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Bucket Dye Jeans

The Ritsters' Studio

By The Ritsters

September 12, 2013

Project Description

Learn how easy it is to dye your jeans any color you want with Rit Dye. The bucket or dishpan method of dyeing makes it so easy and helps you get just the color you like, right out of the bottle. Or, you can mix several dye colors together to create your own custom color.

 

Image Pending Moderator Review

Prep, dyeing & Rinse time: About 1 hour

Rit Products Used

  •   None Specified.

  •  

    You'll Also Need

    •   White 100% Cotton Jeans

    •    Rit Liquid Dye (1 Bottle)

    •    Fabric Scrap to Test Dye Color

    •    Salt

    •    Dishwashing Liquid

    •   4 gallon pot

    •   measuring cup

    •   measuring spoons

    •   large metal spoon

    •   paper towels

    •   plastic table cover

    •   rubber gloves

    Step By Step

    1. Prewash jeans to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.

    2. Fill dishpan or bucket with 3 gallons very hot tap water (140° F). Note: If water is not hot enough, heat some water in a tea kettle or in the microwave.

    3. Estimate the weight of your dry jeans. (If possible, use a food scale.) These jeans weighed 14 ounces. As a guideline, ½ cup (half bottle) of liquid dye will color up to 16 ounces of dry weight fabric. To achieve a dark, more intense color, we suggest doubling the dye so we used 1 bottle of dye. You can use any color you'd like!

    4. Dye Preparation: Wearing rubber gloves, shake dye bottle and pour into the water. Then measure 1 cup of salt; dissolve with 2 cups very hot water and stir well. Add to dye bath.

    5. Add squirt of dishwashing liquid and stir well.

    6. Test dye color to be sure you are satisfied. Note: If color is too light, add more dye. If color is too dark, add more water.

    7. Wet jeans in warm water and squeeze out excess water.

    8. Immerse jeans in dye bath and stir continuously for 20 minutes, then occasionally for 10 minutes or until desired color is achieved (up to one hour). The longer the jeans remain in the dye bath, the darker the color will be. (Color will appear lighter when dry.) Stirring helps to ensure an even color.

    9. Remove jeans from dye bath and squeeze out excess dye. Rinse in cold running water until water begins to run clear. Then wash jeans in warm water with mild detergent, rinse, dry and iron.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hello, Thank you for reaching out. The dye will fade and wash out over time. We suggest washing dyed items separately the first 5-6 washes and then the items can be washed with other like colored items. Hope this helps!

    • kelly

      How many jeans can you dye with this mixture? Or do you have to remix for each pair of jeans?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hello Kelly, Thank you for reaching out. If you are using Rit Powder dye you can dye up to 1 lb of fabric per box, if you are using liquid you can dye up to 2 lbs of fabric per bottle. Best way to find the weight is to stand on scale without jeans and then stand on scale with the amount of jeans you want to dye. Hope this helps.

    • Bernadette

      I would like to make a pair of tan jeans olive. Is that possible? If so what color dye would I use to get the right color?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Bernadette, We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and many plastics, like ABS and poly-based plastics, beautifully. We would suggest checking the fabric care label to ensure you are using the correct dye line for your project. If you are working with fabric that is dyeable using Rit’s all purpose dyes, we would recommend using Rit color remover to take the fabric back to an off-white or cream color and prepare it for dyeing a new color. A recipe for olive drab can be found by going to https://www.ritdye.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Rit_FavoriteColors_2000_FINAL.pdf If this is not the color you would like to achieve, please send a picture of the color to
        colorformula@theritstudio.com and we will try to create a color recipe for you. Unfortunately, if you are working with a synthetic fabric, Rit color remover will not be able to remove the existing color so that you can dye the jeans a new color. Hope this information is helpful.

    • http://www.ritdye.com Mia Flores

      I have hot pink jeans that I would like to dye a Merlot, deep wine color. Is this possible? If so, how? Any help / advice would be appreciated. Thanks”

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Mia, Thank you for reaching out. We would recommend using the Rit Color Remover to remove the color from the fabric. You can then dye them to a deep wine. Wine can be used doubling the dye amount for a darker hue. If you are looking for a more specific shade please e-mail us a photo to colorformula@theritstudio.com and we can try to create a custom recipe. Let us know if you have any other questions!

