Learn how to tie dye with bleach using this easy to follow technique.
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Tie dying is a creative activity that involves making folds and twists in fabric and adding colors to create vibrant patterns. Check out this heart tie dye shirt for another fun project.
Reverse tie dye is the process of removing color from fabric using creative patterns. This is what we are doing today and it’s a unique way to create a tie dye sweatshirt.
Supplies for reverse tie dye shirts
Here are the key supplies you will need for this project, the full list of all materials can be found in the project instructions below.
Sweatshirt A dark colored shirt works best, opt for a deep red, blue or black to achieve the most contrast. 100% cotton is best, but you can also use a cotton blend. The more cotton in the fabric, the more contrast you will get in the end.
I love these basic crew neck sweatshirts that come in all kinds of colors. These are ideal for traditional tie dying as well.
Bleach Household bleach you use in the laundry is all you need for this project. This will be diluted with water to achieve the perfect concentration for reverse tie dye.
Hydrogen peroxide Check your medicine cabinet for this product, it’s a key step to help the colors and patterns you create hold up and look amazing.
Squirt bottles Pick up a pack of 2 bottles at Dollar Tree, they are perfect for applying the bleach mixture to a shirt. They are not necessary but they make the process easier and much less messy.
You’ll also need rubber bands and materials to protect your hands and work surface.
Prep for tie dye with bleach
When working with bleach it’s important to follow these steps to stay safe. Work outside if you can, if not set up near an open window. You don’t want to be in an enclosed area working with bleach.
Protect your work surface with plastic, the bleach will stain any wood and fabric it comes in contact with.
Wear gloves and work carefully to avoid splattering any bleach on the clothes you are wearing. Once you and your area are prepped, you can start the project.
- Dark sweatshirt
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubber bands
- Squirt bottle
- Plastic tub
- Plastic to protect the work surface
Work outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Protect your work surface with a plastic sheet and wear rubber gloves with using bleach.
- Fill the plastic tub with water and soak the sweatshirt until it is wet all over.
- Wring out the damp shirt and lay flat on a table.
- Starting with the sleeves, scrunch up portions of the shirt and secure with a rubber band.
- Repeat this until the entire garment is tied with rubber bands.
- Use a few more rubber bands to hold the sweatshirt together in a round.
- Place tied up sweatshirt into the empty plastic tub.
- In a squirt bottle combine 1 part bleach and 1 part water.
- Squirt the mixture all over the sweatshirt, front back and sides.
- Let this sit in the tub for 20 minutes. You will start to see a lightening of the color over time.
- After 20 minutes, fill a second bowl with water and add hydrogen peroxide. Approximately 10 parts water to 1 park hydrogen peroxide.
- Submerge the sweatshirt in the water mixture. This neutralizes the bleach and stops it from working. This step helps your shirt look great and prevents the fibers from breaking down.
- Place the sweatshirt back into the tub and remove the rubber bands. You will see a little bit of contrast but the full effect won't appear until the sweatshirt is dry.
- Then rinse well with cool water.
- Wash the sweatshirt by hand in the tub or pop it in the washing machine by itself.
- The final step is to dry the sweatshirt.
Tie dye with bleach works best with on cotton fabrics or cotton blend.
Opt for deep colors with lots of piment, the bleach will have the most dramatic effect on these shirts.
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You can wear this unique reverse tie dye sweatshirt as it is or add some HTV. I tuned this one into a cute Christmas sweatshirt.
Check out more inspiring tie dye projects and start creating!
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