How To Paint with Bleach

Bleached Hearts
Hearts Bleached on Dark Cardstock. Kate Pullen

Normal household bleach can be used in rubber stamping projects. The bleach removes the dye from paper and cardstock, leaving a lighter patch or pattern.

This is a versatile technique and a variety of effects can be achieved. Painting bleach on very light papers and cardstock will give a more subtle finish whereas the use of bleach on dark backgrounds will give a greater contrast and dramatic effect.

Painting embossed images is a good way to practice as the bleach will not spread to other areas. The embossed part of the image will work as a resist and will not be affected by the bleach (see the picture above).

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Quick

Here's How:

  1. Stamp and emboss an outline image onto a piece of cardstock. Pour a small amount of household bleach into a glass pot or jar. Working on a protective surface in case of spillage quickly paint within the lines of the image as desired.

  2. A greater bleached effect can be achieved by applying further layers of bleach. Diluted bleach will lighten the cardstock to a lesser extent.

  3. Leave finished image somewhere out of the reach of children and animals to dry.


  1. Bleach takes the color out of dark backgrounds meaning that new colors can be applied on top. These colors would be subdued on darker backgrounds.
  2. Practice on different colored papers and cardstock as not all papers react the same way. Keep a record of samples as this will be useful for project planning.
  1. The embossed part of the image will work as a resist.
  2. Use old paintbrushes and equipment, washing well after use.
  3. Use bleach in a well ventilated area and observe good health and safety practices.

What You Need:

  • Household bleach
  • Paintbrush
  • Glass pot or jar
  • Colored cardstock or paper, embossed with image.