Tie-dying and bleach dying are all the rage right now, as my grandma might possibly say, and while normally, I’m really not a huge fan of the bright, multi-colored, rainbow types hippie-grateful dead tie dyes, I do have to say I’m loving the splotchy tie dyes I’m seeing everywhere right now.
These tie dyed pieces are mostly in the form of matching sweatsuits. Now, to the youth of today, these oversized and unflattering two-piece sets might look and feel brand new, but anyone “of a certain age” may have either worn these looks when they first came out or watched and made fun of their parents for wearing them.
Either way, the new look is pretty cute now (and slightly expensive, though you can find some cute and more affordable DIY pieces on Etsy, and in the men’s section of Asos, strangely enough- if you don’t want to make your own) and while I didn’t have a matching set to work with, I did have two sweatshirts ready for a fun makeover.
Sweatshirt #2 // A light heathered brown sweatshirt I got for Christmas, that I love because it’s oversized and soft and cozy… but sadly became victim of a quarantine red wine spill and was stained for life.
I’ve never bleach dyed, though I’ve tie dyed a few times in my past lives, so I watched a few videos to see how the kids were doing it these days and then I decided to do my own version and the best and easiest and quickest option I thought was to just use a Bleach gel that already comes in an oh-so handy squeezy tube. Not only did I not have to mix ingredients and worry about toxicity and splashing bleach everywhere, I… well, that’s basically it. It was easy as 1.2.3… I think since the gel is less concentrated though, you have to keep it on a bit longer than a straight bleach/water mix. Anyway, it was pretty simple… here’s how I created my version and I have to say, I LOVE THE WAY THE BLACK LEE HOODIE TURNED OUT! It may be my favorite new item in my closet right now.
Here’s What You Need…
* Richly dyed 100% cottons… sweats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, hoodies, you know, lougewear
* Clorox gel bleach cleaner (really, the easiest and safest way to go)
* Rubber bands
* Rubber gloves
* Bathtub or large bucket
NOTE: there are tie-dye kits available if you’re looking for colors!
NOTE: I DID NOT WANT A PATTERN in my bleach/tie dye. I wanted a splotchy look. If you’re looking for a swirl or pattern DIY tie dye look, search that term on google or youtube.
Lay your item flat… find one or two “key” areas and create a sort of bunching with your hand..
Grab the “bunch” you created and twist the object in a circular motion until it’s sort of all wound up.
Please, go watch videos for a more in-depth visual of this if you want to… although using this kind of bleach, none of this is really necessary!
Once your item is in a tight circle, bind it with about 3-4 rubber bands to hold it in place.
I wanted to make sure my wine stain was bleach, so I left it out.
You can see where and how I squirted the bleach on the lighter sweatshirt, but basically, just squirt it all over the place… and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. .
NOTE: The longer you leave the bleach on, the brighter and lighter it will be. HOWEVER, if you leave bleach on too long you risk it eating through the fabric, which you don’t want.
After about ten minutes, rinse your bleach out with cold water entirely then toss items into a cold wash in the washing machine (with other items you’re not worried about just in case) and then in the dryer. This really sets the bleach stain in good.
I LOVE how my black hoodie turned out. I left the bleach on longer in certain areas than others.
Basically, after removing the rubber bands (after about 7-10mins), I realized it only hit the spots that are really BOLD along the arms and hood but the chest and back were nearly all untouched… so then, with my hoodie laying flat, I just squirted bleach in areas I wanted it like splatter paint, spread it with my hands a little so it wouldn’t look exactly like 80s splatter paint or a Jackson Pollock painting and let it sit for varying amounts of time, thus the varying degrees of color… and I love that.
SO BASICALLY, YOU CAN JUST DO THIS ALL OVER THE ITEMS AND DISREGARD THE STEPS ABOVE. The sleeves and hood are due to the twisting and binding method but the front and back body part of the sweatshirt are just from me squirting it on all over and then rubbing it around with my hands over and over.
PS: I tucked the hoodie ribbons in because I didn’t want them bleached at all.
Obviously, the bleach turned out a rust color against the black hoodie because it was pretty saturated and dark. You probably won’t get a full “white” bleach stain with any color, but a lighter version of the color it already is, the bleach is almost an inverted version of black though, if that makes sense. If you’re looking for more “white” in your bleached look, it’s probably better to start with a white item and actually use black dye to tie dye it. You will most likely get a greyish color because black is difficult to dye on some fabrics/finishes, but it’s fun to experiment, so get to it!
The light sweatshirt was basically unaffected by the bleach… and here are the top three reasons why, in my opinion.
1. It’s only 60% cotton – 100% cotton is much more absorbent and will take bleach or dye better
2. It’s a light color
3. It’s “heathered”
However, it 100% DID get the wine stain out, so that’s something for you to keep in your back pocket 🙂
Thanks for the hoodie, Lee! Hope you don’t mind I altered it a little bit 🙂
* Find all my DIYs here