How to Color Dye Jeans
Your basic blue jeans have been a wardrobe staple for decades, and they're not going out of style anytime soon. If you're looking for a pop of color or an update, make DIY-colored jeans your next fashion project. Start with white jeans or bleach the color out of your blues to ensure even, saturated dyeing that's true to the color on the package. Pick a color that complements the shirts in your wardrobe and rock your custom-dyed jeans all season long.
- 5-gallon bucket
- Rubber gloves
- Tongs or wooden dowel
- 4 cups bleach, as need for blue jeans
- Powder fabric dye
- Sink or tub
- Mild clothing detergent
1 Bleach Your Jeans
2 Fill a 5-gallon bucket halfway with hot water
Fill a 5-gallon bucket halfway with hot water. Put on rubber gloves, then add the bleach, stirring continuously with tongs or a wooden dowel.
3 Submerge the blue jeans completely
Submerge the blue jeans completely, using tongs or a dowel to make sure they're evenly, thoroughly drenched.
4 Stir frequently for 35 minutes
Stir frequently for 35 minutes, then remove and rinse the jeans in cool water until the water runs clear.
Repeat if necessary until your jeans are white or very pale. Flush the remaining diluted bleach solution in a toilet or down a sink drain in a well-ventilated area. Rinse the bucket thoroughly.
6 Dyeing White or Bleached Jeans
7 Wash your jeans
Wash your jeans to remove any dirt and residue, but do not dry them.
8 Fill the bucket halfway -- about three gallons
Fill the bucket halfway -- about three gallons -- with hot water. Put on the rubber gloves.
9 Pour the entire packet of dye
Pour the entire packet of dye into the water and stir thoroughly until it is completely dissolved. Some dyes may also require you to add salt, detergent, soda ash or other ingredients to help the color absorb into the fabric so read the box carefully.
10 Add the jeans to the dye bath
Add the jeans to the dye bath. Stir frequently for 20 minutes to ensure even coloring.
11 Leave the jeans
Leave the jeans in the bath for another 30 minutes to one hour, depending on how deep you want the color. Stir every three to five minutes to ensure even dyeing.
12 Remove the jeans from the dye bath
Remove the jeans from the dye bath, squeeze out the excess dye and rinse them with cool water until the water runs clear.
13 Pour the excess dye water into a sink or tub drain
Pour the excess dye water into a sink or tub drain. To help prevent stains, let the sink or tub faucet run with very hot water as you pour the dye water into the drain. Rinse the bucket thoroughly.
14 Wash the jeans
Wash the jeans using a mild detergent and dry them in the dryer, keeping in mind that they will be slightly lighter in color once they're dry.
- Bleach and fabric dye can irritate skin. Wear gloves and protective clothing to prevent irritation and stains.
- Because denim is a heavy fabric that isn't as absorbent as lighter-weight cottons, you may double the amount of dye required for a more saturated color.
- 1 SheKnows: Beauty and Style: How to Make Your Own Colored Denim
- 2 Rit Dye: The Rit Studio presents “Bucket Dyed Jeans”
- 3 Dharma Trading Company: Tub Dyeing Basics with Fiber Reactive Dyes
- 4 New Mexico State University: College of Agriculture and Home Economics: Safe Use and Disposal of Household Chemicals