How to Bleach Tie-Dye a Sweatshirt – Easy DIY

Learn how to DIY your own tie-dye sweatshirt with bleach! Use this fun and easy bleach tie-dye technique to make custom sweatsuits, sweatpants, hoodies, and more! Keep reading for the step-by-step tutorial and video.

How to Tie Dye Shirts with Bleach

If you’ve ever wanted to try reverse tie-dye using bleach, you’re in luck! Learn how to transform your dark-colored shirts with this easy guide to bleach tie-dye.

What is Bleach Tie Dyeing?

Tie-dying with bleach is a big trend right now, and it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular. It’s a fun DIY style craft that you can do at home with just a few common supplies.

Transform a plain black or navy sweatshirt by tying it up with rubber bands, and lightening the exposed fabric with household bleach.

You can even go an extra step and try Reverse Tie Dye — which is adding a new tie-dye color to the bleached areas.

Bleach Tie Dye Tutorial Video

Supplies for Dyeing with Bleach

The great thing about this DIY project is that it requires only a handful of inexpensive supplies. You likely have everything you need at home already. Here are the materials you’ll need for this project.

  • a dark-colored cotton sweatshirt, or other garment
  • household bleach
  • a plastic bucket
  • a pair of gloves
  • several rubber bands
  • spray bottle (optional)
  • mild laundry detergent

I mixed 2 cups of bleach with 2 cups of water to create my bleaching solution. I then dipped my sweatshirt into this solution.

Another method you can try is to use a spray bottle to spray the bleach solution on to the garment. This will give you a different look.

If you don’t have regular liquid bleach, you can try using bathroom cleaner that contains bleach. I haven’t tested it myself, but I’ve seen other people have success using gel bleach cleaners, like Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner. In this case, the cleaner was applied directly to the tied shirt.

Best Types of Clothes to Bleach Tie-Dye

For this project, you’ll have the best results with dark-colored clothes that are made from cotton. 100% cotton fabrics are preferred, but cotton blends will also work well.

If you are unsure how your shirt will react, you can always test a small corner of the garment with a dot of bleach. That way, you’ll know what color the garment will turn without committing to the entire process.

Here are some of the types of clothes to tie-dye with bleach:

  • sweatshirts
  • hoodles
  • sweatpants
  • black shirt
  • navy shirt

Different colored clothes will turn their own unique shades in the bleach. Sometimes the results can be really unexpected! If you want to know beforehand, you can always test a small inconspicuous corner of the fabric before you get started.

Find a Safe Workspace

Here are some important considerations when working with a strong chemical like bleach.

  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands while you’re dying with bleach.
  • Remember that bleach is a strong chemical, and its fumes can be dangerous. So work in a well-ventilated area, or outside if you can.
  • Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting bleach on.

Prepare your Shirt for Dyeing

Before you start the project, make sure that your shirt is clean and dry.

Then, use rubber bands to tie up your shirt in the design of your choice.

For my sweatshirt, I used the Crumple Tie Dye technique. I folded the sweatshirt up, somewhat randomly, and secured the folds with plenty of rubber bands.

The parts of your shirt that are tied up will stay the original dark color, while the exposed fabric will turn a lighter color when it intereacts with the bleach.

So, if you want less of the shirt to be bleached, tie it tightly. If you want more of the shirt to be bleached, tie it loosely.

If you prefer the swirly Tie-Dye Spiral look, pinch a small amount of fabric in the center of the shirt, and twist it around until all the fabric is in a tight spiral. Secure it with 3 rubber bands. Criss-cross the rubber bands across the middle point so that it creates 6 wedges shapes.)

Apply the Bleach

Here are a few different ways to apply the bleach.

Bucket Method: Fill a plastic bucket with a solution of 1 part bleach to 1 part water. Put the tied-up sweatshirt into the bucket, and submerge it. Leave the shirt in the bleach for about 10 minutes, until you start to see a color change.e

Spray or Squeeze Bottle Method: Fill a spray or squeeze bottle with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 1 part water. Spray the bleach solution on to the exposed fabric of your garment. You can use more or less bleach depending on how intense you want the color change to be.

Gel Toilet Cleaner Method: For best results, start with a slightly damp shirt. Squeeze the gel cleaner onto the exposed fabric. You can create different looks by applying the bleach to some areas, and not to others.

Rinse and Wash your Sweatshirt

You might be wondering how long to let your sweatshirt sit in the bleach. I let the sweatshirt soak in the bleack solution for about 10 minutes. After that time, I started to see the color change.

Tip: Remember that the colors will look lighter after you wash and dry the sweatshirt!

For some fabrics, you may want to leave the bleach on for 15 minutes, or even up to 20 minutes. Be careful, though. If you leave the bleach mixture on for too long, the bleach can damage the fabric of your sweatshirt.

When the time is up, remove the rubber bands and rinse the sweatshirt thoroughly. You’ll want to wash the shirt right away to stop the bleaching process. If you want, you can run the shirt through a regular cycle in the washing machine. Just to make sure no other clothes get bleached, you may want to wash it by itself.

Share this DIY!

Save this project to your Pinterest board, or share it on Facebook.

Bleach Tie Dye Sweatshirt

Bleach Tie Dye Sweatshirt

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Learn how to make a custom tie-dyed sweatshirt with bleach.

Materials

  • a dark-colored cotton sweatshirt
  • household bleach

Tools

  • a plastic bucket
  • a pair of gloves
  • several rubber bands
  • spray bottle (optional)

Instructions

  1. Protect your hands with rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Fold or crumple up the sweatshirt, and secure the folds with the rubber bands.
  3. In the plastic bucket, prepare a mixture of 1 part bleach to 1 part water.
  4. Let the sweatshirt sit in the bleach mixture for about 10 minutes, or until you are satisfied with the color change.
  5. Remove the rubber bands and rinse the sweatshirt thoroughly. Wash with mild detergent and rinse as normal.

Notes

Remember that the colors will look lighter after you wash and dry the sweatshirt!

Don't let the bleach sit too long, or it can damage the fabric of the shirt.

Did you make this project?

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