I hate buying jeans because they never fit and for reasons that escape me, if miraculously they do fit, they usually cost at least a hundred dollars. As a result, I usually wear my jeans into decrepit, embarrassing rags of their former selves. However, I have two pairs of Diesel jeans that have stood the test of time but whose fancy designer washes have long since faded into homely shades of gray and old denim.
Inspired by tutorials here and here, and in an effort to save my clothing budget, I decided to give Rit dye a shot at resurrecting both pairs. I was very happy with this particular DIY project, though I will warn you that it does make a mess and you should do this project somewhere were errant spots of dye will not overly trouble you – outside, in the garage, or in your parents’ unfinished basement (thanks mom!).
The instructions on the package should do you just fine, though in my opinion you should use the bucket technique and stir well.
You will need:
- An old plastic bucket filled with enough hot water to submerge the jeans
- Two packages of Rit dye, one black, one denim blue (the consensus around the web seems to be that this will give you the closest approximation of a new jean color; some people use black and navy, or black and blue, or only use blue or only use black, but I’m going recommend this combination. The two packages of dye, I think, also gives you a more intense color).
- A glass container with boiling water
- Something to stir with
- Your jeans!
- Mix the dye thoroughly with the boiling water in the glass container so that it is dissolved properly.
- Pour the dye/hot water mix into the bucket of hot water and stir well.
- Wet the jeans before submerging them in the bucket of dye (important: the dye may absorb unevenly otherwise).
- Gently stir the jeans in the bucket for half an hour to 45 minutes (which is just enough time to watch an episode of Arrested Development. Did you guys hear, they’re making a fourth season and a movie)!
- Pour out the dye, wipe the dye off of the sink, rinse out the bucket, and then spend some time rinsing the dye out of the jeans, about ten minutes or until the water runs clear or almost clear when you wring them out.
- Clean everything around the sink again.
- Wash the jeans on a regular cycle in the washing machine, with soap, and line or tumble dry. Maybe do this twice, and be careful not the wash the jeans with clothes they could potentially stain, as the fabric will lose dye for a while (I have read horror stories about denim dye-stains on white carpet, but this did not happen to me).
That’s it! Mine turned out great – it’s a very standard dark blue denim color, though remember that all fabrics will respond somewhat differently to the dye. For example, the yellow stitching characteristic of denim didn’t absorb the dye, so the seams are all still visible.