More techniques

Alternative techniques

Explore different ways to fold and dye your projects.

On this page we will taking a larger approach on the subject of tie-dyeing.

This means talking about techniques relating to the dyeing of clothes. These techniques do no quite fit under the umbrella of tie-dye.

You will discover news ways of dyeing and new materials to dye.

Our journey starts with a group of methods called the shibori dyeing techniques. Shibori is a precursor to the modern tie-dye. Understanding it will give you new hints about the history of hand dyeing at large.

Table of Contents


Reverse tie-dye

Also called bleach dyeing, it involves removing existing color on a cloth.
The bleached spots can be left as they are or they can be dyed for an interesting effect.

Tie dye with bleach is a delicate activity and should be done with a responsible person. 


Sodium hypochlorite is a strong oxidizing agent in liquid form which is the active ingredient in bleach. Strongly basic, this chemical compound is a disinfectant and can be used to whiten fabrics.

Bleach can be harmful to your body. It is possible to have an allergic reaction on your skin which can lead to burns. It can cause permanent damage to the nerves and tissue in your eyes

If you get bleach on your body, go cleanse the area as fast as possible in your sink or in a shower if needed. Also try to avoid breathing bleach because of the strong chlorine scent release that can harm your lungs.

Always remember to:

Read instructions on the labels of bleach container.

Wear gloves and protective clothing. Do not touch your face while using bleach.

Be aware to work with bleach only for a short period of time and in a ventilated space.

How to reverse tie-dye 

Generally using black garment, versing bleach over it will irreversibly lift colors away with a process of oxidation. 

Dyeing a black cloth is a longer process than dyeing a white cloth. In fact, after the bleach steps you can choose not to dye the cloth. In that case you will get the result faster, but an uncoloured result.

If you want to dye a specific design on a specific folding technique, you will have to fold twice you fabric. To go simple, you also can roughly crumple it.


Start at your work surface by folding your dry cloth and adding bond if needed. Use the folding techique that you will be using for your tie-dye pattern.

The goal is to target and determine what you don’t want to be black. 

A good trick is to film yourself so you can replicate the same fold.

2. Bleaching

For this step, you could use help of a funnel or a squirt bottle.

Time to carry the fabric to the bleaching station. It can be on a rack placed in a sink or even in a bathtub. Don’t do it in something you would further eat in.

The chemical reaction takes no more than a few minutes to operate. 

From two to ten minutes is enough for the bleaching agent to seep into your cloth. After that the bleach may start damaging the fibers of the cloth

If you aren’t still wearing gloves, now is time to put them on.

With the help of a funnel, pour bleach in a smaller container such a squirt bottle. You can dilute the bleach by half with water and it will still work. Or you can pour directly onto the fabric with the bleach container.

Again, be careful. Bleach is corrosive, wich means it can harm your skin and eyes.

Depending of the design desired, carefully pour bleach on the whole cloth or parts of it that you want to dye. Optionally flip the shirt and repeat.

Withing 5 minutes you should see the cloth becoming reddish or orange.

3. Rinse the shirt

Now that a court delay has passed, heavily rinse the fabric or put it in the washing machine.

Rinse it for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Open up the shirt a bit while rinsing to run out the more bleach agent you can.

In the washing machine we recommend a full wash including the rinse cycle. So far it may require another quick rinse in the sink.

If you’re not going to dye your shirt, rinsing it a couple of minute is a good start. Then you can go for the washing machine with some detergent.

You can now keep and wear your reverse tiedye or jump to the soaking step.

From now ahead, you will be able to follow the usual process to tie-dye a shirt.


Shibori is a group of techniques of resist-dyeing. You can think of it as an ancestor to the modern tie-dye.

Multiple shibori techniques exist and they all involve the use of thread to isolate many small repeated lines on the fabric to create captivating designs that are both intricate and detailed.

The earliest examples of shibori textiles date back to the 8th century. While tie-dye tends to use the entire rainbow color spectrum, more often the shibori dye is only one color. There are six standard shibori techniques.    

Shibori techniques

 –Kumo Shibori is the most imaginative technique. The process uses various objects to create a pattern. It is used to tie the fabric around these items which are used as the resist to create unique designs

Miura Shibori uses the processes of looping and binding to create patterns. It involves to take sections of the fabric with a hooked needle, looping the thread around each section and to keep the thread untied to achieve a wavey look to the pattern.

Kanoko Shibori is the style that most closely resembles tie-dye. In the past, practitioners were using threads to tie parts of the fabric. Nowaday they mostly use elastic to define sections of the fabric.

Arashi Shibori, also known as pole-wrapping shibori, is a technique that requires a stiff pole to twist and bind your fabric around it. The result is typically a diagonal style pattern that can almost look like the veins of a leaf, or even storm driven rain.

Nui Shibori is a very detailed technique. In here we are using hand stitching skills to create resist like with Miura Shibori, but in this case the thread is removed after the dyeing. We can use this technique to create any patterns or images

Itajime Shibori is a technique that you’ll use at least two objects. For the exemple let’s say we take two square of wood, we then fold the cloth and clamp it between the squares. Parts of the fabric that are clamped will remain undyed after the dyeing so you get incredible repeated squares or any other form you’ll be using.