10/4/08

How To Dye Denim Blue Jeans - DIY

Instructions for dyeing jeans and denim fabrics
Dyeing jeans is a great way to fix a problem pair of jeans. You can dye them to revive the new look your jeans once had. You can dye your jeans to cover up a problem with your jeans like a stain or when they're too worn out looking. You can dye your jeans to get the exact color of jeans that you want or you can dye your jeans in unique ways for cool effects.


No matter your reason for wanting to dye your jeans, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Fabric dye is permanent, and it can be messy. That's why I prefer the bucket method of dyeing and I use a good pair of dishwashing gloves.
  • When the jeans are dyed, the stitching will often dye as well. Whether it does or not is usually dependent on what the thread is made of. Cotton thread will generally dye and is most often used on jeans, but if the thread is polyester, it most likely wont' dye at all.
  • The dye will generally look darker when wet and until after it has been washed the first time. The final outcome will most likely be lighter.
  • If you have never dyed jeans before, I wouldn't recommend starting with your favorite pair. If you have an old pair to test your process on, you can make adjustments before dyeing a pair you really care about.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • To cover bleach spots requires some prep work because the dye is affected by the original color. Pleas see How To Fix Bleach Spots By Dyeing Jeans.
  • If your stitching didn't dye and you wanted it to, you can try a Sharpie marker in the closest color. It takes time, but it should cover the stitching.
  • If you a going for a very dark denim color try using, one package of RIT Navy Blue, one package of Indigo and one package of Black. Don't forget to use HOT water.
  • Often times if you don't like the result you just need to dye the jeans one more time. Some jeans just seem to absorb the dye so much, that a second dye is necessary to get the color you're looking for.
  • Purple of lavender tones can sometimes show up because Indigo has purple undertones. If that is the case I recommend adding Navy Blue or Black dye to the Indigo dye, depending on how dark you want the results to be.

Steps to dye your jeans per the RIT Dye website:

Always refer to package directions for the dye you are using.
  1. Fill your bucket or sink with enough HOT water for the fabric to move freely. Use 1 package of RIT powder or 1/2 bottle of RIT liquid dye and 3 gallons of hot water for each pound of fabric. Pre-dissolve powder in 2 cups of HOT water, then add the pre-dissolved powder or liquid to your dye bath. Stir to mix.
  2. Wet the fabric in hot water. Uncrumple and then add to your dye bath.
  3. Stir constantly (back and forth, up and down) for 10 to 30 minutes. This is essential if you want the fabric to dye evenly.
  4. Rinse in warm water, then gradually cooler water until the water runs clear. Wash the item in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly in cool water.
  5. Dry the item in the dryer or air dry it.
  6. Clean the bucket or sink immediately with chlorine bleach or scrub with a chlorine-based powder, liquid, or gel cleanser.

To dye your jeans in the washing machine using Dylon dye:


31 comments:

  1. I did it with the RIT liquid navy blue dye and I got a kind of blue grayish color. They look alright, but I was going for a dark dark color, so I am going to re-dye it with a suggestion I saw on Yahoo answers- 1 package or RIT navy blue, 1 package of indigo and 1 package of black. Make sure to add salt and keep the water HOT!

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  2. Cer, did the above formula end up making the jeans darker? (I'm considering dying a pair of my own jeans and would like them to be darker.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello!

    I found your How to Dye very useful!
    I bought this denim jacket:

    http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/3306/cfwn4.jpg

    Being white I wanted to dye it black so a friend told me it was very easy she could do it right away. I don't know what she did but it turned out like this:

    http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/442/p1050071.jpg

    Grey... and not even homogeneus. Then I thought I'd do it myself so I found your post and bought the RIT dye.
    It was very easy and the result is really great!
    I had to dye it twice though, this fabric absorbs much dye.

    http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/6180/p1070179.jpg

    The only problem is, the stitching didn't get dyed, and I'd like it black too. Do you know how to dye the stitching too?
    Thank you so much for the fantastic help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the look of the jacket! The only thought I have for the stitching is a sharpie marker. Although, I feel with the lighter blue color it might be hard to have it not show on the fabric. I've used a sharpie on black or dark blue items to cover the stitching and it's worked well. Maybe you can find a sharpie in a close enough color?

