Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bleached Denim, a DIY

You might think that I am crazy but I am kind of really digging the Isabel Marant Spring 2012 stuff that Rhianna was recently spotted sporting on her "Battleship" tour of the world (or so it seems). Once I pinpointed what it was exactly that I liked, I determined that it was, GASP!, the bleached denim look. But do I have $435.00 for a shirt? At press time, I do not have $435.00 to spend. So what's a girl to do? You go it dude. She's got to do it herself.

Want to see what I worked on? Obviously being veeeeery careful with bleach in my home haha...

Via Snappylifestyle
So initially I was inspired by Isabel Marant's collection but I almost wanted something darker after doing a little research. In looking up tips on how to bleach denim without eating it completely away, I came upon a lot of celebs wearing the dark denim bleached out. I think that if I could work bleached denim into my wardrobe, it would have to be of the darker varietal. Anyways, so now my path was clear. Let's make me some new jeans, preferable ones I could roll up to look kind of cute. Onward bleaching soldiers...

What I needed:
  • Bleach
  • Gloves, to protect your skin
  • Denim, I picked up some clearance Old Navy jeans
  • Junk clothes to work in
  • Tub or "bleach safe" area to work in
  • Rubber bands, optional
  • Spray bottle, optional

In order to prepare my space and to ensure that the man would be comfortable with me bleaching in our home, I strictly confined myself to the bathroom, taking all rugs and towels out of the room. In addition, I laid some trash bags down just for that added element of protection. After doing this in it's completion, I would recommend doing this outdoors or somewhere extremely well ventilated, just a tip.

Wikihow describes many different ways to bleach your denim but I wanted to make sure that I was going to get the desired look, you know the one where I am in heels waiting for a cab, looking effortless and cool... I end up going with little rubber bands and a cup with spoon, you know, for drizzling.

I started by making sure my jeans were wet. I read a lot of articles and it seems you have more control and more importantly, more time, when you wet the fabric. If you bleach on dry, you have to basically rapid fire in order for the bleach not to eat at the fabric. Any way, I found this to be a more tedious way of doing things because I like to see results instantly. Results were not instantaneous but they were pretty quick, even with the wet denim.

I tucked little bits of the jeans in order to get slight tie dyed effects. I didn't want them to be too hippy dippy but it seemed like the easiest way to have a tempered effect. Turns out that I was right. I would recommend this in any of your endeavors. (Note: I used those tiny hair elastics

Once I had everything in place, I just began to drizzle bleach onto the jeans over the puckered areas and also where I wanted the jeans to be the most faded. I chose the bottom of the legs, one back pocket and some other random spots. What I quickly realized was that this was a time commitment. I had to keep reapplying bleach to the areas where I wanted them treated the most because since I had wet my jeans, it was taking longer for the bleach to take affect. Don't be fooled though, my jeans came out plenty bleached.

After turning my jeans over and applying bleach, and over and applying bleach multiple times, I decided that I had made a good amount of progress with the bleach. Also, I was getting a little dizzy. I recommend taking a break because anytime you work with bleach or the like, you can get sick from the fumes. Anyhow, I stopped the bleach application and was glad that I had. When I ran these jeans through the wash (with some scrap towels) and then dried, they came out lighter than they went in, which pleased me very much. Because of this effect, I recommend stopping before you reach your desired "fade" so that it goes that little bit further when you wash them.

While this took a little longer than I thought, I am actually really happy with the final outcome. There are extremely light portions and then some dark. I think if I were ever to do this again though, I would be more deliberate with my placement of bleached spots, for a more designer look. 

     How do you think my bleached denim came out?

  • Use caution with liquid bleach.
  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. These create a potentially lethal gas.
  • Use precautionary measures to prevent accidental spills or stains.
  • Bleaching black jeans leave an orange color.


  1. Very creative!!

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  2. Girlfriend, you rock them.

  3. That's a really nice DIY! Since you mentioned it was taking longer to take effect because your jeans were wet, you can try running your wet jeans through the washing machine's spin dry to get rid of the excess water. I have bleached my jeans dry to produce a really defined bleach area so maybe i'll try a combination of the two! I also use a spray bottle with the bleach.

  4. Nana Sánchez-DopicoApril 18, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Really nice post, I love your jeans!

  5. Oh, you did a great job dear!
    I might try that aswell. Thank you!


  6. how long did it take to bleach them that light?

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