DIY Tie Dye Denim

Whether it be shibori or with bleach, warm weather brings out our utmost desire for tie dying – especially when it comes to bleaching as working outdoors for this project is a necessity. Inspired by Isabel Marant‘s tie dyed sweatshirtsshirts and jeans, we grabbed our favorite denim shirt and a bottle of Clorox for one of our favorite summertime projects.

You’ll need:

  • a denim shirt
  • bleach
  • rubber bands
  • rubber gloves
  • plastic container

If the shirt hasn’t already been pre-washed, run it through the washing machine first. Start binding the sleeves first. There is no right or wrong way to do this but try to keep it somewhat in an accordion-like fold so the exposed areas stay consistent.

After the sleeves are tied, crumple the body of the shirt. Bundle and reinforce with extra rubber bands.

Pour 3 quarts of bleach and 3 quarts of water into a plastic container. Using rubber or plastic gloves, place the shirt into the bleach mixture.

Let the shirt sit for approximately 15-20 minutes. If the shirt isn’t completely submerged, give it about 15 minutes on each side. Watch it carefully after the first 15 minutes – as soon as the color starts to lighten, remove it from the bleach. Snip off the rubber bands and rinse thoroughly with water.

Throw it in the dyer and your denim tie dye shirt is ready to wear!

(Paige Paloma Leggings $299, Madewell Denim Shirt $78; all images by HonestlyWTF)

Leave a Comment

136 Comments

  1. czarina wrote:

    I LOVE IT. So creative!! I want tomake this too <3

    6.5.12
    Reply
  2. That does look pretty awesome.
    Thanks for the idea guys!!

    xoxo
    ~Natasha Fatah~
    ~Natasha Fatah~

    6.5.12
    Reply
  3. Tabetha wrote:

    Ha! I used to do this when I was in high school {I had tie-dyed overalls & a denim jacket too}. Love that its coming back!

    http://aclosetintellectual.blogspot.com/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  4. Meagan wrote:

    love love love this! great idea!! so cute on you!
    xoxo Meagan
    caseofcouture.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  5. It turned out amazing, great job! 🙂

    xoxo
    Fashion Agony blog

    6.5.12
    Reply
  6. I remeber how I did such stuff when I was younger, man that was fun.

    Nice idea how you use that old method to make such a modern piece of clothing.

    Three Angles

    6.5.12
    Reply
  7. want! must trye this one something

    6.5.12
    Reply
  8. I have to try this with a denim dress I recently got! Thanks!!!

    Pssst: Check out my giveaway

    xoxo
    http://touchkajal.blogspot.ch/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  9. What a cool tutorial and shirt, Nice Way to upcycle the denim. Have a wonderful Day!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  10. Georgina wrote:

    This looks amazing, I want to try this so badly!! xx

    6.5.12
    Reply
  11. Love it, beautiful!

    http://aurelieandangelo.com/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  12. amanda wrote:

    WIF Great Idea!! Totally brings me back to grade school…love it!
    xox
    amanda

    http://www.lovenycstyle.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  13. Erica wrote:

    I love it! It looks like the sun is hitting you through the trees with patches of light. So pretty!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  14. Tanya wrote:

    This bleached denim look is really trending right now, looks really summery

    6.5.12
    Reply
  15. When I first saw this post I thought those were shadows! Love this.

    Collections

    6.5.12
    Reply
  16. Hanna wrote:

    love it!! 🙂

    xo, Hanna
    http://whoishanna.blogspot.fi/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  17. Cassandra wrote:

    GOnna give this a try!

    backtofive.blogspot.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  18. Nomadic D wrote:

    Genius. Of course, bleach the denim, how did I not think of this before? On the other hand, bleaching my favorite denim shirt sounds scary, I think I’m going to have to go shopping for a new one and bleach that. Maybe chambray would work too…

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  19. Andrea wrote:

    The shirt turned out great!! At first I thought you where standing in the shade of some tree and the sun was creating this pattern!! looks amazing! 🙂
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

    6.5.12
    Reply
  20. style-xyz wrote:

    the effect of this DIY is cool! definitely have to try this 🙂
    http://style-xyz.blogspot.com/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  21. iLaktionova wrote:

    The post is awesome!

    ilaktionova.blogspot.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  22. Love that. Totally fun!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  23. Kate wrote:

    VERY cool. Looks badass.

