By Kelly Gunzenhauser
Since I do not have to dress up for work, I wear jeans a lot. I have several pairs that I do not really like anymore. They fit, but they are too faded out to look current. Still, I just can’t bear to get rid of them. It seems so wasteful when the only thing that keeps me from liking them is the color. I turned to Pinterest, and I found this!
I loved RIT dye as a kid, when tie-dyeing was briefly revived as something fun to do over the summer. I do remember it fading out in a few washes, so I was anxious to find someone who had done it successfully. And, I wanted to avoid “mom-jean” blue—the bright, royal blue that I saw on another pin. These jeans looked respectably close to a color I would purchase in the store. I had nothing to lose so I decided to try it.
Let me first say I deviated considerably from what the original author did. I could not find the liquid dye at the grocery store, so I used powder. I did not do this outside, because it was February, and freezing. I also did not get my proportions exactly right with the black and blue, but I will talk about that in a minute.
What I did do was this: I got a huge, plastic tub and put it in my kids’ bathtub. I filled it with eight cups boiling water and added hot water from the tap to make enough to dye three pairs of jeans. I added a full box of navy blue RIT dye, and about 1/3 of a box of black, as well as the recommended ½ cup of salt. I stirred up the dye with a big metal spoon, dropped in the jeans, donned my rubber gloves, and began agitating. Ouch. She was right in her post—it was HOT! But I kept at it for about 30 minutes.
During this time, I found out that a white bathtub is not the best place in which to do this. Outside in the yard in the springtime would have been better. It took some scrubbing to get the dye off our tub. And despite the gloves, I got some of the hot water in there, and my hands were a nice navy shade for a while.
After time was up, I dumped the dye and started rinsing. That was the hardest part, because they never ran clear. I ended up putting them in the washer and running them through four washes to get rid of the excess dye. Tip: Think about how you are going to get heavy, dye-soaked jeans from the tub to the washer before you have to actually do it. Have a plan! (Or enlist your husband to carry the tub and wipe up the drips in his wake, like I did.)
Results: Pretty good, actually! I needed more black dye. They are a little closer to “mom-jean” color than I like, but are still much, much better than they were before. The dye is not really running in the wash, but to be safe, I wash them with other jeans and dark colors, and things that won’t absorb the dye, like dark fleece. I am feeling good about salvaging this part of my wardrobe for a while.
So what do you think? Are you willing to give it a try?