dyeing with bleach

spirals pale orange and black design

Here’s another one of my dabblings– transforming an old garment using bleach, a simple household item to create an interesting surface design of fabric. So, why black? Though black is the absence of all colors, as a pigment it is often created using dark pigments in high enough concentrations so as to create the appearance of black. By breaking down the dye pigments by various amounts, the bleach will create many different tonalities in the fabric.  Depending on the dye pigments used, the chemical reaction of the bleach with the pigment can result in a color different than the original pigment. In this particular case the resulting hue was in the reddish-orange-yellow part of the spectrum. Another black dye might result in a blue or greenish hue. It is not obvious what you might get until you’ve actually done the bleaching.

Steps to follow: I prepared a mild solution of 1 part of bleach to 4 parts of water in a plastic bucket. Next, the garment were folded using the Shibori technique and bundled with strings to create an abstract design. Then the bundle was dipped into the bleach solution. There is no rule as to how long to leave the garment in the bleach solution. I checked mine after 15 minutes to see if it is less black or until most of the black has been discharged. When I am satisfied with the results, I removed the bundle and rinsed in water and then again into a solution or vinegar and water to neutralized the process, and to halt the bleaching. Note: do not get bleach into your eyes or clothing. Wear rubber gloves, eye protection and old clothes!

front view of t-back tee shirt

back view

*Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melinda Tai and Obovate Designs with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you for visiting, I welcome all your comments. ♥

“A smile is worth a thousand words, live happy, dye happier, sew happiest.”

This entry was posted in dyeing, repurpose clothing, shibori, wearable art and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to dyeing with bleach

  1. Susan says:

    Funny, never would have thought to do it ON PURPOSE 🙂 Usually it’s an OOPS! and then throw the whole thing into mild bleach and totally change the colour but now…..a different set of ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

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