    • jess fierro

      i have white jeans that i would like to dye a dark shade of black, is this possible? If so , how? can i get some help / advice?

    • Peter

      Howdy!! I very much want to attempt this method on a pair of jeans for my girlfriend. My questions are what steps need to be changed if the jeans are a blend (81% cotton, 17% polyester, 2% elastane). They are a deep blue color and I’d like to dye them black.

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Peter, The jeans have a small enough amount of polyester and elastane that no steps would need to be changed. Hope this helps!

    • Summer

      I have jeans that are 60% cotton 20% viscose 12%modal 7% polyester and 1% elastane, one that’s 69% cotton 20% cotton 10% viscose and 1% elastane, one that’s 77.2% cotton 20.4% polyester 2.4% elastane, and one more that’s 78% cotton 20% polyester and 2% spandex what do I have to change in the directions to get these black? I need them for work

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hello Summer, Thank you for reaching out. You should not have to change anything with the material of the pants, the polyester is less than 40% so you can use All Purpose Rit dye. To get a true black color we do recommend doubling the amount of black dye, each liquid bottle will dye up to 2 pounds dry weight and powder will dye 1lb of dry fabric. For example if all the pants weight about 2lbs together then we suggest using 2 liquid bottles to get a true Black. You would only need 1 cup of salt for each dye bath you use. Hope this helps.

    • Susanna Young

      My washer is broken so I’m hand washing my jeans after the dye process; how many times should I rinse the jeans? What if the water is still running with a slight amount of dye after multiple rinses? Will the dye rub off on other things when dry?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Cathy, Thank you for reaching out. It is hard to say whether or not the dye would be able to cover over the stain. You can definitely give it a try, but keep in mind that the stain may dye differently than the rest of the fabric. Hope this helps!

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hello, Thank you for reaching out. Yes, it could also be used on a jacket. We would not suggest bleaching the material first as bleach is very damaging to fabric and could affect your dye results. Hope this helps!

    • Steve

      I recently had a bleach “accident” with a pair of brand new jeans. There is a big blotch on one leg that is much lighter than everything else. I tried dyeing with the liquid Denim color in a bucket (but I hadn’t yet read this websites, so I didn’t use the dish soap). It looked uniform in color when it came out, but when I washed it (in warm water), the blotch was darker than before, but still very visible. So (again, before reading this), I tried to bleach out the dye and now the original blotch is RED. I’d like to try again…Please help! (FYI: I live in an apartment, where we only have access to coin-operated washers, so I can’t extend the cycle as per the instructions and therefore have to use the bucket method.) Should I use RIT Color Remover first?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Steve, Rit Dye will not cover bleach spots because the fibers have been damaged. However, if the spots are small and not too extreme, we recommend trying to spot dye the areas. As another option, if the garment is ruined and you want to give dyeing a try, remove the color from the item using Rit Color Remover. This will bring it to an off-white or cream color. If you can still see the bleach spots, launder the item in the washing machine or sink with warm water, detergent and 1 cup of liquid bleach. Rinse and launder again. Then follow one of our dyeing techniques. Please note that many times bleach damage can appear as yellowing, and if this is the case, this cannot be reversed using Rit Color Remover.

        • Steve

          Thank you. I actually bought the Color Remover last night and will try it today. (Unfortunately, the damaged area was pretty extensive.) As far as the damaged fibers go, would it help to go over the area with a wire brush to bring some new fibers to the surface? (I ask this only in the event that the Color Remover doesn’t do the trick.)

          • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

            Hi Steve, Unfortunately, going over the area with a brush would likely not help as those areas would still dye differently than the rest of the fabric.

