Dying to get your hands on the bleach dyed clothes trend? Or do you just want to revamp some old clothes you have in your closet? Well, you can make your own bleach dye creation right at home in little time! Whether you consider yourself crafty or not, it doesn’t matter with this craft! Anyone can bleach dye given the right materials and setting.
Warning: This craft uses bleach so handle yourself with extra care! Take the precautions of wearing goggles if you have them, as well as heavy, rubber gloves to protect yourself from the bleach mixture. Wear clothes you wouldn’t mind accidentally bleaching just in case. Also, I recommend doing this craft in a well ventilated area, like outside or in a garage if possible, or a well ventilated area that you set up because of the bleach. Crack a window and turn on a fan!
100% cotton or a high in cotton blend will work the best. Darker colors also show results the best, because the color contrast will be the most high. The bleach will strip the color from the cotton, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it will turn white! For some examples: black will change into a rusty orange/red, as well as navy blue into a similar orange, and purple/maroon will change into a pink. You may have to adjust your bleaching time depending on the color of clothes you use to get your desired bleach dye color.
- Spray bottle or bucket
- Rubber bands
- Heavy rubber gloves
- Safety/science goggles
- An old sheet/tarp for your workspace
Bleach Dyeing Methods
For this craft two popular methods that people use are the spray bottle method or the bucket method. Both of these methods are pretty self-explanatory! For the spray bottle method, you’ll be spraying your bleach mixture on to your clothes. This method makes it easier to control how you want your clothing to look by being able to bleach specific areas.
For the bucket method, you’ll submerge your clothes into a bucket that contains your bleach mixture. This method tends to bleach more of the clothing since it is fully submerged in the mixture, and is the method I used with my shirt.
Step 1: Making Your Bleach Mixture
To make your own bleach mixture, simply use equal parts bleach to water. For example, if you’re doing the spray bottle method, fill half your bottle with bleach and the other half with water. Same thing goes for the bucket method, use the same amount of bleach as you do water.
Step 2: Making Desired Design
Both of these methods are simple once you get your mixture ready to go! Tie your shirt into your desired look. You can do the classic tie-dye swirl by pinching your shirt where you want the center of the swirl to be and slowly twisting the fabric so eventually your whole piece of clothing is wrapped into this spiral. Rubber band your clothing several times to secure the spiral. This is the design I chose to go with!
There is another easy option that will give you an even more unique look. This is simply done by randomly bunching up your piece of clothing and securing it with rubber bands.
Step 3: Get Bleaching!
Like I said before, if you are using the spray bottle method, spray your mixture on to your clothes. If you’re using the bucket method, lay your clothing in the bucket until its fully covered by the mixture. Let the bleach mixture soak in for about 10 minutes. You can adjust this time give or take a few minutes: the shorter you let your clothes soak the less intense the bleach effect will be, and the longer you let your clothes soak the more intense the effect will be. Timing may be specific to the cotton blend you use as well. For example, the shirt I used was 100% cotton and I took it out of the mixture in about 15 minutes. Careful though, don’t leave this soak in for a lot longer than 10 minutes since bleach may start to harm your clothes.
Step 4: Rinse and Wash!
Once your bleach mixture is done soaking in, cut off your rubber bands carefully with scissors. Then, rinse with cold water. Finally, wash your clothes to lock in your newest craft! Pro tip: don’t wash these clothes with any other normal clothes the first time, as you don’t want the remaining bleach residue to soak on to your other clothes.
Here is how one of my black shirts turned out! I achieved this look by tying the shirt in the classic tie-dye swirl design, using the bucket method, and leaving it in to soak for about 15 minutes.
Thanks for crafting with me, don’t be afraid to try this out at home! You clearly get some super unique and cool clothes out of the experience. And remember, just keep crafting!