Dip dyed jeans can be found in many stores, often at high prices under designer labels. Fortunately, the process to transform jeans into dip-dyed fashion statements is a fairly simple one that can be completed at home. All of the supplies necessary to DIY dip dye jeans can be found on eBay.
Considerations for Dip Dyeing Jeans
Because bleach is corrosive, jeans that are already very distressed or damaged may not hold up well during the dip dye process. Jeans that are intended to be altered into cutoff shorts should be snipped beforehand to ensure effective observation of the bleaching and dying progression as it occurs.
Materials for DIY Dip Dye Jeans
Before dip dyeing a pair of jeans, make sure to gather the following materials:
- A bucket or basin that is clean, dry, and large enough to hold at least 19 litres (5 gallons)
- At least 4 litres of bleach
- At least 4 litres of white, distilled vinegar
- A large ruler or clothes hanger
- Clothing clips or fasteners
- A readily available supply of fresh, clean water
- Rubber or protective gloves
- Eye goggles or other eye protection
- A face mask
Additional Materials for Dyeing
The following additional materials may also be necessary, or can help, during the dyeing process:
- A stainless bowl or container
- Dye, pre-mixed, or ready-to-mix
- Salt (if required per the dye package directions)
- Laundry detergent
Instructions for DIY Dip Dye Jeans
Gather all materials beforehand, and arrange the workspace in a location capable of withstanding potential drips and splashes. Always wear protective gear throughout the process, as bleach and vinegar are corrosive and can damage skin, eyes, and the respiratory system.
- Mix two-parts water with one part bleach. For shorts or smaller items, this equates to a recommended 4 litres (1 gallon) of water and 2 litres (one half gallon) of bleach. Double the amounts for larger items. Pour the mixture into the bucket or container.
- Slip the ruler into the belt loops on the rear of the jeans, or fasten the waistband of the jeans to the clothes hanger.
- Gently lower the jeans into the bleach solution, resting the hangar or ruler on the rim of the bucket to hold them at the desired height. Note that capillary action will draw the bleach upward beyond the level of the water, so include a buffer zone of 2-4 finger widths between the desired bleaching line on the fabric and the water level in the bucket.
- Let the jeans sit for up to 30 minutes, or until the desired level of bleaching has occurred. A full-white bleaching will yield the brightest colours if further dyeing is planned, but some people choose a lighter bleaching, leaving some of the original shade of the jeans in place to meld with the dye.
- Remove the jeans and immediately rinse thoroughly in water to remove all of the bleach from the fabric. It is very important to completely rinse the bleach away, as bleach and vinegar form a dangerous gas when combined.
- Empty the bleach solution from the bucket or container and rinse it thoroughly. Replace with a solution of one part water and one part vinegar, then submerge the jeans completely in the solution. Allow to soak for 10 minutes to completely halt the bleaching process.
- Let the jeans dry for several hours, then send through the washing machine alone and without detergent. If simple bleaching is the goal, the process ends here. Otherwise, move on to the dyeing steps.
- Mix the dye in the stainless container according to the directions on the packaging.
- Wet the portion of the jeans to be dyed, then wring out the excess water.
- Fasten the ruler or clothes hanger as before, and lower the jeans into the dye to the desired level. Leave them in the dye until the desired shade has been reached, or according to the package directions.
- Remove the jeans from the dye and briefly rinse with cold water.
- Rinse the jeans with warm water until it runs clear and free from dye.
- Mix a solution of 30 ml (one half cup) of laundry detergent to 4 litres (1 gallon) of cold water and wash the jeans gently by hand. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- The jeans should be washed in the laundry machine one more time on their own, at which point they are ready to wear and can be washed in full loads with other clothing.
DIY Dip Dyeing Jeans
Buying Supplies for DIY Dip Dye Jeans on eBay
Jeans can be found in the Fashion category on eBay. Supplies for bleaching and dyeing can be found in the Home & Garden category. Enter key words related to the desired item in the search box, then narrow the results using the left-hand menu. Always review a seller’s rating, history, and shipping and return policies before completing a purchase.