Reverse Dyeing for Spooktober
Reverse dyeing is a fun twist on traditional tie-dyeing. The technique is similar, except that it uses a black shirt as the canvas. As we all know, black and orange are the colors of the spooky season and so this project is perfect for a Halloween look. Don’t be scared though! It’s easier than you think… just follow along as we lay out the steps below.
First, you’ll apply bleach to selective areas of a black shirt. These are the areas that will be dyed later on. Once you’re happy with the bleach, run the shirt through the wash.
Place the garment flat on a table or other covered surface. If you’re working outside, we suggest laying down something to cover the grass. We tried this out with both dry and moist t-shirts and both methods work.
Squeeze the dye to the areas that have been bleached. We used more dye than we would with a conventional tie dye pattern since we colored a larger area. Check the back of the garment from time to time to make sure the dye has absorbed through both layers, and apply more if necessary.
There may be some overlap between the black regions and the brightly colored dyed parts, despite the black borders separating them. If using two colors next to each other, choose hues that will blend nicely when combined. When you blend colors that are opposites on the color wheel (complementary colors), such as orange and blue, purple and yellow, or red and green, you’ll get brown! We recommend bright oranges and greens to capture the Halloween spirit!
Now we wait….
You’ll need to wait a bit once the dye is on your shirt. Wrap your shirt in plastic. Be careful not to allow parts of the shirt to come into contact with regions that have been dyed a different color.
Check your manufacturer’s instructions, although most dyes will need to rest for at least 4-6 hours. For the most bright colors, I recommend letting the shirt soak in the dye overnight.
You’ve been so patient! After letting your shirt sit for a while, remove from the plastic and unroll the shirt. Rinse your clothing with clean water to remove any remaining color. You’ll know it’s rinsed out when the water runs clean, or just slightly tinted.
To set the dye even further, put the wet clothes in the dryer on the highest setting.
Wash your reverse tie dyed t-shirts separately for the first time or two to ensure that any leftover color does not stain other items in the load.