So if you’ve even stepped one toe outside your door, you know that tie-dye is making its way back around on EVERY. SINGLE.THING. [insert me seriously overjoyed]

I fell in LOVE with a Bleach-dye shirt at a boutique, had to have it, couldn’t live without it, obsessed. After barely recovering from sticker shock on the shirt–$45 ON SALE– it occured to me that I’ve not only “mistakenly” bleached my clothes once, I have done it SEVERAL times. Accidentally bleaching my clothes is something I am so familiar with, it’s scary. Plus, since Quarantine has made me *believe* I am a craft wizard, you can just call me for every single VBS in the Southeast. So with my heart set on replicating that ridiculously priced shirt, my numerous encounters in bleaching my laundry, and my newfound craft calling, I decided on my newest project–bleach dying shirts. We had the kids this weekend, so naturally it became a family event!

We loaded up Saturday morning and hit 6 thrift shops in the area. You will learn that we thrift, a LOT. We’ve even found some pieces to flip for profit, but more on that later. The deal was that everyone had to find at least ONE shirt to bleach dye. Once we all had our shirts, we got home and got to work. 

Here I’m going to tell you the KID FRIENDLY way, the Easy Way, the CLEANER way to accomplish this project:

What you Will Need:

·        Toss Away Broiler Pans (best bought in bulk at Sams Club/Costco)

·        Gloves (bleach is REALLY hard on skin)

·        Toilet Bowl BLEACH cleaner (this is the brand I used, its $1.98 and you’ll get 10+ shirts out of it)

Walmart Brand-$1.98

·        Rubber Bands

·        Your Patience


1.     You’re going to take your shirt and scrunch, twist and fold it. Scrunching it is going to give you more of the look that the kids have (photo above), If you want more of a swirl pattern like traditional tie-dye, you will need to pinch the center of your shirt twist it, like you’re twirling spaghetti until it’s tight. For more of a “wave like” look, (best on long sleeves) fold it just like an accordion.

2.     Once you’ve twisted it tightly but not SO tightly that bleach won’t get in the spots, it is time to get to work with rubber bands. Secure them to keep your shirt tight and in place.

Use Plenty of rubber bands, and loop twice

3.     Place shirts (you can fit 2 easily) into the broiler pans and get your bleach gel and gloves.

4.     Go to town!! Pour the bleach gel on the shirt all over, making sure you cover it. Flip it over and cover the other side. Note: you’re going to want to use a decent amount of bleach.

5.     Let your shirt sit, the recommended time is 10-15 minutes. I have learned that products with more poly take a BIT longer. Ella (the Singapore shirt) had to let hers sit for literally 40 mins before it turned. Just be patient! (Remember I said you needed that)

6.     Make sure while you are waiting, you flip the shirt at least ONCE. The air flow is what causes the bleach to REALLY take effect. You need the air to hit both sides.

7.     Once you’re happy with your coloring, remove from the broiler pan and rinse in the sink/tub with COLD water. Make sure it’s COLD because that’s what “freezes” the processing. Rinse it out until it doesn’t feel slimy anymore.

8.     Then, toss the shirt in the washing machine on cold, ALONE or with other bleach dyed projects. NEVER do the first wash with any other clothing!

9.     ENJOY! If you feel you want more color? A bit different? You can redo this process again on the shirt.

This project was definitely quick, easy, cheap and most importantly, a lot of fun–especially for kids. They didn’t have a clue what was going to happen, or what the final outcome would be. Every time it was time to wash they all gathered around the sink to see each other’s final masterpieces. They loved the ownership of picking out the shirts, putting the work in, and wearing it as a final reward. NO JOKE- I received messages from their teachers the following Monday at school that they told everyone about the weekend’s project. [Insert me feeling like a really cool step-Roo].

<See Video of Clean Dye!! ALSO,The Pink Floyd shirt- is not done using this method. But I will share that method with you in another post!>

10/10 would recommend this weekend fun. Give it a go! Send me photos. I want to see your creative sides, and your little ones’ projects!! Any questions? Feel free to ask! Remember, it’s all about being imperfect so don’t stress it!

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