After my last post on the lovely Erin Wasson modeling One Teaspoon's new line, I couldn't help but but covet the denim styles. However, unfortunately, I am not made of money, and therefore have to hold back when it comes to online shopping...(or any shopping really) although that can be incredibly difficult! So I thought I would challenge myself - taking inspiration from One Teaspoon, and trying to create my own bleach, dip, and tie dyed looks.
Here is what you will need:
1.) DENIM (light if you want to tie dye, dark to bleach)
2.) BLEACH (household bleach works just great!)
3.) TIE DYE (I just bought a tie dye kit from the craft section at Walmart)
4.) A BUCKET
5.) GLOVES/ELASTIC BANDS (If you do opt for a kit like I did, these things are included, which is nice for convenience sake!)
6.) STUDS (If you're wanting to add some extra flare)
I had taken old American Apparel shorts that I didn't wear very often, and cut off the rolled up hemmed edges. I also cut one pair of vintage jeans I had in the bottom of my drawer that I also never wore! I think finding vintage pants, and making them cutoffs looks the best personally. It just naturally gives the most character!
Inspiration for the two-tone shorts shown above.
Starting with the two tone denim shorts, take masking tape, and taped along the side of the seam of the pants that you want to remain dark.
Fill a bucket with bleach diluted in water. Since I wanted the one side to be pretty much white, I used a heavy bleach to water ratio. Honestly, I'm not a 'measuring' kind of woman, I just kind of did what felt right. To get the shorts even, you have to fill the bucket quite full. I actually left these shorts over night to get the lightness that I wanted.
I've had a number of people ask me how I got household bleach to work, as it did not for them, but I think two key things are your water to bleach ratio (which I said should be a strong mix!) and how long you are leaving your denim, and other fabrics to soak. Sometimes it is just trial and error.
Since we are talking about leaving your shorts dipped in bleach for a hefty length of time, I don't think anyone in their right minds wants to stand there and hold it themselves. Hence, the contraption I came up with on the picture above. I'm sure there are some of you out there that could think of something less ghetto looking, but elastic bands attached to a hair clip wrapped around the Fawcett worked wonders for me!
Gradually, you will start achieving the color you want. I wanted mine to be quite drastic, therefore I left them hours longer than this stage shown here.
After achieving the desired lightness, I realized that there were a couple dark spots that I didn't like the look of. I merely took straight bleach in a capful and put it directly over the spot, letting it soak in the contained cap. It worked very well.
After perfecting the minor imperfections, I took the shorts and set the color in cold water and vinegar for a few hours. Then, I washed separately in cold water with a minimal amount of detergent; dried them, and viola! Here is the end result.
For TIE DYE denim:
Start with a pair of light colored denim shorts.
It is best to make them more than damp before beginning dying. This ensures that the colors will blend more naturally together.
If you are opting for a tie dye kit, the dye comes in these ready to use applicators. If you are using separate dyes, I suggest investing in applicators such as these so that you are able to apply the colour directly where you want it, and reduce the risk of making a mistake!
I should probably also mention that I wanted to obtain a more pastel look for my shorts, so I diluted the dyes quite a lot with water. If you want more of a bold colour, don't dilute the dyes more than you have to, and you also don't have to dye damp denim; start with your denim dry instead!
Start by tightly wrapping elastic bands around the shorts into the size of sections you wish to have the colour in. For the effect I wanted, I tried to make the sections as even as possible, because I wanted there to be lines of colour running across the shorts.
Again, after letting the colour sit for a good few hours, I took the elastics off to check on how my colour turned out. As you can see, I wasn't totally satisfied with the colour not even reaching the one section due to the way it was bunched.
Again, the colour also didn't saturate the middle back portion of the shorts either. To fix this, I simply repeated step two; replacing all the elastic bands down the length of the shorts, this time, making sure the portions of fabric that did not contact colour, are facing outwards when bunching the denim together.
After again letting the dye penetrate into the denim until the denim is almost completely dry, take the elastic bands off and asses how the dye looks. As you can see, the second time around is a lot more even throughout. There were still a couple spots that I was not completely satisfied with, so I carefully dripped a few drops of dye directly onto the denim and blended in with my finger. I even had to add a few more drops of water just to make sure it was blending in evenly, and didn't look like I had dropped dye into certain spots!
Once again, after letting the color stand when the shorts were unwrapped, I then let them soak in cold water and vinegar to set the colour. Then, I washed separately with just a bit of detergent in cold water, and put in the dryer to help with the frayed look at the bottom, and also to further set the colour!
After they were dry, I decided to add some studs to give them a bit more interest. Its awesome to try different patterns and place the studs wherever you feel is going to look amazing.
The last style of shorts I attempted are by far the easiest!
Folding the shorts in half, I dipped them into water diluted bleach and left them until I had a desired lightness. You don't need the bucked to be full, just enough so that you can fold the shorts over the top of the bucket, and the bottoms are still able to be underwater.
To accentuate the pockets, I simply poured capfuls of straight bleach on the desired area, and let it drip down, and bleed into the fabric naturally.
Once again, I added studs... mainly because I am obsessed with them. Studding denim turned out to be a bit trickier than I anticipated, I found tweezers super helpful for aiding the prongs to poke through the fabric.
All in all, it's a really simple and fun DIY that I encourage you to go for. There are endless designs and possibilities - so get creative with it!
I am hoping to see y'all rocking all different kinds of hand crafted DIY shorts in the near future!
So go ahead - get crafting.
Muah! - K