Steampunk Cogs Bleach Tee
First Cut

Steampunk Cogs Bleach Tee

Today I’m sharing a fun little projects that’s so fun and easy! Have you ever tried your hand at bleach t-shirts? I especially love the rusty color it pulls on a black t-shirt. It makes a great boy project and I thought the Steampunk Cogs fit the bleach tee look perfectly.

I started by laying out the cogs in Silhouette Studio, allowing one to hang over the edge since I only wanted a partial cog (on the bottom right) and then cutting the design with Stencil Vinyl.Steampunk Cogs Bleach Tee ~ Dawn Warnaar for SilhouetteUsing Transfer Paper, I laid out the cogs on the pre-washed tee. I over-exposed the below picture to make the vinyl easier to see on the t-shirt.Steampunk Cogs Bleach Tee ~ Dawn Warnaar for Silhouette

I like to put an old plastic cutting board in-between the shirt layers when I do bleach tees. All you do is mix a 50/50 bleach-water solution in a spray bottle and lightly mist areas of the t-shirt you want to discolor. The color lifts right before your eyes. It’s super fast so watch close!Steampunk Cogs Bleach Tee ~ Dawn Warnaar for Silhouette

After a few minutes, I carefully remove the stencils and immediately wash the shirt in an empty washing machine. Toss it in the dryer and it’s ready to wear! The possibilities are endless.

Steampunk Cogs Bleach Tee ~ Dawn Warnaar for Silhouette


Happy creating!



My Profile | My Blog | Instagram | Pinterest

Shape Used:

Dawn W

Dawn is the DIY & Lifestyle blogger/Graphic Designer behind By Dawn Nicole. She is an Air Force Wife and mom of 3 who believes in “throwing kindness around like confetti”. While Dawn loves all things creative, she has a passion for hand-lettered typography. A clean-eating foodie who loves cooking as much as a a good long outdoor run, she believes in balance and rarely lets a day go by without dark chocolate and over-caffeinating. Facebook – Google+ – Pinterest – Instagram – Twitter – Bloglovin

Products Used:


stencil vinyl


Join our Silhouette community and never miss an update!

We do not give your information to third parties, so your email address is safe with us.


  1. This is cool! This shape is the perfect combination with with bleach spray.

    1. Thanks Martha! Bleach shirts are so fun!

  2. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this shirt/idea. Mega-cool!

    1. Thank you, Megan! 🙂

  3. Great boy project!
    In our experience, though, bleach shirts don’t last long. That bleach eats through the fabric after a while.
    We’ve just considered it a race between the bleach destroying the shirt and the boy outgrowing/ripping the shirt!

  4. Hi Nancy! Thanks so much! Hmmm…we’ve been making and wearing them for over 3 years and have never had that happen. Do you water the bleach down? 2-3 minutes at most is how long I leave the bleach/water solution on because it works that fast (especially on the black) and then immediately wash and dry them.

  5. Dawn, have a question. Does the vinyl have to be stencil vinyl? I ask because I have lots of bits and pieces of vinyl. Would be a great way to use use these other pieces I’ve collected from other projects.

    1. Hi Megan! Regular vinyl will work too! 🙂

      1. Thank YOU! I bought some t-shirts on sale at Michael’s today. So excited to make this shirt. My five year-old loves the “wheels” as he calls them.

  6. I love this project. Would the stencil material work instead of the vinyl? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Alison! Yes, that should work too! 🙂

  7. Funny that you posted this because a couple days before I was designing out my own idea to make something similar for my oldest son who has loved gears since he was only about 2! He is 7 now and loves making anything involving gears with his LEGOs! I was planning to use fabric ink and a negative stencil (so the gear design was exposed), but I might just take a little inspiration from you and use the positive stencil instead. Depending on the color of shirt I use, I may still use ink, though.

    1. I love negative stenciling! 🙂 Yeah the bleach pulls awesome colors on black, but I tried it on a blue tee once and it pulled light pink!

  8. I love bleaching shirts! I just made some for my husband’s job. They needed work shirts. I love the cogs on the shirt. It is perfect for a little boy!

    1. Thanks Amy!

  9. I tried this on the weekend and it worked brilliantly! I’m from South Africa, and it seems our bleach is a little weaker than yours – I had to use straight bleach to get an effect. Imagine me sitting there for 10 minutes with the 50/50 combo and NOTHING happening! It was quite funny 🙂 But the pure solution worked brilliantly in the end. Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. Hi Nicky! It didn’t even cross my mind that bleach strength might vary from country to country. I’m so glad it worked out with the full strength! 🙂

  10. What is the difference between stencil vinyl, stencil material and regular vinyl?

    1. Hi Amy! Stencil Material is thicker and made to be re-useable. Stencil Vinyl and Regular Vinyl are pretty similar but the Stencil Vinyl is see-through and great for use with Fabric Paint stenciling projects. For the most part, they can be used interchangeably in a pinch.

      1. thanks! that’s so helpful!

Comments are closed.