I’ve loved tie-dye since I was a young’un. Back then, in the early 90s, it was all about neon and fluorescent colors–the brighter, the better. Nowadays, traditional tie-dye isn’t quite the trend, but its close cousin batik nicely fills the void. Batik is another form of fabric dying that uses melted wax to create patterns and is often used in bohemian and globally-styled decor (another fave of mine).
So what’s a girl to do when she wants the batik look in her home, but isn’t digging what’s out there? DIY batik, naturally. However, using hot wax in a DIY project isn’t that appealing to me. That’s just too much mess and money. In the past, I tested this batik method from Denise at Pearmama that instead uses glue and it worked wonderfully. And then I discovered another form of batik using bleach.
Since you use previously-dyed fabric, the bleach method is actually a reverse batik. The bleach removes the color, whereas in traditional batik the method involves adding color. What’s nice about this reverse method is it’s pretty cheap and a less messier than the traditional method, since no dye is involved. That’s right: no dye in your sink, washer, or tub. And no funky colored hands afterward.
Allow me to show you how easy it is. You’ll first need:
- Bleach pen (I used Clorox’s Dual-Tipped version)
- 100% cotton, solid fabric (I used osnaburg, the poor man’s linen)
- A cover for your work surface, preferably something porous & not plastic (I used drop cloth)
- Chalk or disappearing ink marking pen
- All the typical sewing stuff: scissors, machine, needles, thread, yadda yadda yadda
1. Plan your design/pattern, keeping in mind the bleach tends to spread a bit and your design won’t look perfect. But that’s the appeal of it—besides, this is real world decorating, not designer decor. Not sure what to do? Check out my Batik Inspiration Pinterest board.
2. Measure and cut your fabric. For my pillow covers, I used my easy envelope pillow pattern so I used only one long piece of fabric.
3. Draw your design onto the fabric with your chalk/fabric marker.
TIP: if using the disappearing fabric marker, you can only do so much at a time before it vanishes. For my design, I just measured out my columns, marked the middle, and drew with the bleach as I went along.
4. Cover your surface area and place the fabric on top.
5. Create your design with the bleach pen.
TIP: Practice drawing with the pen on a scrap piece of fabric first. This will allow you to get the hang of it.
6. Let bleach do its magic until it reaches the desired color. I wanted an almost white effect, so it sat about 20-40 minutes.
7. Rinse the bleach off the fabric with cold water. (I threw mine in the washer/dryer after this step to be safe, but you may not want to as your cut fabric could shrink even more.)
The finished product, after receiving my envelope pillow cover treatment:
This is a great tutorial for repurposing some fabric you no longer use, like a stained T-shirt, tablecloth, bed sheet, etc. You could also use this to revamp existing textiles, like towels or napkins, or create wall art!
Have you ever tried DIY batik? If so, did you use the traditional wax method or this reverse method with bleach?
Featured on: The Answer is Chocolate: BFF Open House Link Party
Linked to: The Answer is Chocolate: BFF Open House Link Party, Craft Dictator: Craft Frenzy Friday, Simply Sweet Home: Friday Favorites, Chic On A Shoestring Decorating: Flaunt It Friday, City of Creative Dreams: Beautifully Creative Inspired Link Party, Home Stories A to Z: Tutorials & Tips Link Party, A Stroll Thru Life: Inspire Me Tuesday, Coastal Charm: Show & Share, Redhead Can Decorate: Inspiration Monday, DIY Show Off: That DIY Party, Sew Can Do: Craftastic Monday