Intergalactic Leggings Tutorial

Galaxy prints were all over the AW12 runways and are now in store. You can have fun making your own unique versions following our tutorial below

Important – you will be handling a hazardous chemical BLEACH – ensure an adult is supervising and work in an area where nothing else will be affected. You will need to wear protective gloves and an apron. CoolCrafting cannot be responsible for any damage that occurs if you try this at home.

You will need:

An old ( or new) pair of leggings . Make sure they are mostly (80% or more) cotton or they won’t bleach.

A bottle of bleach. We used a thick bleach available from most shops, ours was 39p from Home Bargains.

A handful of Sodium Metabisulphite ( optional but it will ensure any chlorine deep in the fibre doesn’t carry on reacting, and rotting the fabric after a while)

Fabric paint  – acrylic paint will work but it won’t wash and wear as well

An empty spray bottle

Sponge scourers

Top tips for bleaching:

Do a spot test to find out what colour your leggings will turn out, we used purple leggings and they turned a lovely pink when bleached. Black should turn a rusty orange colour, navy blue may go either a different blue, a rusty orange or even a greenish blue.

It is advisable to wear gloves when dealing with bleach

Wear old clothes, this is a messy business.

Do this outside in a well-ventilated area that won’t be affected by bleach

So here is the how to….


Carefully half fill your empty spray bottle with bleach

Lay your leggings out flat and decide where you want the fabric to be bleached. Spray close to the leggings to create pools of the bleach, the results will create a dappled cosmic effect, leaving a darker part in the middle and more extreme bleaching around the edge like this photo. Note  – the bleach seems to react with the fabric more slowly when applied more thickly.

Hold the spray bottle further away  to create a more diffused pattern. Spraying like this means the bleach will react more quickly with colour changes.

Then flip the leggings on to the other side, and spray as above. The leggings will look best if your pattern joins up and seems to continue around the leg.

You will find your own technique and your own results, so experiment.


Leave the bleach to take on the fabric, this could take between 5 minutes to half an hour. Keep checking  until you are happy with the results.

Hand wash the leggings in warm water. It’s a good idea to use a good handful of sodium metabisulphite in the rinse water, as an antichlor.  It will ensure any chlorine deep in the fibre doesn’t carry on reacting, and rotting the fabric after a while. Dry, either do this overnight or pop your project in the dryer.

STEP THREE (Congratulations! You are half way there)

Use your fabric paint to emphasise parts of your leggings, we used black, purple and pearlescent white fabric paints, but you can use anything you like. There are all sorts of colours in the night sky so why not have them on yours. You could keep it traditional and go with blacks and dark blue, or channel Van Gogh and through in some greens/turquoises and yellows! Apply the paint to your sponge and dab on to the leggings, outlining and blending it in to your bleach design. Pearlescent white works particularly well as it gives a shine to the leggings. Repeat on the back side once your fronts have dried a little.

At this point you could use a paint brush to make crosses or swirls that look like star bursts or comets. I didn’t do this because I liked them without.


Leave the leggings to dry. Place some scrap fabric or paper on top of the leggings and iron, the ironing seals the paint to the fabric. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

It is advisable to let the leggings sit for a couple days before wearing or washing. This increases the longevity of the fabric paint. Then wash, dry and wear!


Love them to bits.


This technique could be used on all sorts of things.

A galaxy duvet cover would be seriously on trend and a cheap way to revamp some old plain coloured bedding

Bleach dye fabric and make yourself a galaxy envelope clutchbag

T – shirts and denim shorts also look amazing, and use exactly the same process.





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