A Project from Design*Sponge at Home
Bleach Pattern Tea Towels Adapted from DESIGN SPONGE AT HOME by Grace Bonney (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2011.
Designers: Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith
Time: 1 hour (plus drying time)
Difficulty: 1 star (out of 5)
Resist-dyeing, like batik or tie-dye, is a lot of fun, but can be a mess—especially for those of us completing projects at home. Design*Sponge editors Derek and Lauren discovered that bleaching a pattern onto pre-dyed fabric using a gel bleach pen is a much easier, cleaner way to achieve a similar effect on a limited budget. So the next time you pick up a bleach pen to work on your bathroom tiles, consider trying your hand at faux batik dyeing using inexpensive, colorful fabric.
• 4 tea towels or cloth napkins
• Plastic drop cloth or aluminum foil
• Clorox Bleach Pen (2 pens should be enough for 4 towels)
• Rubber gloves
1. Protect your work surface with a plastic drop cloth or sheets of aluminum foil. Wear work clothes in case the pen brushes against you, and open your windows for ventilation. Lay the towels down on the work surface and draw patterns on the fabric with the bleach pen. We like the look of free-hand, slightly wavy lines, but you can also draw your desired pattern onto the fabric beforehand using tailor’s chalk and trace over it with the bleach pen. Let the finished towels sit for 30 minutes.
2. Wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from the bleach, rinse the towels in cold water. It is very important to rinse off all the bleach in order to avoid smearing.
3. Let the towels dry, and give them a final wash before use.
About the Author
Grace Bonney is the creator of Design*Sponge, a daily website dedicated to home and product design. A native of Virginia Beach, Grace has worked as a contributing editor at publications such as House & Garden, Domino, and Craft Magazine. In 2006 Grace founded the Design*Sponge Biz Ladies series, a traveling event designed to connect women running their own design-based businesses with free legal, financial, and marketing advice.