bleaching crash course (metal candycane)
Let's start with what you need!

A metal or glass bowl (No ceramic or anything, that'll stain)
Shower cap
hand towel
shirt you don't mind getting bleach spots on
PH balancing shampoo
bleach kit (or you can do what i do and go to your local beauty supply store and buy more for less. Ask about their bleaching stuff and they'll help. You'll be looking for a bottle of the actually bleaching cream, and also a packet of activation powder)
If your hair is already pretty light you won't need more than 30 volume, maximum. "Volume" is just the power of the bleach. 20 being the lowest, 60 the highest. If it's darker, like a brown or black, you wanna go with 40. Leave 60 to the salons. You can always do 40 or 30 twice.

Preparation: Don't condition your hair then night before you're going to bleach it. Conditioner fills the hair up, and so the hair won't have any room for the bleach. The day of bleaching you'll want to shampoo your hair, and then towel dry. leave it a bit damp. While your hair's drying, set your stuff up.

You'll want to do all this in a well aired out area. Open a packet of powder away from your face and pour it into the bowl. Do this slowly and carefully, you DON'T want to breathe ANY of it in. That shit buuuurns. Then pour in the directed amount of bleach cream (usually 4 oz liquid solution to a 1.5 oz powder solution. but check the package) and mix. Open the bottle pointing away from your face. Let it sit for a minute to activate, after you've mixed it thoroughly.

Get on your gloves and start loppin' it on. You'll want to start with the back because it's usually darker, and the darker parts need to be processed for slightly longer. If you know you'll be messy, put some vaseline around your hairline and the back of your neck, it'll protect your skin. Trust me, bleach on the neck is not a happy feeling. Proceed to put the rest in all over, massaging with your fingers and combing it through. it'll porbably start to foam while you're doing that. that's fine, it just means it's reacting and working. When you're done applying, run the blowdryer over your hair in brief spurts (don't just hold it in one place, the purpose is not to dry) heat really helps activate the bleach. put on your shower cap and make sure all your hair is covered. leave it on for about 2 hours. Sounds like a long time, and salons will say not to, but they use really strong stuff, and use other products after that just mess everything up. Occasionally throughout the waiting time, massage your hair through the shower cap, and blowdry in short bursts with the shower cap on. Your head will be feeling pretty weird. Expect it to "bubble" (it's just the bleach, and that means it's working.) and it'll be really warm. It's that whole exothermic reaction thing.

Now it's time to rinse, YAAAAAY. You'll be shampooing with the PH balancing stuff. The purpose of this is to close the hair pores all the way so your hair doesn't dry out. If you're not bleaching for the purpose of dying, you can condition it really well too. If you ARE dying it, then don't condition because, you'll want to dye it the next day, it'll be the most porous then. I say not to condition for the same reason as before, if your hair follicle is full of conditioner, the dye will just sit on the outside, not being absorbed, you ahve to leave room for it. I reccomend Manic Panic hair dye, it's all natural and actually conditions your hair. If you're not dying maybe give your hair an olive oil treatment (put some in dry hair, shower cap it for a bit and rinse. Nice and soft...) That makes it sound like this is super drying. It's really not that bad, you just want to keep your hair at top health. So don't worry about it, and enjoy!

Throw all your supplies in some water as soon as you can, get them clean!