DIY Dying Jeans

My niece is a cheerleader for the California Gold Shockwaves and their colors are gold and purple.  And when I say purple, I mean grape.  Believe it or not, (cute) grape colored clothing is super hard to find.  Since colored skinny jeans are all the rage, my sister and I both wanted a pair of super cute grape skinny jeans to wear to the cheerleading competitions, and hopefully just out and about.  I am sure if I really tried and looked I could buy a pair of grape skinny jeans, the problem was I came up with this idea about 24 hours before her competition, and I suddenly became very desperate.

I headed to my local mall, and the best I could find was a pair of magenta Arizona extra skinny jeans from JC Penny that 1. actually fit really well and 2. were only 10 bucks!!  I was dying to get them, but the magenta really threw me off.  I needed grape, and grape they were not.  Then BANG, lightbulb.  Fabric dye.

As I sat in the parking lot of Michaels, I quickly googled how to properly dye jeans.  I ran inside Michaels and bought one bottle of Rit liquid fabric dye in purple.  I was a little paranoid of ruining the jeans, so I tried to follow the instructions (both on the bottle and on blogs online) VERY carefully.

This is what you will need:

1. A bottle (or box of powder) of any color Rit dye you want.  2. A stainless steel sink or bowl, or a bucket you don’t mind staining.  3.  A mixing utensil, either one that is stainless steel or something you don’t mind turning colors.  4. one cup salt (optional) 5. rubber gloves (optional, but very recommended)


This is what I did:

1.  Filled my stainless steel sink with as hot as I could get from the tap water.  It is very important that I reiterate that I used my stainless steel sink.  If you don’t have one, you can use a bucket (one that you don’t mind possibly staining forever) or a very large bowl.

2. I then added the entire bottle of dye into the sink and added one cup of salt.  Yes, an entire cup.  That’s what the website said for “more intense colors” and I wanted intense grape.  I mixed it around until everything was dissolved.

3.  It says to soak the entire fabric in water before adding it to the dye bath, so I did that.  This helps to get the fabric color even.  I used stainless steel tongs (but you can use anything you don’t mind getting stained) and continued to stir the pants in the dye bath.  The bottle said to keep it for 10-30 minutes, and because the pants started as purple and I just wanted to make them a darker purple I figured 15 minutes would do the trick.

4.  I took the pants out, drained the sink, and washed out the pants in the sink until the water runs clear.  I then put the pants in the washer, and then the dryer.

When I took the pants out and looked at them, I was disappointed with how exactly the same they looked.  It was 10pm now, and I was pretty frustrated by the fact that the cheer competition was now less than 12 hours away and I did not have grape pants.  A wave of determination washed over me and I decided that by the next morning I was going to have grape pants, if it was the last thing I did.  By this hour a local Walmart was the only thing that was open that had dye, so I headed there.  They had a different brand than Rit, and they were small dry packets, but I was desperate.  I bought 3 purple and 1 navy packets of dye.

I followed the steps above again, putting all 4 packets in the water and salt.  I kept the pants in the water, constantly mixing them around, for one whole hour.  Then repeated the rinsing, washing, and drying process.  Success!!  The amazingly grape pants I never new I had been missing.  I wore them the next day to the cheer competition and got many compliments.  I now wear them almost every week and they “go” with so many more outfits than I initially thought.













In conclusion, you can dye many fabrics and they turn out wonderfully, just confirm what type of material you are interested in dying.  The Rit website is great at telling you exactly what you can and cannot do and gives you tricks of the trade, as well as dying ideas.

Happy dying!!



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