This Bizarre Tie Dye Method Transforms Old White Jeans

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
4 Materials
1 Day

I'm a big fan of tie dye, especially when it comes to upcycling clothes. It's an easy way to update old pieces and make them just as good as the trendy and expensive pieces major fast fashion brands are currently selling.

However, when I choose to dye a pair of white jeans with *just* black tie-dye and ice cubes, I was in for a surprise!

The result was a techni-color, abstract printed effect. In this tutorial I'm going to share how I got this unique result with just one "color" of dye.

If you're crazy about tie-dye and want to see this project in action, you can see this project as well as several others in my YouTube video tutorial above.

For this project I thrifted a pair of white jeans from one of my local stores. They were almost 100% cotton. This kind of technique works best with natural fibers.

To prepare my jeans for dying I soaked them in a bath of soda ash. This removes oil and dirt from the fibers so the dye is as vibrant as possible.

I purchased this Tulip tie-dye party kit for several projects. The dye in this kit comes in bottles with powder dye at the bottom.

The instructions tell you to mix water in the bottle, but for this project we are leaving the powder dye as is.

The final tool you'll need for this project is ice, crushed or cubed.

Once my jeans had soaked in the soda ash for about 20 minutes, I removed them and removed as much of the excess soda ash as possible.

I spread them out, outside to avoid making a mess and slightly crinkled the material with my fingers so the dye would hit different parts and create a natural wrinkled tie dye look.

Normally when you tie dye with ice you will want to completely cover your garment with ice. In this case I wanted to try out something different so I only placed a few cubes on the jeans.

Then I sprinkled them with the plain black powdered dye from the bottle.

I was surprised to find the effect was something out of this world.

The primary colors that make black are yellow, red, and blue and the powdered pigments split up and separated on my jeans! It created almost a firework, 4th of July effect.

This would be a fun project with kids to teach them color theory! Its not often you actually get to see the colors separate like this.

I let the ice melt and left the dye on the jeans for 24 hours before washing the jeans. First I rinsed them in cold water until the water ran clear, then I rinsed them in hot water until the water ran clear. I finished the cleansing process by washing the jeans in the washing machine on hot water and drying them in the dryer.

Once the pants were dry I was excited to see the abstract print survived the washing process.

Meanwhile the powdered pigments that sat in the melting ice created a water color, marble tie-dyed effect.

The finished effect makes me feel like I'm wearing a piece of art!

This look may not be for everyone, but certainly produces an upcycle that's one of a kind!

If you try this for yourself let me know how your project comes out. I would love to see it!

If you would like to see more unique upcycling ideas, visit my YouTube channel for tons of project tutorials!

Suggested materials:
  • Thrifted jeans
  • Black tie dye powder
  • Soda ash
See all materials

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2 of 20 comments
  • Koetiquemade Koetiquemade on Aug 04, 2021

    Wow! That abstract result is so gorgeous! I had no idea black due would do that. It makes sense tho. Makes me want to try it🙌🏻

  • Judy Perry Judy Perry on Aug 09, 2021

    Very nice outcome. But I was wondering how the back of the pants turned out. Did you do them again or did the dye soak thru