i use this bleach technique a lot, and of course, the first time i think to photograph the steps is when it goes the most awry. i figured i'd post this anyway because it's pretty clear to me where i went wrong, and i was perhaps too ambitious, but i have some other "end result" things that turned out much better.
i traced out this big ouija board stencil on a piece of freezer paper. it was a bit smaller than my pillow simply because the roll of freezer paper i have is smaller widthwise than the pillowcase was, so i scaled the design to accommodate. i used a design that i found on google images with a couple of tweaks in order to make the thing fit.
freezer paper is cool because you can draw on the matte side like regular paper and, when ironed, the shiny side (bottom) will stick temporarily to fabric.
i cut the bits out with a sharp xacto over a cutting mat. this took FOREVER. i ended up losing the islands in the b in "good bye", but the rest of the design survived intact.
here's the pillowcase i used. i got it at bed bath and beyond; i've had it for a while.
here is where i went wrong.
i SHOULD have:
1. patch tested the fabric for bleed. there was a lot of bleedthrough with some of the details even where i had ironed the freezer paper down carefully. bleach works best on cotton fabrics and this was a blend; i think the shiny stripes were the areas where it didn't work out as well.
2. planned ahead and cut a piece of cardboard to fit the pillowcase exactly. as it was, i didn't have a piece big enough, so i used two overlapping pieces to stuff the pillowcase to prevent the bleach from bleeding through to the back. this made for an uneven ironing surface, and meant that there were pieces of the pattern that didn't get ironed on closely enough to the fabric. the shiny, plasticky side of the freezer paper is waterproof, preventing bleach from leaking onto the designs, but if the edges arent sealed the bleach will spread.
3. newspapered around the design. i am usually pretty careful about doing this but for this project i planned to spray bleach over the whole thing after peeling the stencil off to make a sort of spatter effect. however, the overspray of the bleach still made obvious where the edges of my stencil were.
here is the pattern ironed on to the pillowcase.
and here it is shortly after spraying and removing the stencil, with some extra bleach spray on top. i rinsed this in cool water and let it hang dry overnight.
here's the pillow now. you can see that the filigree design on the right is a mess--that part didn't get ironed on correctly. there is some bleeding on the lettering as well. you can also see where the overspray hit the edges of my stencil. i'm not entirely happy with it but i still think it's kinda cute.
here's the same bleaching technique with a better result. this was actually the first project i ever did with this technique and i still love the way this came out. as you can see i ironed the stencil on much better with this one, and blocked the edges where i didn't want spray with several layers of newspaper. it's a much cleaner result.
i've used this bleach process probably about a dozen times, and the ouija pillow might be the worst one! i'm in the midst of finals right now and stenciling and cutting the pattern took FOREVER, but i'd love to give it another shot. it's a really fun and easy project with (usually) pretty cool looking results.