Introduction: Bleach Tie Dying

About: Geeky artist. MUST. MAKE. STUFF. More stuff at:

Bleach tie dying is fast and very easy. It's a great way to give an old piece of clothing a new life, or make a boring item more fun. It's also a perfect way to save a stained shirt. You'll only need a couple of common and inexpensive supplies. Also, you may get a surprise color combination when the bleach begins to react with the dye in the fabric. (One of these shirts was grey and one was black!)

Note: Because this uses bleach, it's not a project for kids. (Though kids can do the tying!)

Step 1: What You Need

A cotton garment or piece of fabric. (I'm using an old, favorite tee shirt that got stained.)

A spray bottle with half bleach and half water (50/50 bleach solution)

Rubber bands

Step 2: Begin Tying

Starting just about anywhere on your garment (I started with a sleeve), gather a few inches of fabric. Twist the gathered fabric tightly. It's okay if it twists back on itself. When the section is twisted, secure it in place with a rubber band.

Step 3: Tying More

Grab another section, twist it, and secure it with another rubber band.

Step 4: And More

Continue grabbing sections, and twisting, and tying them off. You can grab sections randomly, or in a pattern (like in a diagonal).

Step 5: Finish Tying

When all the loose fabric has been gathered into tied-off bunches, secure the entire bundle by wrapping everything together with an additional 2 or 3 rubber bands.

Step 6: Time to Bleach

Make sure you choose a place to use the bleach that won't get damaged. I use a sink. Also, wear clothes that won't matter if bleach gets on them.

Put your tied bundle in the sink (or basin).

Step 7: Spray

Spray the diluted bleach right onto your dry garment. Like magic, you'll see the color change almost instantly. Turn the bundle in different directions and spray. Make sure you spray the whole bundle and get the fabric good and wet.

Step 8: Watch

You'll see the color change and lighten. This happens quickly, so watch for the color and/or intensity you want. Different dyes will bleach in different ways, with different intermediate colors. If you don't like the color you're getting, spray a little more and wait longer.

You can stop the process at any point, or wait until it bleaches white.

Note: Not every fabric will bleach to white.

Step 9: Rinse

When you see the intensity you want, immediately rinse the garment. Leave on the rubber bands. It doesn't matter what temperature water you use.

I like this orange(who knew?!) color the grey bleached to, so I decided that was the time to rinse.

Step 10: Remove Rubber Bands

Rinse well until you don't smell the bleach much anymore. Then you can remove the rubber bands. Rinse well again as soon as the bands are off. You may see some dye in the rinse water. Rinse until the water is clear and most of the bleach is out.

Step 11: Wash

Wash and dry immediately. If you can't wash it right away, leave the garment in clean water until you can.

Shown: Wet, dry, front & back

Step 12: Wear!

I hope you enjoy this project!

You can try tying the fabric in different ways, using different color garments, and varying the bleaching time.

Feel free to post your dying and let me know what you did in the comments.

Have fun!

Rubber Band Speed Challenge

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Rubber Band Speed Challenge