    • http://www.ritdye.com Josef Romano

      I have a 100% wool unlined tunic which I would like to Darken to a Navy Blue. I have a bottle of Rit Liquid Dye Navy Blue. What is the best method to proceed?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Josef, Prior to dyeing the wool tunic, we would recommend checking the fabric care tag to ensure the item can be washed in very hot water. The stove top method offers the best result when dyeing because the hot water temperature, 140 to 160 degrees, can be maintained https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/stovetop-technique/ If you choose to dye in a washing machine, or, using a different method, make sure the water is very hot in the beginning when adding the dye and the fabric. For dark colors, we recommend doubling the amount of dye. Use 2 packages of powder or 1 bottle of liquid per 1 lb. of dry weight fabric using 3 gallons of water or the low setting in a washing machine. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Fiona, You would want to use 3 gallons or enough water for the fabric to freely move around. More water would be fine as long as you use enough dye for the weight of the fabric. Are you using the color Astro Turf Green in the Color Perfect line? If so, those dyes are not diluted and are sprayed directly onto the fabric: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/creative-techniques/color-perfect/

    • John Goodson

      I have some jeans that are a few shades too light for me. I like my jeans to be a very very dark blue. Almost black really. Kind of like this:

      https://cdnb.lystit.com/photos/355a-2014/05/29/apc-blue-new-standard-dark-blue-jeans-product-1-17176357-0-506053040-normal.jpeg

      Can I use black dye to darken them? I’m afraid navy blue will make the shade a little too bright blue for my tastes. If so, how much?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi John, You could attempt to overdye them with the black, however, the photo appears to have some blue, so you might try mixing black with Navy Blue to produce a dark denim hue. We would suggest 1 bottle of Navy to 1/4 cup of Black to start with. You can dip in a piece of paper towel to test the color prior to dyeing.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Georgia, Salt helps create a more vibrant color and the dishwashing liquid helps promote a more level dyeing when using the powder dye.

    • AP

      I wanted to dye a white denim jacket, would that’s be possible? Also would you be able to put it in a clothes dryer after or does it have to air dry?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hello, We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and many plastics. Since the jacket is denim, we assume the fabric is content is cotton, however, we would suggest checking the fabric care label to ensure you are using the correct dye line for your project. Once fabric is dyed, you have the option to dry it in a dryer. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hello,
      Thank you for reaching out. Every bottle of Rit Liquid dye is good for 2 pounds of dry weight fabric. If you are wanting a darker hue then we recommend doubling the amount of dye to 1 bottle per pound of fabric. Every piece of fabric is different so we are not able to tell you the weight. We recommend weighing yourself with and without the fabric to check the weight. Hope this helps.

    • Jacquie Brown

      I have blue denim overalls I’d like to dye black – do you think this will work?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hello Jacquie, Thank you for reaching out. Most Denim is made from natural fibers and can be dyed using our Rit All Purpose Black. We do suggest on darker colors to double the amount of dye needed to get a true dark tone. One bottle of liquid dye will cover 2lbs dry weight and one box will dye 1 lb dry weight, if your over-alls are 1lb we suggest using the whole bottle or 2 boxes to double the amount. Let us know if you have any more questions.

    • Paula

      Hi,
      I need to dye several black items in one washer load to refresh their black color. If there is a mix of fabric fibers, is it possible to mix regular liquid dye and the dyemore formula (for synthetics) ?

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Paula,
        Thank you for reaching out. Rit All-Purpose Dyes and DyeMore line can be mixed. Please keep in mind however, DyeMore must be used on the stove top to achieve a high enough heat to activate the dye. It can also stain any plastic parts in the washing machine. Hope this helps.

    • nguyenc

      I was wondering how durable will the dye be with the bucket method. I currently can’t find a large enough pot to keep the bath heated through.

      Thanks,
      Cindy

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hi Cindy, The project you are reviewing was entered and tested by Rit’s color experts. The very hot water along with constant agitation is what helps the dye to successfully adhere to the fabric. As long as the correct steps are followed, the dye will retain well in the fabric. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

    • Kathryn

      I have a pair of jeans that are made up of 72% cotton, 27% polyester and 1% spandex and I was wondering if the RIT dye would take to these jeans?

