Ruined? Maybe… Upcycle? Yes!

Jo in here ruined navy blue sweaterOh my goodness… This sweater is ruined!

Has this ever happened to you? One day, you wear your favorite, go-to sweater to work. You look polished and professional. Unfortunately, someone cleaned the conference room table with a bleach cleaner right before you sit down for meeting and a line of bleach ruins your fabulous navy blue sweater… oh dear!

closeup of bleach stain

What do you do when your favorite sweater is inadvertently bleached in an odd way? Well, bleach it some more of course!

It’s ruined already so, why not!?

The only caveat? Do not set expectations!

Take this navy blue sweater with the bleach stain for example. You might expect it to bleach into a nice pale blue, maybe a purple or pink tone… but NOOOO…

More on that later…

rubber band stripes bleach tie dye upcycle sweater Impact Thrift StoreLet’s get started… you’ll need to gather 1 item of clothing (with or without bleach stains), 4 cups of household laundry bleach & 1 cup of water (mix bleach to water in a 4 to 1 ratio… ), a large container or stock pot, rubber bands, rubber gloves, an apron, and a wooden spoon or tongs.

First, lay your garment out on a table top and tightly wrap it with rubber bands. Create rows by wrapping around the entire garment or create circles by selecting one area and wrapping with that handful of fabric. We chose rows.

place upcycle tie dye garment in bleach mixtureNext, put on an apron or old clothing to protect yourself from splashing.  Mix bleach and water in your large container or stock pot. Dip your rubberband wrapped clothing in the bleach mixture for only a few seconds. Mix and turn your garment in the bleach mixture to be sure both sides are wet.

When you see the color begin to change, remove your project from the bleach. The color will change quickly – in under a minute or two so be prepared.  Immediately, rinse well with cool water. Carefully remove each rubberband and continue rinsing with cool water.begin to rinse bleach from upcycle garment as soon as color begins to change

Launder your item of clothing separately, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it has been washed, it is safe to launder with other items of clothing.

Impact Thrift Store free bleach tie dye tutorial

Voila! Bleach turned our wonderful navy blue into rust and orange!  AND on top of that, the areas covered by rubber bands, which you’d expect to hold onto at least some of the dark color, are the lightest areas! Very strange but wonderful!

Tie dye is just one option when it comes to bleach upcycle dying techniques. Consider creating an ombre effect by dipping the bottom (or top) edge of your garment in the bleach mixture and letting the bleach remove color as it soaks up your garment.  Or dribble bleach onto your garment using a spoon or splash method. The possibilities are endless!

Click here for a printable version of this tie dye tutorial.


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Heaven’s Treasures was organized in December of 2016 with a mission of operating a chain of retail stores that will allow second chance employment, financially support charities and give affordable shopping experiences to the greater community while keeping with its corporate purpose, to glorify God throughout the community and world in which we live and work. In February 2017, they acquired Impact Thrift Stores Hatboro and Bristol locations. On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Impact Thrift Stores in Feasterville, Montgomeryville and Norristown will also become Heaven’s Treasures Thrift and Value Stores!
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