Thursday, March 18, 2010

Creativity abounds

I'm finally back to making more art on a regular basis. I've already covered a couple of plastic tubs with contact paper - something I've wanted to do with them for ages, but never got around to doing. They still look like plastic tubs, but they're prettier, and that's what counts for me.

Now I'm working on bleaching out some shirts that I've stained. I am a (proud?) member of the group of people who Wear Their Food. I can't help it - if there's a sauce, I get some on me. If there's any chance in the world something will drip or splatter, I'm the one who'll end up with the spray.

I like the idea of bleach art on shirts - I found several links to interesting tutorials and projects around the 'net: Cute dishcloth; Archaeopteryx hoodie; and the most amazing one is this: Koi I'm in awe of the last one - I MUST make that for myself. Well, or something like it.

Anyway, I have several shirts I'd like to keep, but which are stained beyond comfortable wear.(Sometimes, all it takes is one stain in an unfortunate place to move a beloved shirt from everyday to never.) I bought two bleach pens (Clorox brand; they were less expensive at my local CVS than they are on Amazon!) and set to work.

(Gathered Supplies - please note the coffee and leftover Chinese food.  They're very important!)

First I cut down a cardboard shipping box my ex gave my daughter some easter stuff in. I wanted to make sure there would be a solid barrier between the front of the shirt, where the bleach was going, and the back of the shirt (and the tablecloth underneath!).

 Thick end of the pen.
 Thin end of the pen.

Then I stared at the blank canvas of slightly stained shirt, bit my lip and started drawing. I love making these swirls - they're on every single piece of paper I doodle on. The bleach flowed well - it's a gel, not a liquid - but there were more bubbles than I'd like. I think that next time I'll shake the tube, as instructed, then tap it sharply several times before I open it, so the bubbles rise to the surface.

Swirl pattern on the first shirt.

Sleeve detail

Rinsing with vinegar helps stop the bleach discharging.

It really is a gel - after a few minutes, it sets up into almost a solid.

Rinsed off - I think I'll have to add more layers to it, though. It seems ... unfinished. What do you think?

I was surprised by the results of the first shirt; for some reason I wasn't expecting the shirt to discharge to white in the center of the bleached areas. I think it's not finished - I'm going to wash it and then see about adding more layers to the art. It's ... like a background paper right now. This one shirt used a full tube of the bleach, though.  I was disappointed; I expected more. I'm not sure why, though.

On the second one, I was more circumspect with the bleach. I like the idea of lace around the neck, so I tried to draw in something that would imply lace. I'm not sure I'm done with this one - maybe beading around the neckline? Also, isn't it interesting, but this one didn't discharge to white - it's an odd yellowish color. I'll have to decide if I like that or not.  I was hoping this one would go all the way to white.

Bleach lace with the gel on.

See the odd color? I'm not happy with that - I"ll have to figure something out.

The last one I decided to just be girly with, so it got flowers and dots. I made sure to put a flower on each sleeve as well.

Feminine and fun, I hope.

Interestingly, the bleach didn't shift around (that gel again!), but when I rinsed this one, some of it shifted on the sleeves, so there are ghost images. I kind of like them, but I know that not everyone will, so I wanted to make sure I mentioned it.

I'm also working on a felt-covered book from the book Re-Bound A friend and I are trading hand-made gifts, and this is one of the things I want to make for her. I'm sewing the felt flowers and decorations onto the cover. (And my honey just ordered Eco Books for me! I'll tell you all about it as soon as it arrives!)

I like the blue flower, but I sort of want to add more color.  The closest craft store has a terrible selection of felt!
I could always sew a bluebird onto it!!

I'm going to embroider her name onto the cover as well.  I hope she likes it.(She doesn't read this blog, so I can post the pictures without worrying about spoiling the surprise for her.) I'm also giving her a small bag I sewed, one of the pretty scalloped garlands, and maybe some nice yarn. I'm hoping to finish the garland tomorrow; then I'll put the package in the mail Saturday, maybe.

Geordie is home now, so I'm going to work on dinner and other family stuff. I had a very nice Thursday, making things and being creative. It's such a nice feeling, being relaxed about making art.



Tina said...

Oh My - your creative juices were on full throttle - Great shirts and love the cuff...My artful thursday project will be up later...stop by if you have a chance.

pretty paperposies

SongBird said...

Thanks, Tina! I'll go look at yours now. I love getting the chance to keep up with everyone else in the group.


Lia said...

this is soooo cool :) what a brilliant idea

SongBird said...

Lia, I had a great time making these shirts. I wear the dark blue one and the darker burgundy one, but I still think there's work to do on the pink one. I'll be posting about it soon, I think.