How to: Bleach dye a T-shirt -
Published Monday, June 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm / Updated at 6:20 pm
How to: Bleach dye a T-shirt

Just about everyone has a few pieces of unused or just plain boring clothing lying around. Give these clothes a chance at a new life by dying them with bleach. It's an easy project and a great way to reinvigorate your clothing, even if you only choose to wear it when you're working out or lounging around the house.

For bleach dying, you'll need:

Household bleach

Rubber bands

Freshly washed, colored T-shirt.

Spray bottle or bucket

Newspapers or old towels

Somewhere to wash your T-shirt when you're done

Rubber gloves

1. Get outside. If you can't, be sure the area you're working in is well-ventilated, and wear a face mask. If you have access to rubber gloves, put them on.

2. Lay down some newspaper or an old towel. Lay out your freshly washed T-shirt on top. The darker the color of your T-shirt, the more dramatic your patterns will look.

3. For a spiral pattern that looks a lot like a traditional tie-dye piece, grip the shirt with two fingers at the location where you want the spiral to begin. Twirl the shirt around so it bunches together.

4. Once you have the shirt spiraled together, secure it with a few rubber bands.

5. Take a small spray bottle and fill it with a mix of half bleach, half water. You can get these bottles for about $1 at Target or Walmart. Spray your bundled T-shirt, being certain not to get any on your skin or in your eyes. Be sure to cover the top and bottom of the shirt, as well as the sides, with the spray.

6. Let the shirt rest for about 10 minutes. You can go longer if you would like your results to be more dramatic. After five minutes or so, you should see the color of your T-shirt start to change.

7. If you would like to dye your shirt with an ombre fade, simply fill a large bucket with about a half gallon of water and a cup or two of bleach.

8. Hang the shirt you wish to dye over the edge of the bucket, letting the part you'll be bleaching gather in the bleach mixture.

9. Let it sit for 10 minutes. If you'd like more of a gradual fade, lift more of the shirt out of the bleach mixture every few minutes or so.

10. Once you have let the shirt rest in the bleach for 10 to 15 minutes, put it in a plastic bag. Take all the shirts you've dyed to the washing machine. I ran my shirts on a warm cycle twice to get rid of the bleach smell and remove all of the remaining color. Do not put them with any other clothing on the first wash. Be sure to safely dispose of the leftover bleach.

11. You'll be left with a pretty awesome looking new shirt. There's a lot of room for error with this particular how-to. Even if you don't do everything perfectly, you'll still end up with a totally wearable new piece of clothing.

Sources: Neeny's Wishlist, Expert Village and Lauren Rose.

Are you yearning to know how to do something? Email with your how-to questions.

Contact the writer: Andrea Kszystyniak    |   402-444-1149    |  

Andrea writes about local entertainment and events for

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