DIY: Dip Dye Denim

29 January, 2012

What you will need:
  • Denim Jacket
  • Household Bleach (either thin or thick)
  • Fabric dye in any colour of your choice
  • 250g of table salt
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket or stainless steel sink
  • Studs (optional)

This is my first ever DIY post on this blog even though I am guilty of indulging in a bit of clothes DIY from time-to-time. I'm by no means an expert with customising clothes as I have certainly had some disasters in the past! The best way is just to experiment on old clothes and you never know, you could come up with something wonderful! A few weeks ago I picked up a vintage, denim Levi's jacket for £1, however as you can see from above it was pretty plain and rather boring. As it was only £1 I decided to try and jazz it up a little. I picked up the dye from my university art shop, but I know you can find a range of colours on eBay here and they're less than £3!

The first step in to fill your bathroom sink/bucket with 1 part bleach, 2 parts water. Remember to wear your rubber gloves and old clothes! I know this is rather obvious but I don't want to feel guilty if you ruin your loveliest frocks! I chose to dilute the bleach with water rather than using it on it's own, because I didn't want it burning through the fabric and weakening it. I opted for a dip-dye effect with my jacket, so I first submerged the top of it into the water for around 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the denim into the water so that 2/3's of it are submerged - this will create a gradual faded effect so the bottom will be darker. If you wanted your denim to be one solid colour all over then simply just submerge the whole garment into the diluted bleach.

I left my denim to soak for around an hour. You will slowly see you denim lighten beneath the water anyway, so it's best to keep checking every 5 minutes or so. When your denim seems to have lifted to a light enough colour, remove it from the diluted bleach and rinse it thoroughly to remove all the bleach. I hand-rinsed it quickly before letting my washing machine do the rest of the work by putting it on "Rinse" mode.

You should end up with something similar to the photo above, which is starting to look pretty impressive already! Next comes the dying process, which is explained clearly on the back of the packet, but I shall talk you through it anyway. Mix the powder dye with 500ml of warm water either in a bucket or stainless steel sink. Stir it until it has completely dissolved. Then add approximately 6 litres of warm water to the mixture, followed by 250g of ordinary table salt and stir.

Completely submerge the denim into the mixture and stir frequently for 15 minutes. Leave for another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After an hour rinse the denim in cold water until the water runs clear, then wash (on it's own!) on a warm wash (40 degrees). Your denim should now look something like this:

Pretty trippy, huh?! You could just stop at this point if you wanted, but I decided to add a few studs onto the collar that I had left over from a previous DIY. You can pick up studs like these from eBay pretty cheaply.

I had to stop at 6 studs on each collar because it's so much effort studding denim with your hands. A studding machine would have been a godsend at this point! I'm really happy with the outcome of this jacket and it cost no more than a fiver to make! With a bit of manual labour and a free afternoon you can save yourself the ridiculous price tag that a lot of websites (such as this one) seem to be charging at the moment for DIY one-off denims.

I hope you've enjoyed my first DIY post, I'm hoping there'll be plenty more to come in the future! I'm already looking forward to wearing my new and improved jacket... I just wish it would hurry up and dry already!


  1. I've found this diy so helpful, I'll definitely be using it some time soon - I have an old pair of jeans calling to have something done!

    I love the way your shirt turned out, risky with the pink but it does look so good in the end! And the studs make it that little bit more, such a good diy post :) Can't wait to see other things you have in the future x

  2. that is such a cool idea! I might try it out!

  3. Cool jacket - makes it so much nicer to know you have made it and no one else will have one the same!
    JS xx

  4. like it! (:


  5. Great work, get a photo up of you wearing it!! xx

  6. Such a great idea!!

    Kisses Anne

  7. OMG! love love the result is so 90's! brilliant idea :)

  8. Thats very cool! I love customizing stuff =)


  9. It turned out great!


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