How to Tie Dye with Bleach

Learn how to tie dye with bleach in this Howcast video.


Another technique that you can use for tie dyeing is bleach dyeing, which is pretty much a reverse dyeing technique, so instead of adding color, you'll be wanting to remove color out of a colored fabric. For bleach dyeing you can use plain bleach that should be as simple as possible, so it's in its most concentrated state. I've already prepared my fabric by folding it in accordion style both ways and then it's gathered together with rubber bands and I also presoak it, so it will receive easily the bleach.

So I'm going to place it in a bucket and I'm going to start pouring my bleach on top of it, making sure I keep it away from my clothes, as also from my hands. This is a process that you'll really be wanting to wear gloves and if you're doing it with kids, especially you want the kids to be wearing goggles, as well. So you want to make sure all your fabric is soaking in the bleach and you'll watch the color start disappearing in a couple of minutes.

Our sample has been in the bleach for a while now, for about 15 minutes, and it's ready. As you can see the color totally changed from grey into a pink color. Different bleaches will take different times to bleach, so it's always a unique experience whenever you use a different kind of bleach. Stronger, cleaning purpose bleaches tend to be faster. Bleach that you can use for laundry tend to take a little bit longer.

So I'm going to squeeze out the bleach and I'm going to quickly rinse it to remove all the excess bleach. Now I'm going to carefully remove the rubber bands. You want to be careful, because there might be some bleach in here and you don't want to splash it on your face, so remove the rubber bands in a controlled way. And before I open it you can start noticing that the places that my rubber bands were didn't get bleached, so they keep their grey color and so does some of the interior parts of my folds.

Here is an actually a really good example that you can see the original grey and all the gradations into the pink. So the longer you keep it in the bleach, you'll see different colors appear, eventually this will all become white, but throughout you can stop the process by simply rinsing it in water as soon as you want or when you're happy with the color obtained. So I'm going to unfold it carefully, and you can see my final box pattern and all these colors when I didn't use anything but bleach. This is how you can do some tie dyeing using bleach.

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