Bleached Out Images

by Beate Johns

Use household bleach to add highlights to embossed images.


  • Bleach
  • Plastic or glass container to hold bleach
  • Watercolor brush
  • Detailed image stamp (Craft Secrets Clear Art Stamps Rose used here)
  • Distress Ink, or other ink suitable for embossing
  • Embossing powder
  • Embossing heat tool
  • Colored cardstock


  1. Step 1

    Ink stamp and stamp the image on colored cardstock.

  2. Step 2

    Pour embossing powder over the image. Tap off excess. Clear embossing powder was used here to create a soft image. Any color of embossing powder would work.

  3. Step 3

    Use an embossing heat tool to heat the embossing powder until it melts.

  4. Step 4

    Add bleach to a glass or plastic container and dip the watercolor brush into it.

  5. Apply bleach to image.

  6. Step 5

    Continue to add bleach to the image until the entire image is bleached out.

    Let dry or use the heat tool to speed up the drying process.

  7. Step 6 (Optional)

    Color your image with a color medium of your choice.

  8. Copic Markers were used for this sample.

    When using Copic Markers only use clear embossing powder.

  9. Step 7

    Finish your project.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Bleached Out Images. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

I've learnt (the hardway) that it doesn't work with shimmer card stock. Well, at least I couldn't get it to work after nearly drowning the card in bleach. Normal cardstock works a treat.
Chantal  |  Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 3:22 AM
Can you use this process for scrapbooking? I can't help but wonder if the bleach is too harsh?
Libby  |  Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 7:24 PM
I wouldn't use bleach for scrapbook pages. I do not think it is safe, but I am not 100% sure.
Beate  |  Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 4:45 AM
The new clorox bleach pens work great for this project. I destroyed a paint brush doing this one of the first times. Also using the bleach pen apply it directly to the stamp and stamp directly on dark cardstock. Just make sure to clean your stamp immediately.
Kat  |  Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 6:20 PM
I think it works best with Pink,it makes the whitest and softest colour, i triede with blue, black and lilac too which all was nice besides black, it got an ugly brown looking tint yuck
nina  |  Mon Feb 4, 2008 at 2:00 PM
I've been bleaching for years and I love the look. You can bleach an entire image, or only parts of it as highlighting.

I don't like the bleach pens, as they don't give a good clean image. The pens use a bleach gel and not straight bleach.

The best tool is a q-tip, which you can either re-use or throw away.
judydemos  |  Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 7:50 AM
I love your baby carriage bleached card!!

Thank you...I will try this technique with one of my stamps.

Ann Preece  |  Sat Mar 29, 2008 at 8:29 AM
Gorgeous card & this is a great technique, but if you can't use bleach you can paint on the cardstock with white craft ink wash to get similar results sans the smell.
:0) mel
Mel M M M  |  Sun May 11, 2008 at 2:49 PM
I love this card! The bleach makes it look perfect!
Anna  |  Tue May 27, 2008 at 9:06 AM
Can you put bleach in a waterbrush?
Jan  |  Wed Jul 2, 2008 at 3:38 PM
hi ,

so cooooooool ^^
om naser  |  Sun Mar 15, 2009 at 1:45 PM
I love this technique. I have a water pen that I have filled with bleach for this. Works great, but make sure that you mark it so you do not accidentally use it thinking it is water.
Angie  |  Tue Mar 24, 2009 at 9:10 AM
Does the bleach smell fade? I would think it would last awhile ruining the effect of the very pretty cards.
Geniusinri  |  Tue Apr 7, 2009 at 11:43 AM
Geniusinri, the smell fades away very quickly.
Beate  |  Thu Apr 9, 2009 at 7:43 AM
dumb question I'm sure but what kind of embossing powder do you use?-

thanks- [email protected]
trishKindberg  |  Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 2:22 PM
Love the technique. Tried it on various colors, brands of cardstock and found that it only works on some. Does the fact that some cardstock is acid free and/or fade resistant make a difference?
konad  |  Sun Feb 28, 2010 at 9:16 PM
You can put bleach in a waterbrush.

I used clear embossing powder, but you can use any color of embossing powder for this technique.

Yes, you will have to try out your cardstock. Every cardstock reacts a bit differently to bleach.
Beate  |  Mon Mar 1, 2010 at 5:29 AM
I talked to a stamper demonstrating bleaching with clorox...Well it look easy enough, and of course didn't work..She said i had to use a certain cardstock, and since I forgot what that is my question wht kind of cardstock?It did have a word on the front of the 4x6 paper
that the other cardstock didn't have...Help going whacko not
olivia baker  |  Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 12:09 AM
SO Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing that video!!
Vicki Chrisman  |  Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM
Ladies, to get the bleach smell to go away quicker; once your card dries completely, rub your card with a scented dryer sheet. I do this for almost all of my cards because I have smokers in my home and I don't want my cards smelling like smoke. It works great.
dellsdani  |  Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 1:58 PM

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