Tardis T-shirt (bleach resist)

July 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Posted in crafts | Leave a comment
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This is a repost from 2011, that I am revisiting to make myself a tardis shirt…

I am constantly amazed at how quickly my son goes through clothes, between growing and staining them.  So when I saw Michael’s had plain t-shirts on sale for $2 each, I picked up a bunch, thinking he could just wear them as is.  He would have been fine with that, but I, on the other hand, just couldn’t leave them alone.  And since one of the shirts was black, I decided to try out bleach resist, with a tardis stencil of course.  You could also do planets, a space ship, or the death star.  Or really anything on any other color shirt.

You will need a stencil.  I googled “tardis stencil” and found this lovely image on pinterest in 2011. I used photoshop to save the image as a .bmp file, and used sure cuts a lot to cut it out of contact paper with my cricut machine.  This year (2015) I found this beautiful tardis stencil that hodgepodge crochet posted.  The program I used to cut my own image on the cricut machine is no longer supported, so I sold my cricut and upgraded to the new silhouette machine – of you are looking to buy a personal plotter I would definitely recommend the silhouette over the cricut.  I used pixelmatr to change the .pdf file into a .png file so the software would be able to cut it out.

Tardis stencil from hodgepodgecrochet


Either way, you end up with a beautiful, clean cut stencil in 10 minutes – but if you don’t have a plotter to cut your stencil out for you, you could always trace it onto freezer paper or contact paper and use a knife and scissors to cut it by hand.  Freezer paper will give you a clean and crisp edge, but I find contact paper is easier to place (especially for small details,) and works almost just as well.

After you have your stencil cut, transfer it to your shirt.  I put it at an angle, like the tardis was flying through the time vortex.  I also folded up a trash bag and stuck it in the shirt, to keep the bleach from leaking onto the back side.

I used Clorox Clean Up with bleach added instead of plain water down bleach, and it worked beautifully.   To get the spiral, scrunch the shirt, and twist it, being careful to keep the stencil adhered, and then lightly mist with bleach and blow dry.  (Grab a hair dryer and dry the shirt to speed the bleaching up, so you can see what it looks like.)

Once you are satisfied with the bleach coverage, wash and dry the shirt.  (When I made the first shirt I skipped this step.)  Then grab a clean toothbrush and some white paint and glow in the dark fabric paint.  Flick random spots of paint, and/or straight bleach onto the shirt at random to be larger stars.

I found that my glow in the dark paint was nearly transparent, so I used a sponge brush to outline the tardis with a thin border.  My son is particularly pleased that his shirt glows in the dark.  I also used the hair dryer to set the t-shirt paint.

Carefully peel off your stencil.  The stencil should have mostly protected the tshirt beneath it from the bleach, mine came up a little where I twisted the shirt, but it is still clearly the tardis, the fuzzy edges just make it look like its glowing.

I was impressed with how well the contact paper preserved the details on the top of the tardis.  Let it dry fully, and then wash it the next day after the paint has had a chance to set.  Bleach has been known to eat through fabric, but if you don’t go overboard with your diluted solution you shouldn’t have a problem.

My son doesn’t like his picture taken, so this was the best shot I could get with him wearing the shirt.  Allonsy!


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