WIP Wednesday: Tales of a Mandala, Part 2

In my last WIP Wednesday post I wrote about uses for crochet mandalas and showed a partially finished mandala that I planned to use in a surprise project. Well, after much anticipation (I’m sure), I’m here with another use for a mandala: clothing decoration!

In this post, I’ll show you how to use a mandala to turn a plain shirt into a work of art. Before we get started on that part, however, take a look at the finished mandala, shown above. It turned out really nicely. And, yes, I changed my mind and added an extra color. Totally different from my original intention, but I thought it would add a nice touch.

So, once I finished my mandala, I had to figure out a way to get it onto my shirt. What better way to do that than through the use of bleach? Why bleach? I saw an unrelated project on Pinterest where someone used bleach to put a design on a shirt, and thought, “I bet I could do that with crochet!”


To work this bleaching “magic” on your own shirt, follow these steps:

Step 1

Gather your supplies (cotton-blend shirt, bleach in a spray bottle, cardboard, garbage bag) and find a well ventilated area—I used my garage.

Step 2

Place the garbage bag on the ground, put the cardboard inside the shirt, and place the shirt on the garbage bag.

Step 3

Position the mandala as desired on the shirt. I envisioned wearing my shirt with a zip-up hoodie, so I put the mandala in the center.

Step 4

Step back from your shirt and spray the area with the mandala with bleach. It shouldn’t take too long before you start seeing the shirt’s color fade away.

Step 5

Remove the mandala from your shirt and let the shirt dry.

There are other methods you can use to bleach your mandala onto a shirt, but I went with the one that I had the supplies and time to do. If you want to try a slightly different method, check out Brenda K. B. Anderson’s Doily Tank. Also, I should tell you that your project may not work the first time and/or with the first method you use. I had to try bleaching a couple of times before I got the result I wanted.

Despite the multiple tries, I really enjoyed this process, and I encourage you to try it. I haven’t had a chance to wear my shirt yet, but I can’t wait, and I already have a styling plan! The best part is that my mandala held up after the bleaching, so I might be able to use it again on something else!

Have you ever tried this method to get your crochet onto other things? Please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, happy stitching, bleaching, and crafting in general!

—Susanna


Happy National Craft Month!