steam (as in a steam iron). Did we wait for it to dry until after lunch, as was the plan????? Uh, NOOOO! We (I?) needed instant gratification, so I got a hair dryer and we blow-dried, then steamed. All before morning coffee break. (Okay, no one drank coffee, but we had chocolate chip crumb loaf for a snack – hey, we needed to keep our strength up!)

I didn’t get many pictures of what Jeri and Kay did (I think Kay did and they will probably show up on her blog), but here are two of my fabrics:


Kaufman Kona Cotton

Kaufman Kona Cotton



Benartex Flower Mart

Benartex Flower Mart

I REALLY like both of these. I did them with foam stamps, applying the paste with a foam roller. Discharge paste is nice to work with as there is no rush. It doesn’t discharge until you steam it. So you can apply it and go do something else (like eat chocolate chip crumb loaf!). Once it is dry, start steaming it. The color change happens gradually. The more you steam it, the more color is removed. And it doesn’t need to be neutralized. Just wash it when you’re done.

*I’m* done. For today. But I’ve only told you about 1/3 of what we did today. I’ll talk about marbelling and bleach discharging at a later time. (I just really wanted to get *something* posted tonight so I could beat Kay to putting it on her blog! LOL)

Fun with Bleach!

My art quilting group is meeting at my home next Saturday. I’m supposed to be leading us in discharge dyeing. So I thought I should try some of it for the first time!

I bought 1/8 yard cuts of fabric to test and see which ones would give good results. Gathered my supplies yesterday:


supplies for discharging

supplies for discharging

To test the color removal of bleach, I’m using a Clorox bleach pen, and gel-type automatic dishwashing liquid. When we do the actual workday, I’ll also mix up a diluted liquid bleach solution.

I cut squares of each fabric, and wrote a number on them with the bleach pen. I have tags on each of the fabrics so I know which is which and I can go back and purchase yardage of the ones I like best.



in the sink

Some of the fabrics started to discharge almost immediately, others took several minutes. I stopped all of them at 10 minutes, first rinsing in plain water, then letting them sit in a vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes. (I will use Bleach Stop when doing yardage, I just didn’t want to have to mix it up for such a small batch). The blotchy areas or blobs are dishwasher detergent.

I thought one of the more interesting changes was this Michael Miller Jet Brown:


Love the blue!

Love the blue!

 After these had been washed and dried, I brushed on some Jacquard Discharge Paste. Let it dry, no changes are visible. But hit it with a steam iron and it’s like magic! (Discharge paste areas are on the lower left of the swatches, bleach pen the upper left, DW liquid on the right side.)

   This one is Moda Pumpkins Gone Wild


Michael Miller Jet Black


 Kaufman Kona Cotton Black


 Michael Miller Krystal #1302D – bleach hardly affected it.


 Benartex Flower Mart – love the yellow from the discharge paste

 Red Rooster Tokyo Texture. The fabric is a deep brwnish burgandy. The bleach didn’t do much, made it kinda greyish blue, but the discharge paste made it a pretty yellow/brown, depending on which part of the fabric. 

 Michael Miller Jet Brown. Bleach leaves blue, discharge paste leaves an orangey-tan. Fun!

 Kaufman Kona Cotton Midnight – a deep purplish color. Bleach took it to fuschia, discharge paste a pretty yellow. All the colors of a pansy.

 Batik Textiles #8007B – a mottled black batik. Bleach left it yellowy/orange, discharge paste creamy white. All the colors of a moonlit Halloween night!

 Benartex Flower Mart #02045. This was a mottled olivey green (photo doesn’t show colors well at all). I think I left the bleach on this one too long. I like the bluish color that the DW liquid left. The discharge paste left a very pretty greenish yellow.

This is so much fun! I can’t wait to do this on yardage. I’ve got some good ideas on things to try, like stamping, spraying over leaves and grasses, spraying through cheesecloth or mesh, using stencils, etc. You can also tie up your yardage like tie-dyeing and dip that in a bleach solution. Will post the results.

%d bloggers like this: