55. How to Revamp a T-shirt with Bleach

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

This episode is subtitled: ‘Hang onto your hats…Beryl’s coming!’

‘You’re up early, Kim,’ I said.

I had been just about to open up when I noticed Kim through the tea room window. It was an unusually early hour for her to be at work.

‘Couldn’t sleep,’ she said so I took my coat off and sat down. Then she added, ‘Oh dear, what’s happened to your top?’

‘It’s just a little project I tried for this week’s website post.’

Kim was wearing a pretty shell top in aqua and teal with a toning cashmere cardigan. I didn’t recognise the designer logo on the outside but it will have meant something to those in the know. However, it wasn’t clothes occupying her mind that morning.

‘Is something troubling you?’ I asked.

‘Gary wants us to employ his mother.’

‘To clean your house or something?’

‘No, not Gary and me, you and me! Here in Teacups & Tulips.’

Beryl?’ I asked, with a squeak of terror.

‘When he mentioned it I was adamant that it wasn’t possible. But then I thought about it and satisfied myself that I could keep her busy on Saturdays, clearing up in the kitchen – a small compromise on my part that I could use to negotiate our additional trip to Dubai that I’m trying to get him to agree to. After all, I knew she wouldn’t put up with scrubbing pans for long.’

Phew, I thought. I don’t want her anywhere near Tulips.

‘But when I mentioned my plan to Gary, he said it’s not enough! He wants her to be occupied for at least four days a week where she’s meeting people and using her brain. He’s seen how my mum’s declining and thinks this will help keep her fitter for longer.’

Beryl is 15 years younger than Kim’s mum and has no problem remembering what day of the week it is or whether she’s taken her tablets. I suspect Gary’s motivation is to keep his mum out of the pub as much as he can. When I’m out and about on deliveries it’s not uncommon for her to wave at me through the window of The King’s Head, surrounded by a small pack of friends – even on weekday mornings!

Kim’s normally very astute but this theory seems to have passed her by. Never mind, whatever the reason for Gary suggesting it, I was sure we had one more line of defence.

‘Ha! There aren’t any vacancies,’ I suggested, triumphantly.

‘Yes there are. Joan rang me at home last night wanting to reduce her hours. I’ll swear everyone’s in on this conspiracy to push me to the edge. It looks as though I’m going to have to give her a trial.’

Well I wasn’t part of any conspiracy so I grabbed a pen and paper and together we drew up some detailed rules that would have to be given to Beryl upfront. We’d got the first two written down (1. No swearing; 2. No chewing gum) when Jaz popped her head round the door to get the key for Tulips.

‘Cool t-shirt, Jenny.’

‘Thanks, Jaz. I’ll be in in 10 minutes.’

We stopped at 10 rules, although we could have gone on and on. At least now we’re as prepared as we can be for Beryl joining the gang. I’ve a feeling things won’t be quite the same again.

salvagebox.co.uk - Blue's pawThis week’s project to revamp a t-shirt was a lot of fun. If I had more t-shirts I’d keep going – and try to be a little less heavy-handed with the bleach! I used two old and tired ones with long sleeves that were 90/95% cotton.

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

You’ll need an empty spray bottle and some bleach.

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

I used my Cricut to cut the shapes out of self-adhesive vinyl but you can cut free hand. Then I stuck the shapes to the t-shirts.

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

You need to protect the room and the back of the t-shirt, especially the exposed part at the neck, from the sprayed bleach so I put plastic everywhere I could and I inserted a piece of cardboard and poked it out at the neck of the t-shirt.

Revamp an old t-shirt with bleach

Revamp an old t-shirt with bleach

Now for the spraying. I got my instructions from Jessi at Practically Functional. She says the spray should be a very light coating. She’s right, but I did manage to drench mine!

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

After I’d hung them up and they had dried I took the vinyl shapes off and I’m really pleased with the result but, as you can see, I used so much bleach that it bled under my vinyl and distorted the pattern, especially the stars on the first one. I was slightly less heavy handed with the heart.

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

Then I laundered them, just to be sure they were free from bleach and ready to wear.

Revamp a t-shirt with bleach

I’d love to have another go at this project – it’s very addictive and very fast. Next time I’ll protect the room with more plastic to give me the confidence to stand further back! Or maybe find a spray bottle that does a finer spray…or maybe choose bleach that isn’t ‘extra thick’.


  • Check out Jessi’s instructions on Practically Functional and see how detailed the design can be when you just use a fine mist of bleach.
  • Be liberal with your plastic to protect your surfaces, just in case, although my spray was actually reasonably contained.

Salvaged Items:

  • Old tired t-shirts

You’ll have fun with this one!


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