Olivia and I are loving the tie dye trend. The big comfy sweats, tie dye bike shorts, tees – all of it. There are so many varieties and colors to admire. It’d been a while since we’ve done any tie dying, so this past weekend we decided to take one of the easiest approaches – Reverse Tie Dye with Bleach!

Tie Dying with Bleach

I’ve made several shirts with bleach, including this Bleached Lucky Shirt, in the past, and it’s always so simple. Reverse tie dye with bleach takes only 2 ingredients and under an hour to create a cool and unique shirt. Here’s how we made this stylish swirled shirt that Olivia is excited to show off.

DIY Tie Dye Tutorial

Tie Dying with Bleach


Dark colored tee
Spray Bottle – if you have a hard time finding these, check the hair aisle at a big box retailer
Rubber Bands
Rubber Gloves

DIY Tie Dye Shirt


Decide what you want your pattern to be. We went with a simple swirl pattern.

Tie Dye Technique

To accomplish this, lay the shirt flat. Pinch the middle and then start turning and scrunching it in one direction.

Swirl Tie Dye

Once it is all bunched up, use rubber bands to secure in place – creating “pie pieces”. We used 4 rubber bands for 8 sections.

Fill the spray bottle with equal parts water and bleach.

Place your shirt on a protected surface in a well-ventilated area. We used our kitchen sink – right over the drain – with the window open. You can also lay down a plastic sheet and place the shirt on an elevated baking cooling rack so it doesn’t sit in a puddle of bleach.

Bleach Tie Dye

Spray the shirt, soaking it thoroughly.

Turn it over and do the other side.

Don’t forget to get the edges.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Note: bleach can damage fabric if left on for too long.

We moved the shirt outside where there was a nice breeze and it allowed it to lighten a bit quicker. Keep in mind that the colors will look lighter after washing and drying.

After 10-15 minutes, it’s time to rinse it! Using cold water, remove the rubber bands and rinse the shirt.

Ring the water out of the shirt.

Toss it on the washing machine, with soap. Dry it in the dryer and you’re ready to wear your new reverse tie dye shirt!

How to reverse tie dye with bleach