Tie Dyed Denim Tutorial

August 8, 2013Allison Murray

Make some tie dyed denim...

It’s no secret that I’m crazy for tie dye. But you may not have know is that my sister digs it, too. Not in the “I’m going to tie dye up more shirts than I can wear in a month” crazy like I am, but in a calling me to ask “can you tie dye me some jeans?” kind of a way!

Make some tie dyed denim...

To be fair my mother and I found some new denim capris in my sister’s size for a buck at a flea market. They’d never been worn and while we hadn’t heard of the brand we figured it would be fun to tie dye these suckers up (she and my nephews had just watched me do a demo at Hobby Lobby for Tulip tie dye!). So we brought them home and I called my sister up…

Me: “What color do you want me to tie dye these jeans?”

Her: “The traditional colors.”

Me: “Like the color denim?”

Her: “No, traditional tie dye colors, red, yellow and blue.”

Me: “Are you sure? I was thinking like black or khaki or denim colored.”

Her: “I want red, yellow and blue.”

Me: “Okay, cool.” — Let’s tie dye denim!

So I tied up the jeans using the window pane technique. I went up one leg, then the other. I then kept doing over the crotch and waist. I took that strip and folded it accordian style onto itself until I had a little rectangular package and banded it off. If you need help with the window pane technique, you can see it here.

Make some tie dyed denim...

I used yellow paint on the sides and I applied it heavily, using a whole squeeze bottle of yellow dye.

Make some tie dyed denim...

I went red along the sides, hoping to have red stripes (and it mostly worked out!)

Make some tie dyed denim...

And I went blue on the top and bottom only because I only wanted a hint of it and I was worried about getting green and purple in the bleed. Green and purple just weren’t on the menu!

Make some tie dyed denim...

I always recommend dyeing 100% cotton but in this case they were so cheap I wasn’t going to complain. The content of this fabric is only 98% cotton and 2% spandex. The spandex, being an unnatural fiber, isn’t going to take the color of the dye, causing lighter colors than if every fiber in the fabric took the dye well.

Make some tie dyed denim...

But in the end these jeans cost my Momma a buck and me nothing (because I have a crazy stash of tie dye in the craft closet!).  These are probably not to your taste, and they most definitely aren’t to mine, but you can use the technique with more sedate colors.

I should probably mention that after I had taken photos of the jeans, I left them splayed out and Russell walked by, unaware that I’d been tie dyeing jeans that day, and pushed his head in the room and just said “your sister is going to love those.” :) Hoping you are having a happy weekend!


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