Decorating with Vinyl and Bleach

Bleach Harry Potter Shirt Vinyl


Design/ Cutter/ Weeder

(Transfer Tape, if applicable)

Permanent Vinyl (I used Oracal 651)


Bleach, diluted with  Spray bottle preferably

Board (I used a cutting board)


Paper Towels


To make a bleached out shirt,

  1. Cut out your design on permanent sign vinyl. The permanent vinyl will allow it to adhere to the shirt. Cut it right reading, not mirrored.
  2. Weed the vinyl. TIP: For small pieces that can be weeded when the rest of the design is continuous, use a leftover piece of the carrier sheet from some heat transfer vinyl. You can only use it like this once. Press it over the design and pull, fast and efficient weeding.
  3. Transfer tape is not advisable as the garment cannot hold the tack. Therefore, you will be fighting between the transfer tape and getting the vinyl to stick on shirt. However, if it is required, use as low of a tack as possible.
  4. Drape your shirt over a board. I use a cutting board. This ensures that the bleach does not leak to the backside.
  5. Add the vinyl design to the shirt.
  6. Place your shirt in a safe area, like a bathtub, sink or plastic tub. Stand it up vertical so you can access all areas. Fold the sleeves back behind the board.
  7. Use a spray bottle slightly diluted with 2 parts bleach and 1 part water. Lightly but evenly spray the shirt with the bleach.
  8. Take the paper towels and gently blot/ dry off the vinyl. This ensures that excess does not continuously drip and pool.
  9. You should almost immediately start to see discoloration in your shirt. If you do not start seeing results pretty quickly, it may be necessary to use more bleach on the shirt. Do not pour the bleach directly on the shirt. Too much bleach and bleach left too long could eat away at the fibers and make holes in the garment.
  10. As soon as the desired color is achieved, rinse off the garment. If you use the cutting board, you can easily wash the decorated side without interfering with the other side. If you are using something that is not as waterproof, you might consider using a vinegar bath that would immediately neutralize the bleaching process. Add 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Immerse your garment into the neutralizing bath.
  11. Remove the vinyl from the shirt to reveal your design. (If you're lucky, you might even be able to use your design again.)
  12. Finally, you can let it dry a little more and then throw it in the washer alone with soap.


Your masterpiece is complete. Try different colors for different bleach color results.


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