Reverse Tie-Dye




Introduction: Reverse Tie-Dye

Are you tired of wearing the typical solid colored shirts? Regular tie-dye can take hours, is extremely messy, and dyes have potential to stain you and your surroundings. To add a little variation to your life try reverse tie-dye! It only takes approximately 25 minutes and requires everyday household items including bleach, rubber bands, and any dark colored shirt.

Supplies Needed:

  • Dark Colored Shirt (black, navy blue, brown, and maroon work best)
  • Bleach: 2 cups per shirt (any brand works)
  • Rubber Bands (preferably non-colored)
  • Scissors
  • Rinsing station
  • Pouring Device (measuring cups work best)
  • Tongs (Optional)
  • Detergent (Optional)
  • Dryer (Optional)


  1. Because bleach is involved dress accordingly (old clothing)
    • Bleach may splatter in various directions in steps 4 and 5; make sure to be aware of this.
  2. Make sure it stays away from your eyes and any open wounds.
  3. It’s a good idea to open a window or turn on a fan in order to ventilate the area from bleach fumes.

Step 1: Getting Started

Gather all of your materials and lay shirt out on a flat surface.

Step 2: Sectioning Your Shirt

Bunch shirt into multiple sections. Tie the rubber bands around these sections tightly.

  • We divided them into about ten sections and twisted the rubber band around about six times. You can divide them into more sections that are smaller in order to create a more intricate pattern.

Step 3: Preparing for Bleach

Take your tied shirt to the rinsing station and pour approximately two cups of bleach in pouring device.

  • We used a sink, but you could do this outside or in a bathtub. We encourage using a pouring device with a spout in order to limit and direct the flow of bleach onto the t-shirt.

Step 4: Adding Bleach

Pour the bleach directly on the rubber bands and let it soak into the shirt for about 10 to 15 seconds. Pour the excess bleach all over the shirt. Wait about 20 seconds for the rest of the bleach to saturate the shirt

  • Make sure you remember to get both sides of the shirt.

Step 5: Taking Off Rubber Bands

Carefully use the scissors to cut the rubber bands in order to unfasten the bunched sections on your shirt.

  • If you are using a rinsing station with a drain, make sure to clear the rubber bands from the drain in order to prevent plumbing problems.

Step 6: Rinsing Bleach

Thoroughly rinse the bleach from the shirt with warm water. You will notice orange tinted water coming from the shirt. Rinse until water is clear again.

Step 7: Washing Shirt

Carefully pour (approximately) half a cup of detergent onto the shirt in the rinsing station. Work in the detergent through out the shirt.

  • Upon rinsing the detergent out with warm water, you will notice the same orange tinted water-- as seen in step 6-- coming from the shirt; continue rinsing until water is clear again and wring out excess water. This will help set in the colors so they don’t bleed out in future washes.

*This step is very important. If not completed excess bleach will disperse to other clothing in future washes.

Step 8: Final Product

After wringing out your shirt, put it in the dryer. Although this isn’t necessary it is helpful if you’re eager to wear your shirt. You can also it leave out to let it air dry.

  • After you have decided your drying method, make sure you clean up your work area and wipe surfaces to get rid of any excess bleach.
  • Wash your hands to avoid any chemical interactions from the bleach.

Cheers, you’re done! Go and show off your new freshly dyed unique piece of clothing that no one else will have! .

1 Person Made This Project!


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2 years ago on Introduction

I just wanted to say thank you very much for the simple instructions/steps! I am happy with my results as they came out beautifully! :)


6 years ago

do you think we can use other colored dyes after the bleach? I would like to do a reverse tie-dye and then put some blue die on it but i am scared about how it will turn out...


Reply 6 years ago

I've been tie bleaching and stenciling for a few years now, I just about around 6pm tonight I took one of my older shirts that had a lot of bleaching done and folded and twisted and tied it up and got it soaked in dyes and....gotta wait till tomorrow. but I will share what happened!

Antzy Carmasaic
Antzy Carmasaic

7 years ago

the main image looks like the Mandelbrot fractal


7 years ago on Introduction

This creates a cool effect! And looks so simple. Nicely done!