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March Madness Dye DIY : Show your spirit with a sweatshirt upgrade

March Madness Dye DIY : Show your spirit with a sweatshirt upgrade



College basketball is big in my family. I went to Syracuse, my husband is a (very proud) Florida Gator and my parents are both University of Miami alumni (I also happen to be a longtime Zags fan). So while I don’t follow much else in the sports world, I’ve been filling out brackets and screaming over buzzer beaters since I was a kid. For all of us NCAA fans, there is nothing quite like the excitement of college basketball during tournament time, making it the perfect opportunity to level up your team spirit with a little tie-dye project

Whether you have an old, stained sweatshirt (or tee or hoodie?) or just want to add a little something extra, bleach-dyeing (often called reverse-dye) is a super simple way to play with color, in this case by removing it.


A few quick tips:

  1. Don’t skip the gloves. Bleach is not easy to work with.
  2. Work outside if possible, or at least in a well-ventilated areas. Again, bleach.
  3. Don’t place bleach on soaking wet fabric, it will spread everywhere and you won’t get the best results.
  4. Be patient. Depending on the fabric, the color and the dye, bleach can lift to many different shades. From my experience, let the bleach sit for at least 15-30 minutes to see where it will go, but not much longer than 40-45 minutes or it will damage the fabric. If you want to test, do a small patch on the sleeve first.
  5. Some people will tell you to use a 50/50 blend of bleach and water, but I go more 70/30? Mix it into a squeeze bottle (you can get them on Amazon for cheap), it’s worth the time.
  6. Stick with plain old classic liquid bleach, not the gel variations that many brands now sell.
  7. A 100% cotton sweatshirt will most likely lift easier, but I’ve used 50/50 cotton and poly blends and had great results as well. Just be open to whatever shades will come through.


Here’s what you need:

  • Cotton sweatshirt, tee or hoodie (or at least 50% cotton)
  • Liquid bleach
  • Gloves
  • Mask (optional if you are sensitive to bleach odors)
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Rubber bands
  • Garden hose (or faucet)



  1. If you’re working with a new sweatshirt, wash it but don’t dry it. Take it directly from the washing machine and get to work while it’s still damp.
  2. If you’re using an old tee or sweatshirt soak it in water (fully submerge it to get the best results) and then wring out as much excess water as possible. If you’re lazy you can toss it in the washing machine and run a quick spin on it.
  3. Rubber band the fabric into whatever pattern you like. Bleach can be tough to work with so don’t get too invested in your pattern, it’s more about the overall look with this technique. Keep it simple and go with a spiral or just scrunch the fabric and rubber band it up. (I happen to think the more random the better when it comes to bleach dye?)
  4. Mix your solution of bleach and water. As I mentioned above, I go 70/30 bleach/water – or even 80/20 – but make sure it’s at least 50% bleach.
  5. Add your bleach to the fabric and let sit, checking on the lift at about 10-15 minutes. If it’s not quite where you want, give it another 15 and see where it goes.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with water leaving the bands on. Then, remove the bands and rinse some more.
  7. Wash, dry, wear and tag us @letsgetdye on Instagram to show off your March Madness spirit!


@letsgetdye March Madness Dye DIY : Show your spirit with a sweatshirt upgrade #marchmadness #reversedye #tutorial #tiedyetutorial #ncaatournament ♬ original sound - Live and Let Dye




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