Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Make Color Denim Jeans for Five Dollars

It is officially jeans weather and I got a little surprise. Turns out the Kidney Stone Diet followed by the My Dog Has Cancer Diet followed by the Grief Diet (I do not recommend these diets At. All. It isn’t healthy and stinks on ice) made me lose enough weight to make my fat jeans too big.

I need a pair of temporary transitional size jeans. Colored denim jeans might be fun because now things are settled and I plan to start Wii-ing and biking on our new bike trail my way back to the normal range of my Body Mass Index (BMI). By then the colored skinny jean trend may have jumped the shark.

Thanks to a thrift store sale and a Michael’s coupon, I made a pair of purple denim jeans for $5.00.

You can too!

Here’s how.

How to Make Colored Skinny Jeans

Does this tractor make my butt look big?

You will need:

White 100% cotton jeans
Washing machine and detergent
Fabric dye
Non iodized salt (Warning: ALL of my fabric dye failures happened because I used iodized table salt. Use rock salt or sea salt instead.)
Metal sink
Stir stick (I reused take out chopsticks)
Kitchen timer
Optional: rubber or plastic gloves
Optional: plastic bag
Optional: Fabric paint pen or permanent marker (if the jeans have non cotton thread)

Make it:

1.Wash the jeans in the washing machine. Do not use fabric softener.

2. Dissolve the fabric dye and salt into a sink of extremely hot water according to the directions on the dye package. Tip: The hotter the water the better for this project. Caution: Please be careful and do not burn yourself!

3. Submerge the white jeans into the dye bath. Tip: You may want to wear the rubber gloves for Step 3 through 9 to keep the dye off your hands.

Swish! Swish!

4. Set the kitchen timer and swish the jeans in the dye bath for the recommended time per the directions on your fabric dye. The general rule is the more water you mix with the dye and more time you leave the jeans in the dye bath the deeper the color will be. I wanted as deep a purple as I can get. I left my jeans in the dye bath for 60 minutes. Tip: Play fun music or something. It was kinda boring to stand over the sink and stir for an hour. The result is worth it though.

5. Remove the jeans from the dye bath and rinse them with cold water until the water runs clear.

Rinse until its clear!

6. Optional: Place the jeans in a plastic bag and let them set overnight. I used the shopping bag the thrift store gave me. This step wasn't in on my fabric dye package or in any of the fabric dyeing resources I consulted but it worked so well to set the color for my tie dye drop cloth shoes I did it with my not tie dyed jeans too. 

7. Wash the jeans in the washing machine with a very small amount of soap to remove the surface dye that has not penetrated the cotton fibers. I used approximately a tablespoon of detergent. 

8. Dry the jeans in the dryer to further set the dye. You will want to dry the jeans by themselves because they will bleed for the first few washes.

9. Optional: Color white stitching with a fabric paint pen or permanent marker if the white thread in the jeans did not take the dye. If this is the case it is most likely they used polyester thread.

10. Wear your new color jeans and look cute!

Father in Law is determined to teach me how to drive his new to him sports car.

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Krissy said...

What a super fun idea!! You crack me up with the does this tractor make my butt look big! Was the dye easy to remove from the sink and washing machine? Were you listening to Purple Rain during the project? Thanks for sharing your great idea!

Rose Craft Guild said...

Fun idea. Need to find a metal sink now... Looks fantastic on you. Come link it up at

Anonymous said...

"Wear your new jeans and look cute" and you do. Plus purple is my favorite color.
Sue Clarke

PS: I like that you can use your sense of humor to get through your "diets"...tough stuff to deal with but laughing makes it a tad easier sometimes.

Christine said...

FABULOUS!! Yes, do wear gloves!! hehe I made some tie-dye t-shirts this summer and totally stained my hands!! hehe

LOVE the jeans!!!

Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

Michelle M. said...

I'm wondering if you could also do this with a pair of very light (like almost white) blue jeans that you want to dye a darker blue? I don't know how I ended up with so many pairs of light blue jeans, but they don't look flattering on me at all. And I really need more darker jeans because several pair have gone to the jean-graveyard as of late.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

As long as the jeans are 100% cotton you can dye them. In fact, someone told me at the party where I wore my purple jeans and played on the tractor in this post told me she dyed her faded blue jeans darker blue.

Katie Drane said...

This is such a good idea! Thanks for sharing!


Niki said...

They look great...and so do you!!

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