Last summer, we were obsessed with shibori indigo tie dying. No, really . . . we just about dyed anything white in sight. So when Free People asked us to include a DIY in our guest blogger series, we knew a new tie dye project was absolutely in order. Reverse tie dye or extracting color using bleach has intrigued us for some time now and as the weather is warming up, what better time than now than to start experimenting with tie dye again!
To make a reverse tie dyed shirt, we used a black Free People shirt (bleach works best on natural materials, especially cotton), a few cups of bleach, a bucket, a pair of gloves, a few rubber bands and 2 flat shaped objects.
To make a grid-like pattern, fold the shirt like an accordion and bind it between two pieces of wood or any flat shaped object. Hold the shirt in place by wrapping a series of rubber bands around the bind. Anything used to bind the clothing will prevent the bleach from penetrating, so remember, any fabric exposed will bleach and turn color. Click here for more binding methods.
Before you start the process, make sure you are wearing gloves and bleaching outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Dilute approximately 4 cups of bleach with 1 cup of water. Submerge the shirt into the bleach for only a couple of seconds. Watch it very carefully because depending on the thread count of the clothing, the color can turn very quickly and the bleach may start eroding the fabric. As soon the black fabric transforms into a rusty brown color, immediately remove it from the bleach. Unbind it, rinse it with water and let it hang dry.
You’ll notice that the brown color will slowly fade into an even lighter shade over time. Once its dry, run the shirt through the washing machine.
Your reverse bleach tie dye shirt is ready to wear!