Reverse Tie Dyeing with Bleach

Reverse Tie Dyeing with Bleach Tutorial

Tie Dyeing has always been one of my favorite summer projects… it’s the old hippie in me, I guess. My girls and I get together sometimes for an afternoon tie dye party which is lots of fun. Get out the tie dyes, t-shirts, white socks and don’t forget the wine.

This time I wanted to try Reverse Tie Dyeing with Bleach. Instead of using fabric dyes or RIT, all you need is a colored tee, some plain bleach and a spray bottle. The basic wrapping and tying technique is the same as with traditional tie dye. The only difference is that instead of adding color, you are removing it with the bleach.

Supplies for reverse tie dyeing with bleach

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It’s interesting to see the color left behind after the bleach does its thing. Dark blue and black fabric tends to leave a purple or red color which makes for a pretty cool effect. This was a new technique for me, but I’m pretty happy with how the T-Shirts turned out.

Reverse Tie Dyeing with Bleach


Colored T-Shirt
Spray Bottle
– Bleach
– Water
Vinyl Gloves (optional)

Tie Dye T Shirt with Bleach,

Since we’re using bleach, it’s a good idea to do this outside. You don’t want the fumes or drops of the bleach staining anything in the house.


Fold the Fabric

I decided to do the spiral design but feel free to experiment with other tie dye techniques such as accordion fold.

Cover your table with plastic. Lay out the shirt, straightening out any wrinkles. Now, decide where you want the center of the spiral to be. Grab that spot of the shirt (front and back) and slowly start turning your hand to create a spiral. Take your time with this, adjusting the folds to keep the fabric neat.


Tie Dye T Shirt with Bleach,


Tie Dye T Shirt with Bleach,


Tie Dye T Shirt with Bleach,


Spray with Bleach Water

Add 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup bleach to your spray bottle and gently shake. Spray the top part of the twisted up shirt with the bleach solution. Make sure you cover the whole thing.

Note: test the spray of your bottle in a sink or outside. You want a ‘spray’, not a ‘stream’.


Tie Dye T Shirt with Bleach,


Let the shirt sit for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the progress. Check it every few minutes to see how the reverse dye is working. Mine took about 20 minutes.


Rinse your Tee:

Once you’re happy with the bleached areas, wash your shirt (washer or sink) and hang to dry.

Tie Dye T Shirt with Bleach,


Related Fabric Dyeing Tutorials

How to Paint Tiger Stripes 
23 Tie Dye Ideas and Projects 
Eco Printing Cotton and Silk
How to Tie Dye a Heart Shape
Tie Dyed Cotton Long Johns
Decorating and Dyeing with a Bleach Pen


Reverse Tie Dyeing with Bleach. Learn how to remove color with this bleach tie dye technique. A great tie dye project for teens, too.


  1. I wanted to tie-dye some clothes for my kids and I love this technique! Will try it out for a summer activity with them, thanks! Pinning and now following on FB. 🙂

    • Thanks Bernadyn! Returning the love on Sverve, FB, TW and wherever else I find you 🙂 Have a fabulous weekend!

  2. totally cool! I can’t wait to give this a try. I have been wanting to bleach tie dye some t-shirts so this will get me motivated!

  3. great post! I’m thinking of doing some tie dye this some and I’m loving the look of reverse tie dye!xx

  4. I was doing this about 40 years ago. A little different but the same results. Funny how everything seems to come around again. (and I kind of just gave a good part of my age up (-; )

    We use to put a cardboard piece in-between the fabric and hang it on the line. Then fill a spray bottle with bleach and spray or put bleach in a cup and use a paint brush and paint.

    It’s a great way to save clothes you really like but stained or clothes that just have no plain style.

    Thanks for posting this. A good tute and a good memory!

    • What goes around …. my mom put the crafting bug in me. We were always playing around with colors and fabrics.

  5. What a neat idea!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

  6. Wow We used to do this in college and now with my children looking for new waysto wear old clothes, bingo. Plus there are some Ts that could do with some styling up, just plain old boring. So thanks for then tute and deff shared!


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