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Tie-Dye Techniques With Bleach

by Pamela Simmons, studioD

Get a little hippie inspiration by wearing tie-dye. But instead of using colored dye to create patterns on a white shirt, use bleach on a colored shirt to create a verse tie-dye effect. Start with a colorful cotton shirt and use bleach to lighten it in certain places. The technique is as fun as it is easy to do.

Dip Dye

Dip a piece of clothing into a bleach mixture to create an ombre-dyed effect, where one part of the piece is bleached and the other is not. Use any colorful piece, and dip it into a mixture of one part bleach to two parts water. The longer you leave your piece in bleach, the lighter it will get; about 30 minutes in bleach should dye your piece completely white. To dip dye a shirt, attach the top of it to a ruler and lay the ruler over a bucket of the bleach mixture; this will keep part of your shirt outside of the bleach. Leave your shirt in the bleach mixture until you've reached your desired shade. Bleach the top or the bottom of the garment, hanging it right side up or upside down depending on your preference.

Tie Dye Stripes

Create tie-dye stripes using masking tape and bleach. Before you start, place a heavy piece of cardboard inside the garment to separate the front and back. Place the tape over the garment piece to create a striped look. Brush bleach -- no need to dilute -- onto the exposed fabric between the taped stripes. Once the bleach is dry, remove the tape to reveal a tie-dyed striped pattern.

Seeing Spots

Go old school and create tie-dyed spots. Grab clumps of fabric and bind them with elastic bands. Add depth by creating clumps of varying sizes. Dip the entire piece into the one-part-bleach, two-parts-water mixture. This will leave circles of your original fabric shade all over the shirt.

Grid Pattern

Create a grid dyed pattern. Start by folding a colored cotton top into pleats. Lay the folded shirt between two wooden planks and wrap four to five elastic bands around the planks. Place your shirt and planks into a bucket of four parts water and one part bleach, leaving it in for just a few seconds. Remove the shirt and wait for it to dry before removing the planks.

Getting it Right

Carry out tie-dying projects outdoors and in clothes you don't care about. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the bleach. When handling clothing, keep your hands away from areas that are being bleached so you do not ruin the pattern. Practice on an old shirt first to master the technique before moving on to more valued items. After removing your items from bleach, dry them correctly. Hang dip-dyed items to dry, with the bleached end on the bottom. Everything else can be laid out to dry.

About the Author

Pamela Simmons has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles on fashion, beauty and other topics have appeared on Denim Therapy and other websites. Simmons serves as an editor and public relations manager for CHIC.TV. She holds a Bachelor of Science in international affairs from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University.

Photo Credits

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