Don’t spend tons of money buying expensive reverse tie-dye tees when you can make your own at home.
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So, tie-dye is making a comeback. In a BIG way.
If you have been on Instagram or TikTok lately, you know what I mean. And as a result, reverse tie-dye has also made an appearance.
Reverse tie-dye is when you wrap your not white shirt, pants, etc. with rubber bands and then use bleach to remove some or all of the color. This creates a tie-dye pattern.
However, I recently saw an Instagram post from @everyday_abby (my go-to for fashion inspo) where she was wearing a black tie-dye tee with a colorful pattern.
I was in love and NEEDED this shirt. It’s from Urban Outfitters and was listed at $39.
But, when I clicked the link it was out of stock. And that’s when I decided I was going to make it myself.
So, today I wanted to share this fun “quarantine project” to create your own reverse tie-dye t-shirt like the one above.
How to Reverse Tie-Dye a Shirt
*Note, I did this with two different shirts because the first wasn’t exactly as planned. Some of the photos may be from different processes*
What You’ll Need
- Black Cotton Tee (slightly oversized if you want it to fit like the one in the photo above)
- Bleach (I found this gel to work better than liquid bleach)
- Tie-Dye Kit (this is the exact one I used)
- Cardboard or large plastic bag
>>Check out my latest post on How to Create a DIY Distressed Crop Top
First, get your shirt wet and then wring out the water so that your shirt is just damp.
Next, pinch some fabric where you want the center of your spiral between your finger and your thumb. Begin to twist the shirt. Use your hands to manipulate the fabric to create a spiral.
Next, secure your shirt with 1-2 rubber bands. Place your shirt on a piece of cardboard, plastic bag, or in your sink to protect your counters and surfaces.
Now, squirt the bleach gel all over the shirt. Flip it over and repeat on the other side. Now you just have to wait for the bleach to remove the color. I took mine out of the rubber bands and let it sit for around 4 hours.
You can take your shirt outside in the sun to speed up the process.
When your shirt reaches a very light yellow/white color, remove the rubber bands and place your shirt in the washer and wash with hot water.
Then, dry your shirt completely.
Once your shirt is dry, you can begin dying it. You don’t need to re-wrap your shirt.
I laid mine out flat on a piece of cardboard and then dyed the shirt by squirting the colored dye on the bleached areas.
Afterward, place your shirt in a zip-top plastic bag and allow it to sit overnight.
The next day, remove your shirt from the bag and rinse it in the sink with cold water to remove excess dye. Then wash and dry it as normal.
I am so impressed with how this one turned out. While it’s not an exact replica, I think it’s pretty close.
The actual cost of this project was around $40 with the purchase of the tee, gel, and the tie-dye kit. But, we were able to make around 8 shirts with the tie-dye kit, which makes the cost per shirt around $8.
($3 for the shirt, $3.75 for dye, and $1 for gel). *This is very much estimated*.
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If you use this technique, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram @lifestyledbyerin. I would love to see how yours turns out. You could also use this reverse tie-dye technique on cotton joggers or hoodies.
Do you keep the rubber bands on while waiting for the bleach to sit or take them off? You said you took them off but then later you said you took them off after you let of dry for 4 hrs.
I did it both ways. It dried better and seems that the bleach worked faster when I removed the rubber bands and laid the tee out flat to dry with the bleach on.
My little sister broke her collar bone riding her bike and I just did this to an arm sling! She’s going to be so excited to having pretty to wear and not just oversized shirts ?
I used the gel bleach like shown and then used a color remover from rit and then I used rit dyes and soaked it for 11 hours
I’m going to have to try using Rit color remover next time. Did that help get out the yellow coloring left from the bleach?
Julie Rosen says
What brand and style number shirt did you use?
So happy with the way mine came out! Thanks for the tutorial!