3 Colorful Reverse Tie-Dye Patterns You Can Try Out at Home

The DIY Designer
by The DIY Designer
8 Materials
2 Hours

OK, who hasn’t seen the reverse tie-dye trend and wanted to try it out? If you’re like me, you hit the Internet to try to learn how to create those cool reverse tie-dye patterns.

Let me tell you, though, there are tons of tutorials out there that just make no sense! So I’ve compiled an easy tutorial for you involving three different awesome bleach and tie-dye techniques.

As long as you follow my instructions, you’ll wind up with some truly beautiful creations!

Tools and materials:

  • Shirts
  • Sweatshirt
  • Liquid bleach
  • Dish gloves
  • Rubber bands
  • Bin
  • Powder dye
  • Squeeze bottles

Reverse tie-dye patterned t-shirt

Tie-dye powders

1. Prepare your dyes

Using dye powder, follow the instructions to make the dyes. You can use all the colors, or mix them to create your own colors.

You can also play with the color saturation. If you want to go for more of a pastel look, use half the amount of dye.

Creating the spiral

2. Create your spiral

Before you start, you’re going to wash your shirt. It should still be damp when you start working with it. This will help the bleach coat the shirt evenly.

I’ve actually found that it works best to spiral your shirt when the graphic is facing down. So if you’re using a shirt with a graphic, lay it face-down on your work surface.

Now you’re going to pinch the shirt and spiral it around the pinch, using your other hand to press it down as you go.

How to reverse tie-dye

3. Add rubber bands

Once your shirt is all spiraled up, it’s time to add some rubber bands. I recommend just pizza pie-ing it, using two rubber bands for each section. 

Reverse tie-dye bleach

4. Dip it in bleach

Okay, this is important: you don’t need a lot of bleach! Seriously, just a splash will do. So pour it into your bin, and then press the shirt down into the bleach on both sides. If you see spots on the shirt that the bleach missed, just put some bleach on your hands and cover those spots.

Washing the t-shirt

5. Wash the shirt

All right, here’s where you learn from my mistakes. Before moving on to the dye, you have to wash the shirt first.

I decided to just kind of rinse it off in the sink to make the process go faster, but it wasn’t the right move because I didn’t manage to get all the bleach off, which really affected the dyeing part of the project.

So at this point, I recommend throwing into your washing machine before proceeding.

Reverse tie-dye with bleach and color

6. Dye the shirt

Time for the fun part! Grab your dyes and have at it. I went for a rainbow kind of look here, but I noticed the residual bleach on my shirt eating away at a lot of the color.

When I opened the shirt up I noticed it was just way too faded. I had to scrunch it back up and re-dye it. So if you find that you’re not satisfied with your colors, that’s always an option, but I do think that if you wash the shirt properly from the bleach, you won’t have that issue.

Cleaning the graphic on the t-shirt

7. Clean the graphic

If your shirt has a graphic, now is the time to wipe away any dye from it. You’ll notice that not much will have gotten onto the graphic, because the material will repel most of it, but some will.

If you let it sit, it’ll seep in, and you don’t want that. So grab a wet towel and quickly wipe off any dye that got onto it.

How to reverse tie-dye a shirt with a graphic

8. Buff the colors

Here’s where the dry powder of the powder dye comes in. Using a dry paintbrush and dry powder, buff some in wherever the colors aren’t to your satisfaction.

For me, I felt that the greens and pinks were just too bright, so I added in some yellow powder and that muted some of the green, turned some of the pink to orange, and added some yellow into the shirt as well. 

Galaxy tie-dye

Galaxy tie-dye technique

1. Scrunch up the shirt

All right, on to the galaxy tie-dye technique! For this one, you’re just going to scrunch up your shirt and randomly place your rubber bands around it.

I actually chose to do the tie-dye only on the top half of my shirt, so you can do that or the whole shirt according to your preference. 

How to use bleach to tie-dye

2. Add the bleach

Much like before, you’re now going to dip the shirt into the bleach. You can use the same bleach that’s already in your bin from last time! Really rub your shirt into it. I, again, only did the top, but anywhere you put your rubber bands should be touching the bleach.

Then put it in the washing machine. I did this one at the same time I did the other one, so I hadn’t yet learned my lesson about the washing. You’ll see that as a result, the colors turned out a lot lighter than I would have chosen. 

How to reverse tie-dye a shirt

3. Pour the dye

For this one, you’re going to remove the rubber bands before adding the dye. Open up your shirt, then take your dye and pour different colors in different sections.

Be mindful of the way colors mix and that if you overlap colors you’ll end up with a different color. Use or avoid this according to how you want it to look. 

Reverse tie-dye sweatshirt

Tie-dye sweatshirt

1. Spiral your sweatshirt

Things are a bit different for this one, so pay attention! The first thing you need to know is that for this technique you have to use a sweatshirt, and your sweatshirt needs to be completely, totally, 100%, can’t think of more synonyms, dry.

So spiral your sweatshirt and place your rubber bands. You’ll notice that, because your sweatshirt is dry, it might be a bit of a struggle to keep the sweatshirt in its spiral as you put your rubber bands on. So straddle it and do whatever you’ve gotta do to get those bands on.

Bleach dyed sweatshirt

2. Dip it in bleach

Using a splash of bleach, take your sweatshirt and dip it in. This time, though, you’re going to let the bleach drain for at least 30 seconds before you turn it over.

After it’s drained, turn it over and check if there are spots the bleach missed. If so, don’t dunk it back in, but use your finger to add bleach where necessary.

Let it dry for a good ten minutes, then repeat the process with the other side of the sweatshirt.

Beach dunked sweatshirt

3. Dye the bleached parts

After you wash your sweatshirt, (yep, I learned my lesson this time) lay it flat on your work surface. Then take your dye and squeeze it out directly onto the white lines created by the bleach.

I went for an ombre look, so I did teal in the middle, then faded it into dark blue, and ended with purple. It’s “what you see is what you get” with this, so wherever you want color is where you’re going to put the color. 

Logo shirt with bleach dye

Unique bleach dyed sweatshirt

Galaxy tie-dye technique with bleach

Sweatshirt dyed with bleach and powder

Reverse tie-dye patterns

That’s it, you guys! These are all so fun and easy to make and such a great way to express your personality! Don’t forget to let them all dry for at least 24 hours when you’re done, but after that, get ready to rock your awesome new tie-dye clothing.

I have to know which of these is your favorite, so let me know in the comments, and be sure to share pictures of your dyed clothes as well.

Suggested materials:
  • Shirts
  • Sweatshirt
  • Liquid bleach
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments
  • Blue Blue on Apr 08, 2021

    Yes, will definitely try this! THANK YOU for the tutorials!

  • Brittney Brittney on Jun 19, 2022

    I’m loving all of your creative shirts! I just did my first Tie Dye on Shirts for my company and they aren’t my fave. What line of color do you suggest at a cheaper cost? Also in doing the powder color do I have to use the same brand? Thank you