A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Variety of Techniques - Week 6

So far in these sessions we have added all kinds of techniques to fabrics and at various stages.

Today, We are doing some subtraction.


There are some products on the market which will remove color from fabric. And at least one that will remove the color and leave another!

But today we are going old school....bleach.

I've removed color from fabric using bleach with a bleach pen, bleach gel, etc.

This following is a combination of clamping and bleaching.

Safety Warning:  This process requires a well ventilated area!! Bleach fumes are not pleasant and not healthy!  If you can't get a ventilated area, you should wear a respirator mask with the appropriate filters.

Here is a photo of one of the pieces of hand-dyed fabric I did a while ago.  LOTS of clothespins and different types of clothespins.  I don't have this piece any longer but I liked how it shows up the pins on the red background.

Here is the same use of clothespins on a Kona black with bleach.  Love the pattern it produces.

This piece was folded like an accordion and clamped with Twixit clips.  The ones sold in various sizes for closing all kinds of bags and packages (think bread, chips, nuts, etc.)

All these discharge pieces were submerged in bleach for a certain amount of time (it is all relative to the effect you want really) Just remember....it will probably keep discharging just a bit more when you decide it is ready.  It is too far before you know it! In other words, you don't want to walk off and leave it unwatched. All these pieces were also submerged in an anti-chlor solution immediately after the beach bath.  Then rinsed several times, then washed, rinsed and ironed.  It is very important to use the anti-chlorine step to stop the bleach and more rinsing doesn't hurt at all either.

Doing this project made me want to try all kinds of other "clamps"!  What about large paper clips/ or rows of varying sizes of those black binder clips?  Or even those big clamps with the plastic tips...takes Andre the Giant to open them but it would make a cool effect!  Talk about a resist!!

I hope these inspire you to try other types of "clamps" and see what creative images you can acquire!

Kelly L Hendrickson


  1. Kelly, I would be interested in how much bleach you used - full strength or diluted? I haven't done much in recent years because I wasn't thrilled with the results I used to get, but mostly I was using full strength, and for varying lengths of time. I do like your results with the clothespins... interesting patterns!

  2. Full strength or dilute bleach? And how do you inactivate it so it doesn't damage the fabric?

  3. Is the anti-clorine rinse the same product that I can get at the aquarium shop?

  4. Hi Kelly I would like to just say thanks so much for inspiring me to play with fabric again!! I used to do this a long time ago, and now I REALLY WANT TO!! Really enjoying your techniques. Pam Gonzalez

    1. Hi Pam! You are more than welcome! That is one of the best parts of this FIRE blog I think! There is never a lack of inspiration!! And any day I can get fabric back in the hands of a creative person....well....my job for that day is DONE!!

  5. Ok...to answer a couple of questions...
    1) I always use full strength bleach. That's why I watch it very closely. Another NOTE: It is best to get a new bottle of bleach or one that has been recently purchased. Bleach does lose its potency over time. Of course, that could be a good thing on its own...depending on what you are going for.

    2) The anti-chlorine will stop the process. There is a product called "anti-chlor" which you can get from Dharma or probably ProChem (Just my info...nothing in it for me from those companies). However, YES....I have used the product from an aquarium store with great results. And it is cheaper. The anti-chlor stuff is diluted in water for rinsing. Read the directions on the bottles.

    GREAT QUESTIONS!! Thanks for asking!! If you still have some questions, please let me know!


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