DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towel

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

Esther Kao

It’s hard for me to throw things away, especially craft supplies. So I try creative ways to salvage things when I can. My most recent project? Turning fabric scraps into fun patterned tea towels.

scrap fabric (I used rectangular pieces that were 1.5′ wide x 3′ tall). You can also use old dishcloths.
Clorox Bleach Pen
large trash bag
plastic basin for rinsing the fabric
rubber gloves

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

Start by cutting your trash bag apart and spreading it over your work surface to protect it. Lay the fabric out, then carefully draw your pattern or design using the bleach pen. It’s best to create simple shapes because the bleach will spread out when you wash it, causing causes thin lines to become pretty thick.

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

Let the bleach sit on the fabric. This may take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how well your fabric reacts to the bleach.

When the fabric is bleached to a color you like, put on your gloves, and rinse it out in your plastic basin. Gently rub off any bleach that has dried out under running water. Then wash your fabric (either by hand or in the machine).

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

Next, trim the fabric to size. You can either leave the edges raw, or hem them to prevent fraying.

Then take a step back and admire your new tea towels!

DIY Customized Bleach Pen Tea Towels

And if you’re looking for other fun ideas with the bleach pen, how about making fabric napkins?

DIY Customiezed Bleach Pen Tea Towels

Esther Kao - Wholly Kao

Esther Kao

Esther is a graphic designer and crafter who blogs over at WhollyKao ( She also makes jewelry, and enjoys taking part in local craft fairs. Esther is a huge fan of yoga, the outdoors, and all kinds of popcorn.
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Rachel Hobson is a freelance craft writer and editor who is obsessed with hand embroidery and all things geektastic and funny. She has a passion for creating community through crafting. She's also a huge space geek, and enjoys living five minutes from Houston's Johnson Space Center where she can get her fill of rockets any time she pleases.


  • […] out my DIY bleach pen tea towel tutorial on the Whimseybox blog, where I show you how to transform those scraps into something fun. […]

  • Reply January 23, 2013

    jet Hammes

    i have done those drawings with bleach and a brush (an old one). The problem is that the bleach never stops with bleaching, so it’s a great crafting methode, but it cost your towels or other fabrics i found out years ago.
    I heard at the art academy years later that there is a stopping thing for the bleach but… i never had found that.
    So it’s a great methode but… please take my warning seriously.
    Thank you for sharing your great tute ;-D

  • Reply January 24, 2013

    Ericka Weber

    I agree with Jet’s comment. Overtime, this wonderful project will turn to holes if the bleach process isn’t stopped. Once you have your desired look, it needs to go into a Sodium Thiosulfate bath.
    Dharma Trading Co. gives a recipe and good instruction.

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