How to (re)dye Your Jeans




If  redye or dye your jeans because you have a favorite pair or because you're cheap like me this instructable will teach you the basics. 

Just a heads up the jeans will no longer have the "wear" marks. The jeans will be basically one color but not solid i will have small variations. Another thing to note is that the threads/stitching does not dye so that's cool. Most stitching uses polyester thread and will not dye. If you have cotton stitching that will probably dye.

Step 1: Materials

You'll Need:
-1 box of rit dye navy blue (or denim blue)
-1/2 box of rit dye black
-3 gallon or so bucket
-Hot water
-Optional blue making/painters tape

You can get Rit dye from walgreens for like $3 but may be cheaper elsewhere. If you check the first picture it shows the difference in shades of color for denim vs. navy blue. Choose which one you feel is better. (Navy blue is a bit darker but more "blue") You can add the full box of black dye but obviously it'll be much darker and closer to black. I find half is a good amount. The size of bucket doesn't matter as long as it hold enough water to fill over the jeans. If you have levi's or other jeans with one of those papery tags on the back you can cover it up with masking tape. I have tried duct and packaging tape and so far blue painter's tape works the best.

YOU NEED GLOVES unless you want smurf colored hands...

Note: there is a way to dye your jeans using a big pot over the stove but that makes a mess in the pot and is INCREDIBLY hard to clean.

Step 2: The Dying Process

That title sounds depressing

Before you start, PUT ON THE GLOVES! If the dye gets on your skin its really no big deal its just slightly difficult to wash off. BUT it is a pain. You want to get the water to as hot as possible before adding to the bucket. When it is, add your dye powder of 1 blue and 1/2 black. Add a good enough of HOT water to the bucket. You'll also want to drench your jeans with hot water as well. Try to make sure there isn't any dry spots because the dye might not affect that area well. Add your jean to the bucket and make sure there is enough water so that the jeans is kind of free floating. (Personally for my bucket its up to the 2 gal mark with the jeans in) I would "rearrange" the pair for the first five or so minutes so that it gets evenly dyed. Let it sit for about 30 min.

You could add more then one pair at a time but i feel that the dye wouldn't be absorbed well unless you add more water but that dilutes the system. This works really well for one pair of jeans and every pair of jeans after the first one will be a slightly lighter shade than the first.

Step 3: Drying

After 30 minutes you have an option of two things:

1) Just dry it. The jeans will be darker if you do this but it will most likely rub off on stuff.

2) Rinse THEN dry it. The jeans will be lighter but will most likely NOT rub off on stuff.

I generally rinse it because I wear a lot of white tees and I have a white couch. When rinsing, use COLD water. Hot water will rinse off too much. Just rinse it off until the water is pretty clear. Does not need to be exactly clear. Dry it with a method of your choice. I just put my jeans in the washing machine and set it to spin to get excess water out and then stick it in the dryer on the lowest setting.

Note: Apparently there's ways to "set" the dye with vinegar or something but I don't want my jeans to smell odd. 

Step 4: Finished!

Your done. As you can see the second pair I did was slightly lighter than the first. Just a warning these jeans will bleed in the wash if not "set". I don't wash my jeans too often so I really don't worry about it. the stitching didn't get dyed



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    7 Discussions


    Question 7 weeks ago on Step 1

    How do i get my light grey jeans back to their normal colour, black has ran through them in the wash!please help x


    4 years ago on Step 3

    This works really well. I agree that you should use salt in the water. I first did this two years ago on a pair that was fading. The initial color after the full 30 minutes was dark indigo (I used all black dye). After repeated washings (with all my other clothes and on warm), the color looked fantastic. Today I'm re-doing it. Five bucks every two years to keep my favorite jeans looking good? Heck yes.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I agree , washed my jeans twice . .. the second time with soap , and they look great


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi I am interested in darkening my jeans but have to ask about the Rit dye coming off after the dyeing. See Amazon comments on both types of Rit dye.

    You cover the off-color piece but what about fixing the dye to the jeans? Your insights are appreciated.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice tutorial, gonna follow it pretty soon. Just an FYI: vinegar's smell doesn't linger very long, especially if you're going to rinse it out as I imagine you would after setting the dye with it. I clean the bathroom with vinegar all the time, and the smell is gone in about half an hour.


    4 years ago on Step 3

    While I haven't used RIT dye for a long time - the last time I dyed a pair of jeans I used a local dye manufacturer in Denver - I imagine using the same technique with RIT as I did with the local stuff would work: Use salt in the dye; apparently, the salt drives the dye into the fabric much more solidly and assists with setting the dye.
    I don't remember the quantities/ratios of salt to water/dye, but if you're doing one pair of jeans I think a cup or two in the dye solution will work rather well.