      Delete
  4. Hi,

    I just bought a pair of jeans off ebay and didnt notice that they had some rather contrasting distress marks down the front. I want to either darken the jeans or reduce the contrasting nature of the distress marks. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just finished sewing up a dress made from 3 pairs of jeans - one was a very faded blue and the other two were mid to dark blue. The faded blue part had a big pocket-sized patch on it where I'd removed the back pocket, and was quite a bit darker than the surrounding area (but lighter than the parts made form the darker jeans). I used white thread for the top-stitching.
    Anyway, after dyeing the dress in navy blue and putting it through the wash, I noticed that all the thread stayed white - which was not so good because I'd hoped that the dye job would make the wonky stitches stand out less. And now they stand out more! Also, the patch-pocket area is still quite a bit darker than the surrounding fabric. So, though my main aim was to even out the colour across the whole garment, this didn't quite happen. I still like it though, I'll just have to spend some time tidying up my stitches...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You probably used polyester thread, which doesn't take dye in.

      Delete
  6. I've used the RIT denim dye and they came out lavender... I will have to try the combinations given at the top of this page!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's because Indigo does have a purple undertone, I'm thinking that if an Indigo dye leaves you with lavender or purple, that you might want to leave the Indigo dye out of the equation and just use the black and Navy Blue. But, only if you want a dark, dark, denim result.

      Delete
  7. The stitches don't dye because they are polyester not cotton. Cotton thread will dye, polyester won't. Most ready made clothes are sewn with Polyester thread and it usually won't dye.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just used a bottle of black writing ink, still waiting to see the results..

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  9. This is a nice method! I would love to try it to mu old jeans! Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What if you wanted to dye some blue denim fabric say...red? or green?

    I assume you'd need to bleach out the blue before you add the new colour. Is that right and how would you do it? just with standard bleach? or is there some other way?

    (I'm not worried about the stiches as I plan to just use the fabric from old jeans to made new garments...)

    Thanks
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a Rit product called Rit Fabric Dye Remover. It should remove or lighten the jeans enough to take another color. I would imagine that it might take two dyes to get them fully the red or green or other color that you want. It's a great idea and I think I might try it with a pair of my daughter's jeans. Thanks!
      You can find a link to the Rit Fabric Dye Remover at: http://www.jeanshub.com/JeansCare-BleachSpot.aspx

      Delete
  11. hey i have a denim jacket that has some spots faded can i use rit dye to redye it with the denim blue color because i see the front pockets and if you lift them up you can see the true color its got

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It should work great for that! Let us know if you try, how it came out.

      Delete
  12. that was so interesting after reading it just want to say that thanks

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm gonna see if my folks will let me do this. Just changed a pair of slumpy flare jeans into skinny...did great, but was not accounting for the faded thighs HA! sounds like a good plan! Thanks!

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  14. I want to change a sky blue denim to a more grungy denim color. What color dye? Green? Brown? Cold water dye from the fabric store works way better than RIT. It's called DYLON.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I dyed a light blue denim jacket with idye black. The result was a dark purple...if i dry it and give it another go would this turn it black?? i dont mind how dark it is...i just wish that purple tint to go away...any help please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indigo can have a lot of purple undertones and it sounds like the denim is soaking up the dye. I think another round of black dye would most likely overcome the purple.

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  16. what can you do with jeans when the dye wears off on to your skin and hands?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you wear gloves and wash it properly before wear, it won't rub off onto your skin. Unless of course, you swim in it.

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    2. I'm generally very careful to use gloves and keep it contained to what I can easily clean or throw away when I'm finished. I would think that LAVA hand soap would be the most likely to get if off skin though.

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  17. Thank you for sharing these easy to follow instructions!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Have a super day. I'm sure they would be so interesting! thanks for your creative work done by you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi! I have an old denim jacket that I would like to dye dark green, but I would like to dye the accents where the stitching is black... Any suggestions? The jacket is sort of light blue now...

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a pair of black denim jeans with some bleach spots on them. Will black dye cover the bleach spots?

    ReplyDelete
  21. It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your great post here. I like it very much. I know that you put much attention for these articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful.

    ReplyDelete

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