How to Fix Messed Up and Faded Tie Dye

We’ve all been there. After carefully tie dyeing a shirt or other garment, waiting patiently for the dye to set, then taking the time to rinse and wash, the finished product does not look like you hoped it would. Or you have a few tie dye shirts that you love, but after a few washes, their color has faded. In either case, you might feel like the messed-up or faded shirt in question may be destined for the trash can. 

Beautiful blonde young woman wearing casual tie dye shirt shocked covering mouth with hands for mistake. secret concept.


If you are in this situation, we have some great news. 

While removing all of the dye and starting over with a blank slate is not possible, you can fix messed-up shirts using a process known as overdyeing. Also known as re-dyeing, this technique allows you to take an unattractive project or old garment and give it a fresh new look that is sure to turn heads for all of the right reasons. Though you may not be able to create the design you originally had in mind using this method, overdyeing allows you to create unique, one-of-a-kind patterns. Keep reading to learn how to fix messed-up tie dye! 

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What Is Overdyeing? 

Overdyeing is the process of applying dye to fabric that has been dyed previously. It is an excellent way to freshen up faded apparel and correct mistakes on tie dyed garments that did not turn out as desired. 

Gather the Supplies

You’ll only need a few basic supplies for this project: 

  • Messed up or faded tie dyed garment(s)
  • Bleach
  • Tie dye kit

If the garment you are overdyeing is pastel-colored, you can skip the bleach. Bleach is a must for re-dyeing darker clothes, though. 


Place the item in bleach and let soak. Check it every few minutes to see if it has reached the desired lightness. Because bleach damages fabrics, you shouldn’t soak the shirt for longer than 15 to 20 minutes. 

After bleaching, rinse the item thoroughly. Consider running it through your washing machine using a little bit of detergent to ensure that there is no remaining bleach in the fabric. 

Decide on a New Design

T-shirt painted in tie dye style isolated on a white background. FLat lay. The view from the top. Place for text.


Take a close look at the item you want to dye. What do you not like about it as it is now? Are there white spots that you missed when dyeing it the first time? Is the color no longer as vibrant as you would like? Did the pattern not turn out as you expected? Whatever the case may be, use what you don’t like to develop an idea of how to fix it. 

If you made a spiral tie dyed shirt but missed a few spots, you could add another spiral going the opposite direction to fill in the blanks and add aesthetic appeal. Or, if you love bright colors but the item has faded to soft pastel hues, you can go over the original design with fresh dye to brighten things up. 

Tie and Dye

Now it’s time for the fun stuff. With your plan in mind, carefully fold, twist, or crumple the item as needed. Then, secure it with string or rubber bands. Put on some disposable gloves, and prepare your dye. 

When you start applying dye to the fabric, be mindful of how colors mix. Blue dye added over pink will turn purple, and red mixed with yellow will make orange. Having a basic understanding of the color wheel and color theory will help immensely here. After all, you don’t want to go through all the work of overdyeing something just to have it turn out a gross brown color. 

After applying the dye, place the item in a plastic bag and set it aside overnight. The longer you let the dye set, the more vibrant the end result will be. Patience is essential when it comes to overdyeing! 

Remove the item from the bag, and rinse until the water runs clear. Then, wash using gentle laundry detergent and dry. 

Closing Thoughts

Handsome middle age man wearing casual tie dye tshirt smiling in love doing heart symbol shape with hands. romantic concept.


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Mastering the overdyeing process is a fantastic way to save your mess-ups and breathe new life into old, faded clothing and accessories. But despite your best efforts, some things just can’t be saved. When you need new tie dye supplies, we have you covered. Check out our full selection of bulk wholesale t-shirts and stylish wholesale hats today, and you’ll never have to worry about running out of blank apparel and accessories again.


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