    Kate

    http://www.thrillofthechaise.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  24. Karla V wrote:

    I loved this DIY!

    look my new DIY “Neon Rope Necklace”: http://detrasdellabial.blogspot.com.es/2012/06/diy-neon-rope-necklace.html

    xoxo

    6.5.12
    Reply
  25. I love this – looks awesome! xo

    6.5.12
    Reply
  26. Votre Amie wrote:

    Such a cool DIY – Definitely trying this!
    x
    http://www.iloveublank.blogspot.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  27. This turned out beautifully! And I am definitely feeling you, hard not to want to bleach (and also to distress, in my case) this summer!

    Paola

    http://www.ThePvdHJournal.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  28. I recently posted about my love for tie dying with bleach! Love your post and love that we love similar things!

    Liz@ http://www.thelvibe.blogspot.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  29. Great DIY post as always! The process of it looks fun to try. xoxo
    http://www.hellohellofriday.com/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  30. Caroline wrote:

    it seems like this trend has been in style forever, but i still love it!
    xxx
    http://www.anabstractnoun.blogspot.com/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  31. came out great!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  32. This is brilliant! not I have something to do this weekend!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  33. Marina wrote:

    So beautiful!

    xx
    biskvittka.blogspot.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  34. Alison wrote:

    I love it! It really turned out amazing. I think I have a pair of shorts I will test this on 🙂

    http://www.stylingmylife.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  35. Amy wrote:

    I’m becoming such a huge fan of tie dye, but I don’t know if I can part with my perfect chambray shirt!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  36. Great idea! we love this!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  37. Floortje wrote:

    Great DIY!

    XO

    6.5.12
    Reply
  38. Stefania wrote:

    awesome!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  39. It came out really well! I love the shibori DIY! – Aliya:)
    http://marantphiles.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  40. Stefania B wrote:

    absolutely great!
    http://www.rollolollo.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  41. Alice wrote:

    Great idea! I’m so bored of my denim shirt

    p.s. HAPPY JUBILEE!!!

    Please take a look at my fashion illustrations and art at:

    http://aliceauxpaysenchantes.blogspot.co.uk/

    6.5.12
    Reply
  42. tanya wrote:

    This turned out awesome! Looks great

    6.5.12
    Reply
  43. QQ wrote:

    FYI– the bleach will continue to eat away at the fabric if you do not neutralize the bleach when you are “done”. A simple way to neutralize the bleach at home is pour Hydrogen Peroxide over the entire affected area. Swirl it around, make sure it has covered and penetrated all bleach areas well. Then wash and dry the shirt regularly. Preferably alone at first so any stray bleach does not ruin anything else. If you don’t neutralize the bleach, sooner than later you will have huge holes in you shirt from where it has eaten the fibers. Not to mention, you also don’t want the residue of bleach rubbing against your skin for prolonged periods of time. Always wear gloves and cover your mouth and nose with a bandanna or mask, the bleach is toxic to breathe in and absorb through your skin!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  44. january wrote:

    i keep telling myself, i must try tie dye… and i’ve yet to do it! thanks for reminding me yet again!
    january, x
    jessicajanuary.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  45. Jessie wrote:

    Awesome Idea!
    Great Job!

    6.5.12
    Reply
  46. Jessie wrote:

    Awesome Idea!
    Thanks for sharing!
    smtownsnsd.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  47. Jaeger wrote:

    Awesome! I want to do this to a pair of jeans

    http://youngandimpressionablee.blogspot.com.au/

    xx

    6.5.12
    Reply
  48. sahra wrote:

    wow this is perfect! And I’m SO into bleaching things these days, can’t wait to try this out!

    XO Sahra
    EffortlessCool

    6.5.12
    Reply
  49. amy wrote:

    this is so neat-o! I cant wait to try it!

    ~Amy
    http://www.LadyMockingbird.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  50. I love this tutorial! Wonderful idea!

    Kate {Something Fabulous}
    http://thesomethingfabulous.blogspot.com

    6.5.12
    Reply
  51. Jenna wrote:

    Pretty! I am making a DIY bleached ombre denim shorts, post coming up soon at http://www.bargainblabber.blogpspot.com 🙂

    6.6.12
    Reply
  52. Chelsea wrote:

    this is cool, i think im going to try it

    6.6.12
    Reply
  53. maria wrote:

    NICE OUTFITTTT 😉
    VISIT http://www.trendactually.blogspot.com
    thank you
    xxxx

    6.6.12
    Reply
  54. littlelulu wrote:

    I think of “tie dye” for a long time by now… This is a very nice outcome!!

    http://lovelittlelulu.blogspot.com/

    6.6.12
    Reply
  55. jolene wrote:

    worked out well, looks like the sun is shining through trees on the denim shirt

    6.6.12
    Reply
  56. M. wrote:

    Wow! Love it!

