Tie-Dye Denim Mini Using Tulip Fabric Dye…for $12.

Tie-dyed denim is ba-a-aaack this season (sure you probably thought you’d never see the day) but it’s a blotchy, abstract dye that’s all over the runways…and all over celebs and fashionistas in the know. (And what I got knocked for in Challenge #1 in America’s Most Stylish Blogger competition. Whatever! If you haven’t noticed this trend – insert your head back in its hole in the sand.) Whether you embrace it or stay far, far away – using the crumple dye technique on your fabric is fun and virtually hassle-free (compared to some other tie-dye techniques that involve rubber-banding, stirring fabric for 15 minutes continuously etc.).

This is an image from Victoria’s Secret most recent catalog…and you can buy the sweater here but the skirt strangely seems to be unavailable. And I want that skirt.

So I used Tulip Permanent Fabric Dye and a denim miniskirt I found at the thrift store to create an abstract, funky dye-pattern.

The first step was bleaching the skirt to remove the color. This was accomplished by soaking in a hot water & bleach solution (ratio like 8:1 or something like that)…for like 8 hours. Had I used full-strength bleach (or a smaller ratio of water to bleach), the process would have been much quicker, but it also would have caused rusting on the metal embellishments on the skirt (zipper, grommets etc.), weakened the fabric fibers and seams, and even perhaps burned holes in the fabric or given the piece an orange tint. So to be safe I diluted.

Most of the color was removed by this method. Ran it through the wash cycle (with detergent) to get rid of any remaining bleach.

Now it’s time for the dye!

Following the instructions, I created a dyebath of Black fabric dye…and dipped the skirt into it. I then pulled it out quickly, crumpled it on top of a spread-out garbage bag, and spooned dye from the bath onto certain areas of the skirt. Hmm…it didn’t work so well. By giving it that initial dip in the bath, I found that the skirt soaked up a base gray color that wouldn’t show any darker black areas like I had intended. Ohwell. Frustrated, I poured some bleach (undiluted this time) back on the skirt in certain areas. After a few minutes as I watched some areas of the skirt lighten to a muddy brown, I washed the whole thing in cold water, then threw it in the wash cycle of the washing machine (sans detergent this time). And this is what I got:
Definitely not what I was going for. I then wet the skirt, crumpled it up again on another garbage bag, and spooned black dye from the dyebath onto certain areas of the skirt, crumpling as I went. I left it for a short time, covered in garbage bag, then pulled it out and ran cold water through it. Back to the washing machine (no detergent) and into the dryer, and I got this…

It’s hard to see, but the skirt is more gray-and-white-tinted than before.
(Kenneth Cole new york sweater, DIY Old Navy denim mini-skirt, Sam Edelman Zoe boots, unknown puffball ring)

Somehow I never look quite the same as the Victoria’s Secret model does. Hmmm.
And EVERYONE needs a puffball ring. It’s just a Fact of Life.

The final product: the tie-dyed skirt. I definitely wanted it to be black & gray…but this stone blue/gray/little bit of brown thing is cool, too. You just never know when you’re dying denim and working with bleach!

In reality Tulip One-Step Fashion Dye would make more sense for this project, especially since you’re applying dye directly to the fabric. But I used what I had! Perhaps I’ll try another application to make it more black at some point in the future, but I’m kind of satisfied with what I have now.

Also, if you’d like some different fabric-dyeing projects to try out (just in the nick of time if you’re still stuck on ideas for a Halloween costume!) download the free Fun with Fabric Dye eBook from FaveCrafts.com…This eBook features 28 free fabric dye craft projects organized by 18 different dye techniques, with step-by-step photo instructions. Not only does the eBook include a great variety of stylish clothing craft projects for all ages, but it also features home decorating projects, accessories and holiday projects too.

Definitely try your hand at the DIY tie-dye denim mini…just don’t dip the whole thing in the dye after you’ve bleached it out…crumple and spoon, my friends!

Happy DIY’ing…and Happy Halloween!


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