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hello Kathryn,
        Thank you for reaching out. Rit dyes will work nicely on your jeans to darken them. Since the jeans are part polyester, we would recommend using the DyeMore line of dyes for the best out come. Hope this helps.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello,
      Thank you for reaching out. If you are dyeing polyester, you would need to use our DyeMore line of dyes that are specifically for synthetics. The DyeMore line of dyes requires the use of the stove top method in order to keep a constant heat to accurately dye the fabric. Hope this helps.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Jen,
      Thank you for reaching out. We do not recommend using bleach. Bleach damages the fibers of the fabric making it un-dyeable. What is the fabric content of the jeans? Are there any special washing instructions on the care tag? Please get back to us so that we may better assist you.

    • http://www.ritdye.com ASM

      I have some indigo jeans that have developed white patches over the top of the thighs. Other than that, there has been virtually no fading. The jeans are 100% cotton. I tried using the spot dye method, as recommended on this site, but the dye came out in the subsequent machine wash cycle. Any idea what I might have done wrong?

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hello, Thank you for reaching out. We are sorry to hear that your project did not go as planned. So that we can further assist you with your project, we have emailed you some questions.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Jen,
      Thank you for reaching out. Since blue jeans are usually dyed with indigo dye our Rit Color Remover will not work on them. If you decide to over dye the blue jeans, then we would recommend using a darker color. Please get back to us with any additional questions.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Jen,
      Great! Let us know if you have any other questions.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Gretch,
      Thank you for reaching out. The stove top method is the recommended method. You would need to agitate the fabric in the simmering dye bath for 30-60 minutes. Hope this helps.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Emily, Thank you for reaching out. We do not recommend dyeing in a fiberglass or porous porcelain sink or bathtub because they could become permanently stained.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Natily, When dyeing dark colors, we recommend doubling the amount of dye. Rit powder and liquid work equally well. One bottle of liquid dye is equal to 2 packages of powder dye. The powder dye needs to be pre-dissolved in 2 cups of very hot water prior to adding to the dyebath whereas the liquid is pre-dissolved and can be added directly in. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

    • Stewart Dean

      Buncha questions about redying LL.L.Beans cotton denim blue jeans:
      1) If I get the water hotter, say 180, will the fabric take the dye better?
      2) If so, can I use a galvanized garbage can, to take the heat
      3) I see some talk about using vinegar to set the dye better. Should I do that too? I normally wash my jeans together with my socks and underwear and would like the color to be fast.

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hello Stewart,
        Thank you for reaching out. Our dyes are heat activated so the hotter the water the better when dyeing. If you decide to put the water in another container, we recommend boiling your water as it will cool down quickly when being transferred. Please keep in mind that unless you are using stainless steel, then your container may become tinted with the dye color being used. All Rit products are semi-permanent and will fade. We recommend washing with like color to prevent the dye from transferring onto other items. Vinegar will not help set the dyes. When added to the dye bath, salt and vinegar simply help brighten the color of the dye on the fabric. When dyeing a darker color the salt/vinegar are not required. Hope this helps.

        • Stewart Dean

          Super answer, thanks!!!!

    • Seppuku

      Hello, I have a black jeans that has white streak lines. Do you recommend that I dye the whole jeans or is there a better way to fix it?

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hello,
        Thank you for reaching out. What type of fabric are the jeans made from? Are the white streaks stains of some kind, like bleach? Please get back to us so that we may better assist you.

        • Seppuku

          Hello, just a regular Gap jeans. I notice the lines after 1st wash. I guess I should have turned it inside out when washing.

          • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

            Hello,
            Thank you for getting back to us. Dyeing the whole pair of jeans will give you to the best out come. We recommend using the stove top method for best results and to double the amount of dye being used. The key is that heat and agitation for a even color.
            https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/stovetop-technique/
            This will give you the darkest shade possible. Please keep in mind that the lines may still be slightly visible even after dyeing but will be close. Hope this helps.

    • Flavio Trejo

      Hi we want to dye a green camo pair of pants and change it to sandstone,(Label on rit dyemore bottle). I know that rit dyemore is meant for polyester/synthetics, but would it work if the pants are 99% cotton and 1% spandex?

