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Reverse Tie Dyeing

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

This morning I decided to do a major cleaning which involved using a lot of bleach. I have specific cleaning shirts but for some reason decided to wear one of my green t shirts on the job. That was a mistake. Of course I ended up splattering it with bleach.

I decided this time to just go with it and have some fun. It is called reverse tie dyeing. Instead of using dye to add color to the shirt, you use bleach to remove color.

I am not a dyer by profession, I have friends who do that. I just wanted to do something to make it look presentable.

I have used the reverse dye technique in the past when I bleach stained other shirts.

Here I splattered drops of bleach onto the front and back of the shirt and then cut fringes on the bottom to give it a boho look.

Random splattering and I washed it after a minute so that the bleach would not remove all the color and leave the shirt with white spots on it.

This was originally a dark green colored t shirt which I had used as a work shirt and it had then become stained. I splattered large sections with bleach and washed and dried in stages to get different color effects. After washing and drying I over dyed some of the areas with some navy blue dylon dye that I had. I lengthened the sleeves to 3/4 length by adding on sleeves from another khaki green shirt which I had used to make a t shirt necklace.

I splattered bleach on and washed it after a few minutes which created the khaki green coloring. After drying it I added more bleach and let it work until I had some white areas and then washed it again. After that I randomly overdyed some of the areas with navy blue dye.

I wear it with the khaki t shirt necklace that matches the sleeves of the shirt.

I gathered the t shirt that I had stained today with a fork and held it closed using 3 rubber bands. I sprayed it with a diluted bleach solution and should have washed it at this stage, but took photos instead.

So the shirt ended up having cream colored blotches instead of yellow green ones.

I wasn't too happy with this result, so I decided to work on it a bit more.

I gathered bits up and twirled them and tied them with the rubber bands and randomly sprayed a fine mist of diluted bleach over the shirt, front and back.

This time I rinsed and washed when I saw the color changing, before it became cream.

I caught it just in time.

My finished camo t shirt. Its wearable.

It can always become an infinity scarf if I am not happy with it.

There are many different ways in which to reverse dye, here are a few examples.

Make a template of a design and then bleach around that.

Tape lace down onto a dark shirt and spray bleach over that.

You can use a spray gun, a brush or a sponge, you will get a different effect with each tool.

Experiment and have fun.

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