Bleach Pen Art – 3rd time is NOT the charm!

There are so many blog posts and tutorial on bleach pen art, I figured, how hard could this be?

Well… it turns out it’s VERY hard, in fact, impossible. Because I just tried it for the 3rd time, and it has yet to work for me!

We took our first stab at it over the winter break. 3 bleach pens and 4 place-mats. We doodled and dotted and waited. And waited, and waited. And nothing happened. I washed the place-mats, nothing, no signs of our designs. I figured either I had cheap discount bleach pens (I did) or the place-mats were artificial fibers (they probably were). We gave up and almost forgot about it.

Around Valentine’s day, I wanted to surprise the girls with a cute place-mat for breakfast, so I took another stab at it. This time, I left the kids out of it, bought a new bleach pen from a non-discount store and went to town on a piece of red quilters cotton. This was a test. And it failed, again.

It was covered in hearts and xoxoxo's

Yesterday, I made a stain on an orange t-shirt. As I ran up to clean it, I thought, let’s try this one more time. I made a pattern of circles all over the shirt, which I know is 100% cotton, so this should have worked. You can clearly see the bleach lines in this picture:

I even left it over night, afraid the bleach might even eat through the fabric. But when I rinsed it the next morning: NADA, nothing, no signs of the bleach. But the stain was gone, so I guess it was not a total failure.

Why am I posting about a failure? Because that is what happens sometimes, it doesn’t work, and that’s ok. Upon further reading, I came to find out that the specific bleach pens that these crafters are using are not available in my area. Armed with the information, I will be buying the specific bleach pens (Clorox Bleach pens only) mentioned in that post next time I’m in the US, and I will take one more, final, stab at bleach-pen art. Of course, I’ll let you know what happens!

Guest Blogger: Virginia Champoux-Sokoloff is the owner of a funky gift store and the mom of 2 adorable girls. She is also a life-long insomniac who loves to craft in the middle of the night. She has been known to re-upholster furniture or paint the floors of her house while everyone is asleep. A blogger since the days of dial-up, she chronicles her craft and DIY projects on her blog,

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