See What Fun Things You Can Bleach Dye!

7 Materials
2 Hours

Are you in need of a Summer activity for you and your kids? Bleach dyeing clothes is a fast and fun activity for everyone. You can design your own shirt, shorts, overalls, shoes…. You name it. It is easy and so fun to watch the process happen. Plus you only need minimal supplies. Keep reading to see what I did with my boys in one short afternoon.

What do you need?

Growing up, I used to bleach dye things all the time. It had been years since I had last done it though. I remember using things like rocks, dice and rubber bands to make different shapes in the fabric. So grab some of those things if you want. All you really need is a spray bottle, water, bleach and the item you want to bleach dye. You can use gloves too, but we didn’t. My son and I both wear glasses so we didn’t need goggles but protective eyewear might be a good idea since bleach can be quite dangerous. We used two parts bleach to 1 part water. Some people use straight bleach, but it all depends on what you are going to be using it on. Also, we did this entire thing outside in our yard.

Here's What We Wanted to Bleach!

A while Back I upcycled some jeans and made my oldest son and I some overalls. We loved them and wore them a lot, but knew they could be better. His overall bib was made with a different denim than the pants so they looked slightly off.

The back pockets on mine were too close to the center seam and needed to be moved. That of course, would leave pocket marks that I wasn’t too thrilled about. I thought about it for a minute and had an idea so I asked him, “Would you want to bleach dye your overalls with me?” He said yes.

Decide Your Design Method!

My son wanted to use tape and make subtle designs on his overalls. He just got some masking tape and taped out some designs on the front and back. He even taped a poker chip on to one area. This is where you can really have a lot of fun using rocks and rubber bands or other items you have. Just make designs. The options are endless! He made sure to spray lightly with bleach the areas he taped so the tape could stay attached and leave a cool design.

I decided to just use the different settings on the spray bottle nozzle to be able to direct the bleach in different ways. That way I could hopefully blend out the pocket markings on the back side of my overalls where I had removed my pockets.

Watch the Magic Happen!

We watched our overalls closely because the process happens really fast. Once we were satisfied we sprayed them down with the hose on my sidewalk for about 5 minutes. Then we immediately put them in the washing machine with detergent and vinegar to make sure all the bleach was washed out.

The Results!!

The results were so Fun!! I reattached my back pockets in a more correct position. You can't even tell they were moved. The bleach did a great job of blending out the pocket marks.

Little Brother Wants in on The Fun!

My youngest son was super intrigued by the whole thing so we decided to let him try it too. He grabbed his newest pair of black shorts that I upcycled for him and came outside.

For the front he did some little twists on both front legs. Using the bleach/water mixture and spray bottle, he "misted" the twists and then used the "stream" to spray some "Tic-tac-Toe" lines above the twists. Then I flipped them over and he made some designs on the back. He really had some great ideas and it was fun to watch him work.

Let's See What Else We Can Bleach Dye!

Once he found out how fun it was to design things this way he decided he needed a whole ensemble! So he bleached dyed some shoes and a shirt to go with his shorts.

This kiddo was so excited to have a truly original, one of a kind outfit. And I'm glad I got to help make this happen for him. Creativity is amazing! Just look at these cool shoes!!

My kids love having the freedom to create things like this. I offer little to no input. I just like to see the things their brains come up with. Both of them were very excited about these outfits they designed.

They were contemplative and careful with all the the little details. I loved watching my boys each work out their own design details and come up with original ideas. I wouldn't hesitate to let them do this again

From the time they started this until they could wear it was about 2 hours. This was such a fun activity and I highly recommend you try it too. Thanks for Reading!!

Suggested materials:

  • Bleach
  • Spray Bottle
  • Water
See all materials

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Join the conversation

6 of 14 comments
  • Rosemary Rosemary on Jul 29, 2021

    Wow , great idea! One problem I don't have a backyard to do this. Can I substitute with something else?' Without the pallet.

    • See 2 previous
    • Koetiquemade Koetiquemade on Jul 30, 2021

      I have seen other do this in a bathtub on cooling racks.

  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 30, 2021

    Do you put something in between the layers to avoid the bleach going through to the other side? This is a must-do with my grandkids!

    • Koetiquemade Koetiquemade on Aug 04, 2021

      We didn't because it was over 110°F the day we did this. The bleach was evaporating really fast and not soaking through the shirt. Also the t-shirt was a thicker cotton so we didn't have any bleed through. But my sister in law does this and always puts a layer of cardboard or news paper in-between her shirt.