How to Level Up A Bleached Flannel With Tie Dye

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
5 Materials
1 Day

In almost any thrift store you can find a great flannel or plaid shirt for fall. That's why they are the perfect canvas to play around with and create your own sustainable fashion statement for a low cost.

A bleached flannel DIY is a classic for fall, but one extra step can give you more flexibility on the outcome. You never know what color bleached cotton is going to take on, but with this method you have control over the final product by reintroducing the color of your choice.

For this project I started with a 100% cotton Levi's blue flannel button down shirt. It is important to use a shirt with cotton in the fiber content. If you use a shirt with too much polyester the bleach may not remove the pigment from the fibers.

I damped my cotton shirt and used a rubber band to tie off the bottom of the shirt and sleeves where I wanted the ombre bleach to begin.

I prepared a solution of half bleach and half water in a deep container to dip the shirt into.

I dipped my shirt into the bleach and let it sit for several minutes. (wear a protective glove on whatever hand/s will be in contact with the bleach in order to prevent a chemical burn or irritation.) After it had been submerged in the bleach for a few minutes I took it out and exposed the bleached areas to sunlight to speed up the color extracting process.

The picture above shows what my shirt looked like after the bleach had removed the color. As you can see, we are left with a light orange/white color.

I washed the shirt in the washer with detergent to remove the bleach when it reached my desired level.

Warning: bleach will weaken the strength of the fibers in your garment. Be sure to wash the bleach out before it destroys or completely shreds the material. You run a high risk of ruining a shirt if it's extremely thin material. Thicker material will likely hold up better to a beach treatment.

Once I had my bleach washed out of the shirt I crinkled it up while it was still wet and prepared the piece to be ice-dyed. To see more about how I ice-dyed this shirt refer the YouTube link at the top of this tutorial.

I used three different shades of blue powder pigment dye to create an ice dye method on the lighter bleached part of my flannel shirt.

In order to insure the pigment dye would stick to the fibers in the shirt I waited for all of the ice to melt and left the dye on the garment for 24 hours.

After 24 hours had passed I first rinsed my shirt in cool water, than warm water in the sink, and then washed the shirt in the washing machine with detergent on "hot" water to rinse out any excess dye and to bond the fibers to the garment.

Here's a closer look at the finished garment! We created a beautiful burnout/grunge look with this shirt but the options are endless on what you can do!

If you would prefer to skip the bleach section, look for a white plaid/flannel shirt in the thrift store.

For more inspiration, check you my YouTube video and you'll find two additional tie-dye flannel techniques!

Let me know in the comments if you've ever tried a bleached flannel project yourself!

Suggested materials:
  • Flannel Or Plaid Cotton Shirt   (Thrift store)
  • Bleach
  • Fiber Reactive Dye   (Dharma Trading Co.)
See all materials

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