tEchNiQuE TuEsdaY: Creative Photo Bleaching

Before you think I’ve really lost my mind with this technique…remember that that the creative process is one that is filled with experimentation and requires taking risks. With that said, go get yourself a Clorox Bleach Pen, a few duplicate photos and get ready to play!!!

Photo art is just one of my creative passions…so I’ll do just about anything to a photo when I’m searching for a unique effect. This type of experimentation is what led me to reach for the Clorox Bleach Pen! If you’re not familiar with this household cleaning tool, the pen has two tips on it: a fine-point tip which is great for writing and doodling and a textured scrubber tip that creates great patterned lines.

Below you will find two samples where I’ve used the scrubber tip on processed and inkjet printed photos. Keep in mind there are different REACTION TIMES for the two types of photos…and be prepared for a different result every time you bleach a photo! The unexpected results are part of the fun…so relax and go with it!

Clorox bleach pen
paper towels
running water

TIP: Work on wax paper so you don’t have to worry about the bleach ruining any surfaces.

SCRUBBER TIP: creates multiple lines with one swipe

Notice the different results with the processed photo vs. the inkjet photo.

1. Test bleach consistency. Squeeze a bit of bleach through tip onto a paper towel…if the consistency is thin and runny like water, replace cap and shake. Test on paper towel again…when the bleach has the consistency of a liquid soap, you’re ready to write, draw or doodle!

2. Write with bleach pen on photo as desired.

REACTION TIME…remember reaction time will vary each and every time you do this technique!
- PROCESSED PHOTO: allow bleach to remain on photo for about 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.
- INKJET PHOTO: allow bleach to remain on photo for about 15-30 seconds.

3. Rinse bleach off photo under cool (not warm) running water. DO NOT LAY PHOTO FLAT TO DRY…HANG photo to dry or water will pool and leave a mark on photo.
- PROCESSED PHOTO: Rinse photo well. Water will not harm the photo; the emulsion will harden again as the photo dries.
- INKJET PHOTO: Rinse photo quickly…too much water can remove ink from the rest of the photo. If necessary, use a baby wipe to gently remove bleach stuck on photo.

Notice the different results with the processed photo vs. the inkjet photo…the processed photo will turn colors when bleach is applied as opposed to the bluish-white lines on the inkjet photo.

And this technique is great for disguising ugly backgrounds like the one in this photo!!

FINE TIP: perfect for doodling and writing!

Make sure to give yourself a little bit of time to just play and practice before working on “the” photo…and don’t forget to post a link to the results of your artistic photos!

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5 Responses to tEchNiQuE TuEsdaY: Creative Photo Bleaching

  1. Randell says:

    I love it! Thanks again for sharing!

  2. ~~~Drama Queen's Mom~~~ says:

    oh I love what you have done to these photos.

    cool effect.


  3. marcilambert says:

    i read this post, grab a photo and ran to the kitchen to test it out. it is wonderful! i’ll do a layout and post a link later.

  4. marcilambert says:

    here’s a link to my blog where i posted my bleached photo. i loved doing this, and i will do it again!

  5. Jennia Hart says:

    It took a while because I had to order prints but here are my pics.

    Thanks Kelly!!! I just got your book and I’m LOVING it too!