Easy-Peasy DIY: Bleach Marbling
How to create the beaded tasseled tank top you’ve always wanted.
By Lizi Woolgar
Want to learn how to turn this… to this!
‘YES!’ I hear you cry! Well then read on to find out the super easy way to revamp your old, tired tees and dresses.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found tassels and acid-wash a sure cert when it comes to the ‘effortless cool’ of clothing. Unfortunately, high street stores and countless online boutiques have cottoned onto this and began producing said items en masse, at, generally, an extortionate price. My attitude with clothing like this has always been if you can make it yourself, do it. Don’t waste 30 squids just because it has a ‘one-of-a-kind’ label stitched in. Sure, if you’re too lazy to make it yourself grab one from ebay, but don’t pay more than £5-£10. Just think of it as the amount you would be happy to pay someone as an hourly wage for making yo’ threads.
So, I’ve created a simple DIY tutorial for you all. If you’re panicking about what to wear for the last festivals of the season or simply have a day off and are looking to get creative, you can follow these from start to finish within an hour. Why not give yourself a 60 minute challenge?
First things first: Beaded Tassel Top
What do I need?
- An empty spray bottle (such as an antibacterial spray bottle)
- An empty ‘squeezy’ bottle (an old shampoo bottle would do)
- Optional: paint brush for flicking/painting on motifs
- Black dress, T-shirt or long-sleeved top
- Pack multi-coloured beads (can be purchased from your local craft store)
1. Fill both your spray and squeezy bottle with 1 part bleach to 7 parts water. You really don’t need a lot of bleach here so don’t go overboard. Depending on the look you are interested in creating, you might not want to use both bottles. The spray bottle is great for creating the galaxy-style look that has been raved about over the last few months, but the squeezy bottle is best for the marbled effect. I went for the marbling primarily.
2. Take your black item and place it on a flat surface; ideally an outside patio or somewhere you can throw bleach around a bit. Grab your squeezy bottle and – from about 1 metre above – just go wild squeezing the bleach mixture all across your item. Do be careful to check around for pets at this stage (and fellow Homo sapiens) – my cat got a lucky escape a couple of times!
3. If you can’t find a squeezy bottle: don’t worry. I’ve created the same look before by simply filling any bottle and holding the cap halfway across the bottle neck and tipping the mixture sporadically across clothing.
4. Take a break for 5 mins to see how the material you’re working on reacts to the bleach. In some cases, the bleach will show up right away (begins fading to an orangey colour), but the bleach sometimes take a while to develop. I would highly recommend holding back a little to begin; I’ve ruined a few items by not considering they might react more strongly to bleach than the previous item (which indeed, they did).
5. Either repeat this process until you are happy with the look, or grab the spray bottle if you want to fill in a few gaps. Again, spray sparingly, as it builds up fast. This gives an almost graffiti feel to the item.
6. Shove your things in the washing machine on a quick spin cycle (just to wash out excess bleach) and hang them out to dry. The pattern has usually come out nicely by this point.
7. To create the tassels, lay your dress on a flat surface again and mark how high you want the tassels to go around the circumference (to keep it as even as possible). Cut 4 straight lines upward at equal intervals around the dress to create guidelines to keep the tassels straight.
8. Go mad! Cut your tassels upward, about ½-1cm across in width. They create that nice curling effect once left, so don’t panic about trying to do that yourself. Similarly, it’s great to try and keep the tassels in line so you can get as many as possible, but don’t worry about them being too even. I think a little variation looks much more effective.
9. Finally, take your beads and attach them randomly across the dress (now more of a top). It’s prettyfiddly trying to thread the beads through the thick material at the end, so I used scissors to push them through. Tie knots in the tassels to secure the location of each bead. And voila!
Now, the other variations on the tops and dresses I’ve been playing around with all tend to follow steps 1-6 as above, but here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up that will give any old top a new edge:
Roll up those sleeves:
Simple as it may sound, I do it to pretty much all of my tees now; it works especially well if they’re oversized for an urban tomboy feel. There’s always that annoying risk of them awkwardly unrolling themselves though, so take some initiative and put a couple of cross stitches on the top and bottom of each sleeve.
Top to crop in 3 simple chops:
Everyone has a few old tops in their wardrobe that they sort of like, but not enough to wear, yet can’t bring themselves to part with. Maybe it’s an old tee that you really love the logo of but simply can’t squeeze into any more. The simplest way to solve the problem is to transform it into a crop top.
- Cut down the centre of the front of the top as far as you want, depending on how revealing you’d like your crop to be.
- Next, chop upwards and outwards from the centre to create your ties, as the image shows.
- Finally, turn the top over and cut a straight line across the back between the cuts you’ve already made for your tie. This ensures you don’t have a load of excess material hanging around your back.
Hopefully this might have given a little inspiration of how you might constructively entertain yourself on those future days where the grim reality of unemployment feels all too present. More DIY tutorials just as simple coming very soon!