Fun with BLEACH

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Well, that’s certainly a title that’ll get your attention, eh? This is a quick and easy way to personalize cotton t-shirts just the way you like them – it’s not screenprinting, but the results are just as satisfactory and the whole process is way faster. Plus it’s something that even kids can do (if you trust them to use bleach). And I’m going to show you two ways to do it.

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First, you need some spray bottles that produce a fine mist (the squirty ones won’t do you any good here), and some bleach. Make a solution of about half bleach and half water (or maybe 3/4 bleach and 1/4 water if you trust yourself) and pour that in the bottle.

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Now you need a cotton (or mostly cotton) t-shirt in a dark or bright, saturated colour (you can use pastel colours but the results won’t be as contrasty). Wash and dry the shirt to remove any sizing from the manufacturer that may interfere with the bleach.

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Grab yourself some adhesive vinyl or Con-Tact paper.

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Cut your vinyl into the desired shape you want. You can either use the shapes to mask off an area that you will bleach around, or the vinyl can act as a shield to the rest of the shirt and only your design will be bleachy – that’s up to you.

Make sure to press the vinyl firmly into the fabric of the shirt.

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Slide some waxed paper or plastic inside the shirt to prevent the bleach from leaking through to the other side.

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Spray your design lightly and evenly with bleach.

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Just a light misting.

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Use a rag to dab away any beads of bleach that might drip onto your shirt (unless you want them to drip).

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Wait a few minutes and then carefully peel off your vinyl.

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Watch as the design emerges. When you get the right level of bleachiness that you like, rinse the shirt under cold water to stop the bleach process. Then chuck the shirt in the wash and run it through a cycle with soap to get out all the bleach.

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When your shirt is dry, you will be the coolest person out there.

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Another method, if you don’t have adhesive vinyl on hand is to use paper stencils and a glue stick. So you just cut out your design and slather it with glue from the glue stick. Make sure to go right to the edge.

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Flatten it firmly on your shirt.

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Spritz on your bleach, dab, and remove the paper before it gets too saturated with liquid (because that will soak through). Don’t worry if there’s a bit of paper left – that will come off in the wash. On this design (Serenity!), we added a few extra drops of bleach here and there to make it look like the ship was traveling through a nebula in space.

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Tada.

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On this shirt we did a similar negative image with a Rebel Alliance symbol from Star Wars, and then on the back we did the Galactic Empire symbol, so good on the front and evil on the back!

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Here we did a positive image, where the paper served as a shield for the rest of the shirt. You may recognize the Autobots symbol from Transformers.

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Another positive image, this one of a stylized Joker’s face from the Dark Knight film series.

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Because the pupils were hard to glue in place I used a fabric marker to add them back in. The shininess will go away the first time the shirt is washed.

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On this design the stencil I used was too thin and the bleach soaked around the edges. Not to worry!

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I simply used some more fabric markers to trace the proper outline and I really like the finished result.

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Mysterious Mushrooms

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Two days after we came back from our week in NYC, I pulled aside the back of the curtain hanging at our balcony door and discovered a giant pile of orange dust. Everywhere.

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A MUSHROOM was growing on the inside track of my balcony door.

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And I looked outside and there was its twin, growing happily between two of the boards on the deck.

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Inside mushroom, outside mushroom.

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I hazmatted up and sprayed everything inside and out with bleach, which turned the orange spores pitch black. Gross. I took down the curtains, too, and washed them with vinegar.

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Post bleach inside.

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Post bleach outside.

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The thing is, the day before we left, we finally had eavestroughing installed on our roof, which meant that now we didn’t have water pouring at a million pounds per second onto the planking of our (now rotting) deck. So because it was now protected, I figure it gave the fungus a chance to show itself. I’m less clear on how it got INSIDE the house, though I suspect the seal on the door isn’t that great, seeing as I’m forever cleaning up water spots on the interior of the one downstairs.

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Just in case this ends up being alien spawn or the portent of the next apocalypse-bringing plague, let the record show that I’m keeping the mushrooms in a Ziploc bag in my garage in case the CDC or NASA needs them later.

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Vinegar is Awesome

I will say it again: vinegar is awesome.

Aside from making good pickles, pure white vinegar is cheap and cleans pretty much everything.

It’s eco-friendly, has no long-lasting odour, and cuts through grease like you wouldn’t believe.

Spray some on baking soda in your oven and cut through baked-on grease like you’re a superhero without having to fumigate your kitchen.

Dilute it with water to clean  your counters and floors.  No more fancy sprays containing bleach or wax or other harmful chemicals.

Mix it with baking soda to bring back the bling in your jewelry.

Boil it for super disinfecting power or to deodorize a room.

Add it to your laundry for extra freshness.

Wash windows in an ammonia-free environment.  It works better than Windex.

I have a 4L jug of it that I keep under my sink, and which replaces most other harsh chemical cleaning products.  I think the huge jug cost me about two dollars.

I keep smaller vinegar containers around for ease of use.  I just funnel in some more vinegar when they run empty.

VINEGAR.  IS.  AWESOME.

You should get some.

Really.