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hello Flavio, Thank you for reaching out. In order to change the fabric color from green to a sandstone shade, Rit color remover would be required: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/the-basics/rit-color-remover/ If you were to dye over the existing color, the original color would mix with the dye to create a new color. DyeMore requires a water temperature of 180 to 212 degrees to activate and successfully dye fabric while the all-purpose dye requires a water temperature of 140 to 160 degrees. Although DyeMore can be used to dye cotton fabric, keep in mind that the very hot water may cause shrinkage. If you would like us to try to create a custom color recipe using Rit all-purpose dye for your pants, please send a picture of the color you would like to achieve along with the fabric content of the pants to colorformula@theritstudio.com.

        • Flavio Trejo

          What if I use the whole bottle

          • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

            Hi Flavio, Rit color remover would be required to take the fabric back to an off-white or cream color prior to dyeing. Because green is darker than sand stone, the green would overpower the sand stone color. Using more dye would not help in this instance.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hi Jay, Thank you for reaching out. One bottle of black dye will dye up to 1 lb. of dry weight fabric using 3 gallons of water or the low setting on a washing machine. Rit offers instructions for dyeing black, black that you might find helpful: https://www.ritdye.com/2014/03/28/keep-calm-rit-on-rebeccas-4-top-tips-for-dyeing-black-black/ If your jeans are currently dark blue, we would recommend adding in 1/2 package of Rit dark brown dye to help achieve a true black. Let us know if you have any other questions we can help you with.

    • Chris

      I have a pair of light Khakis I want to dye a dark teal. They are 98% cotton 2% spandex. I am going to wear them with a light colored shirt and I want to make sure there will be no color transfer during wear. What method is best to avoid that?

      • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

        Hi Chris, Thank you for reaching out. Please send a picture of the color you would like to achieve, along with the fabric content of the Khakis, to colorformula@theritstudio.com and we will try to create a custom color recipe for you. The key points for Rit dye to successfully adhere to fabric is very hot water, 140 to 160 degrees, and constant agitation. You might also refer to tips for successful dyeing: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/tips-for-successful-dyeing/ As long as the correct steps are followed when dyeing, the dye will not bleed off.

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Fiona,

      Thank you for reaching out.  We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and many plastics, like ABS and poly-based plastics, beautifully. We would suggest checking the fabric care label to ensure you are using the correct dye line for your project.
       
      If you are working with fabric that is dyeable using Rit’s all purpose dyes, we would recommend using Rit color remover to take the fabric back to an off-white or cream color and prepare it for dyeing a new color. If you are working with a synthetic fabric, Rit color remover will not be able to remove the existing color so that you can dye it a new color.
       
      If you are able to use the color remover to take the fabric back to an off-white shade, please provide the following information and we will try to create a custom color recipe for you.
       
      Here are some helpful tips for you: https://www.ritdye.com/techniques/tips-for-successful-dyeing/.

      Thank you,
      Rit Dye

    • https://www.facebook.com/Margauruitte Margaret C Pritchett

      I would like to re-color my work jeans black. They are inexpensive walmart jeans that have faded to gray over time and washings. Should i use the black and 1/2 bottle of brown as has been previously mentioned?
      Thank you,
      Margaret

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello,

      We do not offer methods to fade fabric. However, you can use our Rit Color Remover to strip the color off. Hope this helps!

      Thank you,
      Rit Dye

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Jake, If all of the instructions are followed there shouldn’t be any issue with the jacket not coming out as expected. Thanks!

    • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

      Hello Vito, We can definitely help please email: info@ritdye.com we will need to see a picture of the jacket. Thanks!

    • Misty Frame

      I have had an unfortunate accident. I washed a load of whites with bleach, when I put those in the dryer, I put in a load of jeans and unfortunately the bleach didn’t empty on the whites but on my jeans. I have had 3 pair of blue jeans bleached and ruined. I thought I would bleach them out more and then try to dye them blue denim or navy blue again. I was going to throw them out unless you think I could bleach and then re dye. Any suggestions???

     

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