Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY Bleaching "Pattern" onto Jeans

I was supposed to post about this leather-modpodge-thingie I've got going, but I ran into some problems I haven't yet solved, so this'll be the project for today:

So, I really really wanted to make this cool un-bleached-pattern onto partly bleached jeans. It did not turn out as I wanted, but thought I'd still post this in case someone likes how it turned out. The pattern is sort of "seeable" at some parts, but not as I wanted it. Well, happy accidents, all the dripping from the spray bottle etc looks kinda cool anyways.

I'm not giving up on it, though, just need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong (I've got some suspicions which I'll share in the tutorial-steps). 

You need:

To be wearing vinyl gloves!

Bleach (1 part bleach, 2 parts water)
Distilled white vinegar (2 cups per half a bucket)
Contact plastic stuff
Cardboard/something else to "stuff" into the jean legs

How to:


I made a pattern on my computer (with iDraw), which I then placed under some contact plastic film. I traced the pattern, and then I cut them out (you can just draw your own pattern onto the contact plastic. Then I attached them around the jean leg. I think problem number one might have been here: the patterns might have needed to be a bit wider.


On the left you'll see how the jeans looked before: my phone has left a nice little "bleach" there already so I felt these pants needed to be more bleached up.

I put the jeans in the tub, top part on the shower-thing so it wouldn't fall into any bleachy business.

I had some cardboard inside the jean legs, to keep the bleach running from one side through the other.

I had 1 part Clorox UltimateCare Bleach (gentle on fabrics) and 2 parts warm water, which I put in a spray bottle. I sprayed the bottom few inches (up until first pattern). Every 20 minutes I would spray on the area that had already been sprayed plus a couple inches more.When I had come as high as I wanted on the pant leg with the bleach-mix, I just waited until it looked like it was the shade I wanted.

I think the large amount of water in the mix resulted in the jeans getting so soaked with the bleach that the color creeped up under the plastic pattern stencils.

Even if I sprayed on "evenly" I thought, there were some creases etc that seem to have gathered the bleach, which made all of those random white splashes.

This is how they looked when I decided I was done (they looked really yellowy and dirty, but as you saw in the end result the light part is very "clear" once dry).

Dip your jean legs into a bucket with water and distilled white vinegar (I had 2 cups of vinegar in half a bucket of water). Let it sit in there for 15 minutes; this will stop the bleaching process. Then wash jeans in washing machine twice (cold wash, with detergent). Dry. Enjoy :)

So you can sort of see the pattern I tried to make at certain parts, but not really as I wanted them to be. Don't you worry, I'll think of something else with these jeans and try my pattern-stuff again when I have other jeans to play with :)

NOTE: These jeans are 44% cotton, 29% lyocell, 26% polyester and 1% elasthan, so they probably behaved differently than regular denim (maybe that's why the bleach has concentrated on different places?), so keep an eye on your jeans to see how fast they bleach!


I of course had to try this again, so I made wider patterns&used 1 part hot water 9 parts of the same bleach. Once again the pattern is sort of visible (a little more this time), but the bleach still got under my pattern... The main problem seems to be that the spray bottle doesn't spray an even mist, more like random splurts (not sure that's a word...). Will post a photo when I get one!


  1. Hey Jennah, thanks for stopping by! You've changed the name - I like it! Such cool jeans, with a retro feel for Spring 2013.

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

  2. Try using a bleach gel pen to colour around the pattern instead of spraying. You get much more control that way :)

    1. Yeah I just bought one! Just need another pair of jeans.... :)