Friday, January 16, 2015

4 Ways To Use Bleach As a Dye

Would you agree that sometimes the best things are unexpected? Little happy accidents, if you will. Like when you buy a shirt that doesn't really fit because, "I can layer it, all will be fine" but then spend the whole day tugging and rearranging so out of vengeful spite you hack the shirt apart and turn it into an awesome DIY dye fest on your bathroom floor.
Moral of that story: don't buy clothes that almost fit, but if you do, REPURPOSE!

Polka dots: cotton fabric, q-tips and bleach in a dish is all you need to get the fabric-transformation party started. When the fabric has lightened to the color you desire, give it a good rinse in cool water.

Tie Dye Spiral: Cotton fabric, rubber band, and bleach in a squirt bottle.
Grab the fabric in a pinch and start twisting, as you get to the outside of the fabric it might be easier to wrap it around instead of continuing the twisting motion. Just sayin'. Once the fabric is in a bundle secure with the rubber band so it is nice and tight. Squirt bleach along the dotted line. The amount of bleach will vary depending on the thickness of your fabric. Part of the fun is the unknown! Embrace the unpredictable! When the fabric (the bit you can see) has lightened to the color you desire, give it a good rinse in cool water.

Negative Space: Cotton fabric, bleach in a spray bottle, random bits.
To prevent unwanted overspray, work in the tub (or outdoors). Place the random bits - I used wooden diamonds - on your fabric. With the spray bottle on mist, squirt the bleach on the fabric. When the fabric has lightened to the color you desire, give it a good rinse in cool water.

Tie Dye Stripes: Cotton fabric, string or rubber bands, bleach in a squirt bottle, scissors.
Bundle the fabric into a snake shape and tie TIGHTLY at various intervals. Squirt the bleach on the fabric between the strings. When the fabric has lightened to the color you desire, give it a good rinse in cool water.

NOTE!!! Bleach acts fast so don't leave your project sitting. Unlike color dye that needs a long soak time, you bleach dying will probably take less than 5 minutes. 

All said and done, I'm pretty pleased with how the shirt saga ended. In fact, I already have an idea of how I will use the fabric. What about you? Have any shirts that need a bathroom bleach date?


  1. Commonly referred to as discharge dyeing because you are removing dye. You should actually use something that is a chlorine neutralizer because the bleach will continue to "work" on your fabric. You will get holes in it eventually. When my friends and I have dye parties we use the stuff you put in tap water to neutralize it before you put it in a fish tank. A few drops will do yo

  2. Something went wrong with my keyboard. Couldn't type anymore.
    A product called Chlor-Out. Just check the fish area at Walmart or target.

  3. this is a pretty awesome tutorial! thanks for sharing!


    1. I'm glad you like it! it's easy and surprisingly quick. If you try it out definitely pop back by with the link so I can check out your project :)

  4. Haha. I'm trying to picture myself tugging at an uncomfortable piece of clothing all day. (Which, okay, I've done recently.) At least it was turned into a fun project! You'll have to show us what you use all the fabric for. I think the negative space bleach job is my favorite; I love the diamonds. I once did the tie dye spiral ... it was in chemistry class junior year. It was toward the end of the year, when we had nothing else to do, so we made T-shirts, haha. I still have mine.