No doubt, when you were in grade school (or high-school for that matter) tie-dye was a popular mode of self-expression—the swirling patterns, the psychedelic funkiness of it all, you were too hip to be square. While the tie-dye craze has come and gone (seen a bit in the 90’s, and then again when the 90’s had a resurgence in the new millennium), these days dip-dyeing and gradient dyeing is the new way to flaunt your carefree spirit.

If you’re no modern day Martha, a flannel shirt is the easiest place to start, all you need is a flannel and some bleach, any brand will do. Plus the temps are still nippy, so a flannel comes in handy.  Your local second-hand store will have section devoted to these grungy duds. Grab a few and head home.

Remember the splotch that ruined your favorite sweater while trying to get your whites whiter? We’ve all had mishaps with bleach. Make sure you aren’t wearing any item you’re particularly attached to and you’re ready to begin.

Begin by dampening the flannel in a basin of water, making sure the material is thoroughly submerged.  Wring out the flannel so it is damp, not dripping.

Drain the basin and fill with standard bleach.

Holding the flannel by the shoulders, dip the fabric into the bleach. You choose the edge—for example half of the shirt—based on how high you want the bleach to take effect.

Be patient. The dye will leave the shirt gradually, and you can gauge when to pull it from the basin.

When you’re done, drain the basin again, and fully rinse and wring your garment in cool water.

Hang dry the flannel.

You can choose to repeat the process if you want a more vivid contrast. The asymmetrical lines created by hand-dipping are just a part of the garments charm. No one hand-dipped flannel will be the same.

–Arianna Schioldager

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