    6.6.12
    Reply
  57. You have been great! I love the result! My DIY this week is a jacket inspired by one of Giambattista Valli. I leave the link and I hope you like! http://www.desdetenerifeconamor.com/2012/06/diy-giambattista-valli-jacket.html

    6.6.12
    Reply
  58. Tobi wrote:

    Great! Loving this – would surely try it out too!

    6.6.12
    Reply
  59. Love this shirt looks great!

    6.6.12
    Reply
  60. Güler wrote:

    great idea:))

    my DIYs —–> http://gkdone.blogspot.com/

    6.6.12
    Reply
  61. Carol wrote:

    I loved it !!!!
    Take a look on my blog, I’m posting looks, windows and tips from Los Angeles :

    http://www.thegavlaks.com

    6.6.12
    Reply
  62. Patriss wrote:

    Awesome!! I LOVE IT!!

    6.6.12
    Reply
  63. This is gorgeous! Great job! I will be sharing this info. @chidenim

    6.7.12
    Reply
  64. abby wrote:

    So cool! I love how it looks like you’re standing in dappled sunlight.

    6.8.12
    Reply
  65. Sæunn Rut wrote:

    Love this! You always have such great DIYs!

    6.9.12
    Reply
  66. Alex wrote:

    looks so good! it almost looks like the trees are casting shadows on it

    6.11.12
    Reply
  67. thanks for inspiration <3

    6.11.12
    Reply
  68. kary wrote:

    mine doesn’t seem to be changing in the bleach/water… any tips?

    6.13.12
    Reply
  69. Ruta wrote:

    I dyed my denim shirts. It turned out amazing but now they stink very much 😀

    6.17.12
    Reply
  70. Natalia wrote:

    Alwaysss inspired by these projects!! Check out my DIY: Dip Dye shorts on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/zuuzstyle?feature=mhee
    SUBSCRIBE 🙂

    6.17.12
    Reply
  71. zar zarhay wrote:

    this is like totally hawt! ur gorg! show us them butts

    6.18.12
    Reply
  72. Catie wrote:

    I did this, & I left in the bleach a little too long, so its like super bleached w/ slight blue denim spots, but I think it looks even better!! Oh, & does anyone know how to get the bleach smell out of it? Thanks! 🙂

    6.21.12
    Reply
  73. shobert wrote:

    Me encanta la mpdelo hasta el punto que si no la veo

    6.24.12
    Reply
  74. Güler wrote:

    perfect!

    my DIYs ————> gkdone.blogspot.com

    7.2.12
    Reply
  75. Kate wrote:

    Super idea:))

    7.19.12
    Reply
  76. Amber wrote:

    Omg thats so freking awsome !

    7.24.12
    Reply
  77. natasha wrote:

    I thought they were shadows as well, i liked the original shirt, not sure about tie dye

    8.15.12
    Reply
  78. Ter wrote:

    Just FYI to people wanting to work with bleach: bleach will not stop working on your fabric just because you washed it out. It continues to slowly affect your fabric unless you use some sort of chemical to neutralize it chemically. Anti-Chlor is probably cheapest if you are using it often but there are alternatives. For more information: http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/FAQ/neutralizingdischarge.shtml

    11.12.12
    Reply
  79. Mert Akman wrote:

    Beautyfull

    2.12.13
    Reply
  80. Mert Akman wrote:
    2.12.13
    Reply
  81. Alex wrote:

    I wish my mother gaved me permission to do that its awesome
    =(

    4.3.13
    Reply
  82. Carelia wrote:

    Fabulous tutorial!!! I hope you don’t mind that shared this link in my recent post. I thing is the clearest tutorial to show my few readers.

    Mysmallwardrobe.com

    6.25.13
    Reply
  83. katez wrote:

    Looks like some kinda acid wash to me…not really tie dye…the blue needs to be lighter and the patterns need to look more like tie dye design versus splotches imo…tweaked and this could be on fleek X-)

    8.13.17
    Reply