DIY: Bleach Tie Dyeing
January 10, 2014

Wish your basics were a little less…basic? Create unique pieces out of your colored essentials with bleach! This idea is especially useful for saving items with accidental bleach spots from hitting the rag pile. You can use this technique to bring life back to items with stains or paint splatters on them as well. Read on for the 10 minute how-to…


* Shirt (Or whatever else you’re dying. Natural fibers work the best. Synthetics do not work quite as well, however, I used a viscose, spandex blend for this one. The result was a black and brown tie dye, vs the black and white you would get from a natural fiber such as cotton.) Pictured: SWELL Dolman Sleeve
* Bleach
* Bucket
* Rubber bands
* Small rocks
* Rubber gloves

* To create circle designs on the fabric, we used the Japanese method called Shibori, in which you use folds, objects, ties, etc to create patterns (to create other patterns, Google Shibori). For this design, we used rocks and rubber bands. Place a rock in your fabric, gather the fabric around the rock, and secure with a rubber band. Repeat with more rocks and rubber bands, depending on how many circles you want on your fabric.
DIY-bleach-tie-dye-step1 DIY-bleach-tie-dye-step2
* Once you’ve wrapped all of your rocks, gather the fabric into a ball, and secure with a few more rubber bands.
* Mix your bleach. Working OUTSIDE – Add beach and water to a bucket in a ratio of about 1:4 (beach:water).
Dip your rubber band-bound fabric into the mix for a few seconds, just until you notice a slight change in the fabric color (dark brown if using black). If you leave the fabric in too long, the bleach will eat away at the fabric. Remove the fabric from the bleach solution, remove the bands, rinse in cold water, and hang to dry. You’ll notice that as the fabric dries, the bleached areas will start to fade more. The synthetic top pictured resulted in a brown/black dye, with the brown lightening significantly after drying. If you opt for a 100% cotton, you will achieve a white/black dye effect.


Need something to dye? Check out new essentials at SWELL
Or more of a DI-Buyer? Shop new tie dye styles

Like this DIY? Check out more DIY ideas on the blog