DIY: Tie Dyeing Tops Using Bleach


As an ENFP personality type, I’m great at coming up with ideas, I’ve got books of photoshoots, short film scripts and painting ideas that I want to complete but I NEVER get around to starting the vast majority of them. It doesn’t help either that my best friend and fellow creative is also ‘ENFP’; there are so many adventures and ideas to work on but there is never an opportunity to complete them. Resultantly, I’ve come up with a grand scheme: complete one project every week.

So far it has been working out. Last week, after having my intervelometer for months, I finally made the time to shoot a time-lapse. And after the thrill of learning how to make it into a video on Photoshop, I went back out on three more days and shot more images for time-lapses which I will share on here next week please God.

And now –Tie DYEING

To begin, get out the things that you will need for two reasons: it saves you time if everything is out and secondly, you are dealing with bleach which has the potential to ruin the colour in other fabrics of yours.
You will need:
-t-shirts to dye
-gloves (not cloth)
-protective sheet
-rubber bands


When you have everything out change into craft clothes. I chose to use three older t-shirts of mine rather than go to the store for new ones to dye as well as one that was recently purchased. Next place your protective sheet over the surface that you will be using for this project. Then lay your tops/shorts/cloths ect. flat on the surface.

Take whichever item you are starting with and put it aside from the others, also get your rubber bands ready. There are a variety of ways to get the different patterns in the end that you can learn but experience is the best teacher, turn and twist to your hearts’ delight- that’s what I did and I liked the results.
tie die diy blog 1                     Unknown                               Unknownu

Twist each shirt individually and place the rubber bands across them as soon as you finish. Be sure to tightly place the rubber bands, put on extra wraps if they are slack as these are where your lines are and the shades of color change.


It may look like these if you’ve done any of the ones above.
UnknownrNow that you have the twisting and tying completed, it is now time to put on your gloves (which by the way should not be cloth). Get out your pan or pot, your bleach and your tongs. If children are involved in this process I suggest that you are very vigilant as bleach is a dangerous substance. Get your gloves on and pour enough bleach to cover the bottom of the pot/pan- I don’t have an actual measurement but use a pan that would accommodate the item you are tie dyeing lying flat.
Unknownr copy

Place the rolled and banded item into the pan of bleach briefly on each side using the pair of tongs. This is one of my errors as I left the t-shirts in the bleach for about five minutes so they absorbed enough bleach to bleach the entire shirt thus reducing the effect of the tying.

Next I put the shirts out in the sun for a few minutes, I recommend around six to ten minutes. If you aren’t in an area that sunlight is easily accessible then place on a hard dry surface in a dry area.

It is extremely important that you wash out your shirt or tie dyed item in soap water after a few minutes of resting in the sun or dry area. This greatly affects you end product as the bleach will continue working if it is not completely washed out. This was another area where my end product was impacted negatively as I washed out the shirt briefly and without detergent. So at first the top (the green one) looked fine but when I left and returned home a few hours later the color was closer to white.


The revealing of the final product is exciting as you take off all of the rubber bands and wash out- with detergent- all of the bleach in your dyed item.

I also noticed that the older shirts that I used were less resistant to the bleach and actually tore in some areas. These were also the ones that were left for longer in the pan of bleach. This renders your shirt useless, not even good for cleaning rags or for spills.
UnknownjHere are the others, they aren’t perfect but they are a damn good first attempt, especially the green tank top. Looks a lot like a Billabong tee that was around a while ago. The blue shirt is actually died but you can’t see it very well in this shot.


I’m going to be trying this again maybe this week if I can sacrifice more t-shirts. I now know precisely what not to do as well as what works which makes me quite pleased. I just got back from the drug store and found some awesome dyes at great prices so during the week I will attempt a typical tie dye.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I am sincerely sorry for the terrible quality of these photos but I took them with my phone’s camera as my DSLR’s battery was dead.

See ya tomorrow please God!

Go do something that you’ve been dreaming of but haven’t done as yet.   


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