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How to make your own colored denim

Erica Tiffany is a graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in digital media. She has now joined the SheK...

Try it, dye it, DIY it!

Hi, my name is Erica and I am a DIY addict. Whenever I see anything I like, whether it be fashion trends, home decor ideas or anything else imaginable, the first thought that always pops into my mind is, "How can I make that?" It's a gift and a curse. My latest DIY adventure takes us into the world of denim and dyes. Wanna know how to make your own colored denim? Read on and I'll show you how!
DIY jeans

Are you a fan of the colored denim trend that is so hot right now? Well, join the club! While I was browsing at the local shopping mall a while back, I found some jeans in GUESS that caught my eye. They were gorgeous shades of pastel purples, corals, greens and blues. I HAD TO HAVE THEM! But, they were $98 a pair, and I wanted them all! So, what's a girl to do? Head to the trusty thrift shop and make my own at home!

colored denim

1

Find jeans that hug you in all the right places

When shopping at thrift stores, it is easy to find jeans that will work well for this project. You can find a pair for less than $10 (even less on 50 percent off days!). The brand and wash don't matter at all, but the fit and thickness of the material do. I found that going a little tighter in the fit is beneficial. When I dyed my jeans, they seemed to stretch a bit afterwards. You also don't want the jeans to be too thin, or they might rip after the bleaching process. Do you want skinny jeans or flares? It's all up to you. Pick a pair that's comfortable and flatters your shape.

Important note! Always check the stitching on the jeans to make sure it is a color that will go well with the color dye you have chosen. Bleach will not affect most stitching in jeans, and the dye will not color it either. I found that dark blue stitching gives my pastel blue jeans a funky look, while a subtler stitching works best for my mint green and lavender pairs.

2

Discover the perfect color

Are you going for a bright saturated red or a soft sunny yellow? Rit has this really cool color guide that will tell you exactly which color dyes to buy and how to mix them together to create a certain color. There are more than 500 colors you can choose from! My jeans are: #472, #478 and #234. Rit dye can be easily found at most grocery or craft stores.

3

Gather other necessary materials

Also for this project you will need a large tub, tongs, household bleach and a measuring cup. Make sure to wear clothes that you wouldn't mind getting ruined and rubber gloves to protect your hands!

4

Let's begin

To start, I filled a large bucket (think one meant to hold sodas at a backyard party) with enough hot water to fully saturate the jeans. I then added about four cups of bleach to the water. After that, submerge the jeans for about 35 minutes, making sure all areas of the jeans are getting access to the bleach. Dump the tub, and then repeat the process again.

By this time your jeans should be completely white, or possibly a little yellow/white. Wash the jeans with detergent in your washing machine to remove all bleach. While the jeans are rinsing, thoroughly wash out your bucket and fill it back up with hot (almost boiling) water.

5

You're almost there!

Once the jeans have been washed and rinsed, set them aside while you mix your dye. Follow your color recipe from the Rit guide, but remember: a little of the color goes A LONG WAY. If you're going for a pastel color, it is best to have a smaller dye to water ratio. You can always add more dye to go darker if you need to, but once it's dark, it's hard to go back. Mix the dye with water in a measuring cup first, and then add it to the bucket. Drop in the jeans and stir continuously with tongs, making sure the jeans are dyeing at the same rate all over. Do this for about five minutes, or until they are the color you desire.

Colored denim

6

Wash, dry and pow! New jeans!

Rinse the dye out well, until the water runs clear. Then add them to the washing machine with mild detergent for a second time. Dry the jeans and they're ready to wear!

If you're scared of DIY, don't be! This project really was one of the easiest ones I've done -- it's practically fool proof. So get out there and make your own colored jeans, at a fraction of the retail price!

Hanging jeans

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