Forever considering: Un-Dyeing


stenciled with bleachUn-Dyeing,  un-dyeing. I like the sound of that as opposed to Discharge, so weirdly harsh.

3/20/ 22  I set up this page to hold any further experiments regarding this concept.

There are many  methods out there.  Mostly chemical methods for removing color.

Long ago ( this video from Sun Moon Stars 2011) I shared the  bleach method for un-dyeing,

I had done a few experiments prior to that, just to see. about it

Also a point needed to be made, often times bleach degrades cloth,  I have not had this issue but you can neutralize the bleach. The neutralizing solution is made by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide to 10 parts water.

Also this process uses chlorine bleach,  it is not appropriate for silk or wool ( protein fibers).

I am not a dyer, I am just dabbling in this simple process based on what I know from experience, because I am curious.

What if it is just the way to something else?

this one more painterly

I am looking at some of my old stencil work, I like this one,  suddenly looking at it again.

move on


the painting has begun

later  on 3/23/2022

I have begun painting directly...not talking, just going...

I am going to like this



Sometimes doing it again can bring new thoughts.

3/23/2022   What if I revisit this process?

My renewed interest in this process has a lot to do with my renewed interest in my old illustration work.

I did a few new stencils just to do it again to see how I feel about the process.

stencil draw


ring of light, earth beast


wave stencil, new

ring of light



  1. Have you tried the gel style bleach cleaner? I’m wondering if it might be more pleasing to try to paint with. I really like the trees! About 5 pics back in my instagram feed there is a piece of cloth I discharged in the background of woven cloth. If I recall I put a little diluted bleach in a small cup and scrunched some commercially dyed (wetted down in plain water first) black cloth into it. Worked quickly because I was afraid of damaging the cloth. The result was startling. I do love that beautiful red/orange that happened though.

    • carroleb

      The only discharge I have done was with diluted bleach on black fabrics. We sprayed bleach onto resists on cloth, very nasty fumes.
      We were working with black cloth and had many rust colours which came up, as you say.
      I liked the results, but the process was nasty.
      This way is much more controlled and gentle, will play again with these new ideas and some stencils.

      • jude

        Yes, I find it fairly soft, no real smell, I just switched to a jar with a cover, keeps the stuff moist and a little goes a long way. Will post some new results soon.

  2. This has got me thinking. When my mom died, I got her art supplies. She had loads of stencils and stamps. I think there’s also some stencil adhesive I could use if I want that crisper edge.

    But it’s really the stamps I want to try. How well would they turn out? I don’t imagine the more detailed ones could make crisp lines, but maybe. How would they come out? Even if not crisp, they might be interesting.

    GAH! I wish my work room were in order. If it weren’t for that (which would require a couple of hours or more to make a space for doing this) and a nasty migraine (that I hope I’ve nipped, but is still lingering), I’d be trying that out now.

    Oh, no, maybe not. I have Clorox clean up, not soft scrub. . . . I’d have to experiment with mixing it with baking soda for a paste, too.

    . . . Maybe tomorrow I can make a space and try it out. . . .

  3. I suspect age of bleach might make a difference in the results as well, it does have an expiration date. Dilution makes a big difference too. I really wish I didn’t have this knowledge. 🙂 Just thinking, could be interesting to spray bleach water on fabric too. I’ll try it tomorrow at work.

  4. Helen Lee

    The Man’s music takes me straight back…every time. We were clearing out a drawer last week, and found a bleach pen I’d bought during the Sun, Moon, Stars class! I didn’t really do anything with it then, but I feel like playing now. Loved those trees then, and the eclipse.

  5. I may give this a try. I like the idea of making faint designs in a quilt backing for a patchwork quilt I’m working on. The back is a “blank slate” right now, but it would be very nice to have some faint designs there, even to use to quilt along.

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