Today, I’m showing you how to make a fun reverse-tie dye shirt. The great thing about this DIY project is that it requires just a few inexpensive supplies, most of which you probably have on hand. These shirts look great on their own or you can add any design you want. Since school is almost out, I decided to make a fun shirt for the last day! Read on for the full tutorial!
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The first thing you’ll need to do is get the free SVG file you’ll use for this project.  I keep all the SVG files I use for the projects I make in my SVG Library.  These SVG files work with Cricut and Silhouette machines, as well as many others.  This library is open to everyone and is free!  You can access the library here. Look for the file called Peace Love Summer Break BA1530. It will be listed under the School/Teacher category.


Open the design in your software program and resize it so it fits on your t-shirt. I used a girl’s size 7-8 shirt and resized my design to 7″ across.

Since we are using heat transfer vinyl, you’ll need to mirror the design before you send it to your machine to cut.

When everything is ready to cut,  load the heat transfer vinyl onto your cutting mat with the shiny side facing down. Then, cut out the design.  When everything is finished cutting, remove the vinyl from your cutting mat and trim off any unused vinyl.

Weed away the excess vinyl from around the design. Start in the corner and use a weeding tool to separate the vinyl from the clear carrier sheet. Keep pulling up on the vinyl until you’ve removed all the excess from around your design.

Use the weeding tool to help remove the excess vinyl from inside the letters and shapes.

Once you’ve removed all the excess vinyl, you can flip over your design to see what it will look like.


Now that our vinyl is ready to go, lets go work on the t-shirt.

There are a lot of different folding techniques you can use to create unique designs and patterns in your bleach-dyed items.

For this project, I wanted a swirly Tie-Dye Spiral look.

To get this look, lay your shirt flat. Then, pinch a small amount of fabric in the center of the shirt, and twist it around until all the fabric is in a tight spiral.

Try to keep the shirt as flat as possible so the bleach can reach each part of the shirt.

Secure it with 3-4 rubber bands.

Criss-cross the rubber bands across the middle point so that it creates 6-8 wedge shapes.

Create a protected surface for your reverse tie-dye. You can set a rack on top of a tray or you can bleach on the grass. It’s best to do this outside. If you can’t, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area.

Fill a spray or squeeze bottle with equal parts bleach and water.

Spray the bleach solution onto the exposed fabric of your garment. The more you spray the lighter the exposed areas will get.

After you apply the bleach, you will need to let it sit for a while, about 5-20 minutes. The amount of time the shirt needs to soak in the bleach solution will vary based on the type of fabric it’s made of.

Once you have achieved the shade of color that you like, cut off the rubber bands.

Untwist the shirt to see your tie-dye pattern.

Rinse the shirt right away to stop the bleaching process. Then, you’ll want to wash and dry your shirt. It’s best to wash it separately, so it doesn’t bleach anything else.

Now we have a super cool shirt to apply our design to.


Start by folding the t-shirt in half and pressing with an iron or heat press to form a crease down the middle.

Grab the design and fold it in half and make a crease down the middle of the clear carrier sheet.

Match up the crease on the carrier sheet with the crease on the shirt. Now your design should be centered. I like to position my designs 2-3 inches below the neckline of the shirt.

Next, we need to add heat and pressure. You can use an iron, heat press, or Easy Press. If you’re using an iron, turn it to the cotton setting and make sure the steam is turned off. If you’re using a heat press or easy press, set the temp according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use your heat source to apply pressure to each part of the design. You’ll want to press each section of your design for about 15 seconds. You can place a Teflon sheet, towel, or even a piece of copy paper over the design before you iron.

Once you’ve applied even pressure to the entire design, you can carefully remove the carrier sheet.

After you’ve removed the carrier sheet you can flip your project inside out and apply more heat and pressure from the backside.

And that’s it, now you have a super cool t-shirt for summer break!

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Want to make your own? Get the free cut file for this project in the resource library



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