THE TIE DYE PROJECT THAT WILL LEAVE YOUR SINK CLEAN!

In the past few years I have been drooling over the Japanese tie-dye or Shibori tutorials invading my blog feed. I very nearly jumped onto the bandwagon when I discovered that Cloth House was stocking Indigo cakes and giving instructions on how to use it. But then it dawned on me that I didn’t own a stainless steel sink, but a ceramic one. Like pretty much all my fellow Ladylanders I had fallen for the butler sink trend. Gasp! Surely I couldn’t risk ruining my brilliant white sink for the art of Shibori? What a step back… But the hippie in me just wouldn’t give up. I decided to give bleach tie-dye a try instead. It is nowhere near as beautiful as Shibori, but it is a lot of fun nonetheless and my sink was sparkling afterwards! 

On my first try, I lay down my tools and put the radio on, and no joke, Let The Sun Shine In from Hair came on: surely it was a sign I was on the right path? Beware of the bleaching addiction! I ended up bleaching far more items than needed to. It is also a not-very-eco-friendly process, so I have restrained myself from further bleach-dye projects for a while. But not before making my girl and I matching leggings! Because twinning is a thing, apparently!

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Cotton garments: leggings, T shirts, onesies etc… they don’t need to be 100% cotton, but the higher content the better.

Pure thin bleach

Some rubber bands

A piece of net curtain

A small spray bottle

A stainless steel bowl, or a bucket

You should also get protection for your work table: I used a recycling bag

Gloves to protect your hands

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elastic-tie-dye

For the leggings:

1. Tie rubber bands along the length of the leggings, at regular intervals – I spaced mine roughly every 1.5cm.

2. Place the garment in a bowl or bucket, and drench in bleach. Don’t dilute the bleach, I have tried and it’s not effective. You don’t need the garment to be immersed in bleach, instead just give it a good rub to make sure it’s saturated with it.

Tie-dye-rising

3. Leave for a few minutes. I left mine for about 5 mins. The longer you leave it, the lighter the print. But beware: the bleach will continue its lightening effect while you rinse your garment, the dye will just wash away.

4. Start rinsing under a running tap.

legging-design-reveal

5. Cut the rubber bands to reveal the design! You should continue rinsing until the bleach is all gone. I gave my garment a short wash in the washing machine afterwards, to make sure there wasn’t any remaining bleaching agent.

Now another fun way of bleaching garment is to use lace, or in this case net curtain to stencil a lacey pattern.

Lace-tie-dye

1. Fill a spray bottle with pure thin bleach.

2. Lay your garment on the table – don’t forget to protect it with a recycling bag – and overlay with the net curtain.

3. Spray the bleach all over, being careful not to move the curtain.

4. Leave for a few minutes, around 5 minutes should do the trick.

lace-reveal

5. Carefully remove the net curtain to reveal the lace design.

6. Rinse thoroughly – give it a run in the washing machine to be sure!

A few notes on bleaching: It can be quite an unpredictable process, especially regarding colours. I found that grey marle didn’t bleach well. Black items became orange, navy went brown, anthracite grey went khaki green. Bright pink became light pink. Bleach is a very strong chemical so rinsing well is very important, otherwise you risk making holes in the fabric. The fumes are also quite nasty so work in a well-ventilated area. But look at the result!

legging florence

Photography: Dee Ramadan
Step-by-step photography: Clementine Larvor

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