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Hello lovers. I’ve always been into tye-dyeing ever since I learnt how to as a camp counsellor. Recently, I’ve wanted to take that same concept but make it more mainstream and current, so I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with bleach dyeing. Bleach dyeing is basically the opposite of tye-dyeing, as you are removing colour from the garment by using diluted household bleach.

In this brief How To, I’m going to show you two things: 1) How to apply the bleach to get what I call a drip pattern and 2) How to modify a normal extra large shirt into a more flattering batwing tunic. So follow me…

Now there are lots of different ways to bleach dye. You can use boards to recreate a grid pattern:

You can spray the bleach:

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Or use rubber bands and do a tradition tye-dye pattern. For my dye job that you’ll see below, I basically combined using tradition rubber bands with a free hand technique.

You will need the following items:

A large or extra large black shirt (I got mine from the men’s section at St. Vincent de Paul), rubber Bands, latex gloves, house hold bleach, an applique bottle, and a plastic hanger.

Dilute the bleach in your container in a 75% bleach to 25% water ratio. I know this is high, and some How To’s will say 50% to 50%, but I found to achieve the more white colour instead of the rusty brown, you have to dilute the bleach more. If you are using thin fabric, consider lowering the ratio.

To prep the shirt: If it’s a brand new shirt, pre-wash it. If it is a vintage shirt, don’t worry about pre-washing it (it will get washed after).

All I did with this shirt was take the top of the sleeves and rolled them until I had most of the sleeve, and then secured with a rubber band:

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Then I hung up my shirt over my sink using a rod and a hanger.

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Put on your gloves and fill your applique bottle with the bleach to water ratio. Now it’s time to hang fun. Oh, but make sure your area is well ventilated! Start applying the bleach onto the rolled-up knobs:

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It was hard to take pictures during this process but after you do both sides, your shirt will start to look like this. Don’t forget to turn the shirt around and apply some bleach as well to the back:

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I made sure both my knobs were completely drenched. I also moved them around a bit to get the bleach flowing down the sides. Basically there is no way you can screw this up, anything will look really cool.

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Leave the shirt to set for 30-45 minutes, any longer and you might get your fabric developing holes. This was the shirt after 20 minutes:

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Now, after the shirt is set, remove the rubber bands and, wash and dry as normal. If you want to leave it as a shirt, great! You are all done. However if you want to make it in a batwing tunic, it’s super easy. I basically followed this amazing YouTube tutorial:

And here is my final product!

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Keep in mind that on a smaller person, the batwing will be more pronounced.

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The top of the sleeve where the knob was.

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And that’s it, I hope you enjoyed hearing about how to make this. It’s less of an exact How To, but that’s because this technique is so easy. And once you know the general technique, you can bleach dye ANYTHING, pants, undies, scarves, etc.

If you found this helpful or enjoyed it, please leave me some feedback in the comments. Thanks so much!

-FM

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