April 21, 2012

Denim Shorts: From Frumpy to Fab!

-Tray or bucket to bleach the shorts in
-fabric dye in the colors of your choice
-squirt bottle for the fabric dye
-Sand paper

 Step One

Submerge the shorts in bleach 
Make sure you wear the gloves while bleaching the shorts or else your hands with smell like bleach for a very long time!! Not to mention its probably not the best for your skin. 
Keep the shorts submerged until they have reached your desired color. 
After they reach the lightness you want rinse the bleach out using a hose, a shower, sink or whatever you prefer. I suggest putting them through the rinse cycle in the washing machine ONLY AFTER you rinse them thoroughly. 

Step Two

 Mix your fabric dye according to the instructions on the box. I chose to use on of these ketchup-like squirt bottles that I found at Hobby Lobby. You can use a mist bottle or even a sponge or paint brush depending on your desired outcome. 

Lay your shorts out on a blanket that you don't mind getting dye on-I recommend doing this outside but still use the blanket so you don't dye the concrete. 

It's pretty much up to you to put the color where you want, you can do it really neat but I just kind of let it go wherever. 


After you've finished with the dye, let it sit on the shorts for 30 mins to an hour. 
After that rinse them under cold water until the water runs clear. Again you can put them through the rinse cycle in the washing machine, but you should probably rinse them first. After you've rinsed them hang them and let them dry thoroughly over night 
You can put them in the dryer if you choose, I just didn't want mine to shrink. 

Step Three

After you've rinsed them a lot of the dye is going to come out.

But now I'm going to distress them using two methods: 

First I'm going to sort of "rake" my scissors across the seems to add a little distressing around the pockets and the legs. 

Then I used some sand paper to rub holes into the fabric. 
You can distress the denim before you bleach or dye it but I recommend waiting until after you bleach them because the distressing will be easier as the denim will be broken down a little from the bleach. 

 And you're done!! 

Jeans: Salvation Army- $3.99
Dye: Hobby Lobby- $2.29
Bottle: Hobby Lobby- $1.29

Time spent: ~3hrs

Thanks for reading!
Let me know if you have recommendations of what you'd like to see next! 


  1. this is an awesome guide and I think I'm going to attempt this feat this weekend. I'm going for something more like this though: http://instagr.am/p/J2yvbhkace/

    Any tips on what to use to tape off the sections?

    1. If I were doing it myself, I would probably use blue painters tape for the stripes and cut it into star shapes for the stars. Although, to me it kind of looks like they might have used spray paint instead of dye to make those.
      good luck!