I try to make sure all of my kids have a denim jacket because they are so versatile, pull together an outfit easily, and look great in photos. My only daughter has a bleach dyed polka dot one and I really wanted one to match hers, so I made it happen. (Scroll to bottom to skip tips and get printable instructions)
If you’ve ever wanted to either create your own jean jacket design, or recreate one that you saw and loved, this is a simple tutorial that will get you there both quickly and cheaply using denim that you already own, and simple household bleach.
To most young kids, their parents are superheroes. They take care of everyt
hing, know everything and make sure their little worlds keep spinning.
This post may contain affiliate links. To view. my policies, click here.
I’m largely a clothing minimalist (here’s an article on how to build a toddler capsule wardrobe)…but I love jackets, and consider a denim and leather jacket to be staple pieces in my wardrobe. A couple years ago in Target I found the best polka dotted denim jacket for my daughter. Of course I promptly bought it, a couple sizes bigger so she could keep it for a while.
Ever since, I’ve been looking for a polka dot one for myself to match her, with zero luck. So, I decided to put my own favourite denim jacket on the altar of matching and creativity, and am SO impressed with how it turned out.
In my research I found out that you can also use this method (with a paint brush instead of a Q-tip) to paint designs onto any fabric! Lots of people also dye their denim (if you prefer the more stonewashed look) just using a simple bleach and water mixture and letting it soak. The ideas are endless!
Supplies for bleach dyeing designs onto denim
- A denim jacket (any colour, but a darker jacket will elicit more visible results)
- Bleach, just basic liquid bleach (or try a bleach pen)
- Plastic tablecloth or tablecloth cover (to protect your work surface)
- Pieces of cardboard (to prevent the bleach from seeping through the different fabric layers)
- It’s a good idea to wear rubber Gloves to protect your hands
Tips for bleach dyeing denim
Process for bleach dyeing a design onto denim
1- Place a plastic tablecloth on your working surface, then lay out your denim clothing article
2- Draw your design onto the jean jacket or denim using a pencil or sewing chalk. Skip this step if you are using a simple design or would prefer to freehand the design.
3- Put pieces of cardboard between the fabric layers to prevent the liquid bleach from seeping through the fabric.
4- Put on plastic gloves. Using a q-tip or a paintbrush dipped in bleach, go over your design on your denim fabric. (You can pour some bleach into a small plastic container or I used the lid) The design will appear almost invisible (save for a wet spot where the bleach was applied), but don’t fret! It will take some time for the bleach to start working and your image to show up on the denim.
5- After completing going over your entire design with bleach, allow it to set for 15 minutes. At this point, you will see the the fabric lighten and the level of dye that the fabric has reached. If you would like the design even lighter, go over it again a second or even third time.
6-Allow the garment to dry completely, then wash in the washing machine in cold water without laundry detergent or fabric softener, just to remove the remainder of the bleach from the fabric. After that first wash you can resume washing it as normal.
Safety Precautions for bleach dyeing denim
This is a cheap, simple and fun way to update your denim clothing. I’d love to also give it a go with other types of fabrics.
“Without a vision, the people will perish”.
While working on this DIY project I reflect on who it is in the world and in my own life that I admire. What is my ideal, and what am I aiming for?
One of my most favourite people shared with me recently about her heart opening journey. The deep healing, connectedness and infilling of light that she’s seeking in her own life. “I want to be just like Jesus” she told me, and I was so moved.
I often find myself short changing myself, setting goals that feel “reasonable”. Aiming for what I think I can accomplish through my own will and strength.
The irony, though, is that I want FAR MORE out of life than what I could accomplish with my own human strength.
We all need an ideal. Something so far off, and so beautiful that it will take everything we have and MORE to come even close.
Those are the ideals that keep me inspired everyday. Reminded of the value of the seemingly little steps, and also committed to allowing the magic around me to unfold. I do what I can, and surrender to the flow, abundance and wisdom of the Universe with everything beyond that.
If you tried this project, I’d love to know how it turned out! Let me know in the comments below.
and looking cute while I’m at it,
Frequently asked questions about bleach dyeing designs onto denim:
Will denim turn white if you bleach it?
Yes, denim will turn white if you bleach it. In general, blue denim will turn a lighter blue at first when painted with bleach. It will continue to get lighter (with repeated bleach applications) until it reaches white.
To turn an entire denim item completely white, 1-2 cups of bleach would need to be added to a gallon of water. For dark denim use 2 cups, for lighter denim use 1 cup. Next, place the denim in the bleach water, using a stick to make sure the item is completely submerged. Leave the item in for an hour, and then check back. If it is not yet completely white, leave it for additional increments of 15 minutes until the desired lightness has been reached.
Wash the item by itself with a small amount of laundry soap to wash the bleach out of the fabric before wearing.
Aja Celeste is a mom to 6 beautiful children and a twin mom! She is also creator and writer of That Zoi Life and a professionally trained Evolutionary Astrologer who has been doing astrology for 7 years. She is also a health care assistant, has a Bachelor of Ministry Degree, and is passionate about supporting people in conscious parenting. She also does Psychosomatics using Recall Healing.
Please contact her at [info@ThatZoiLife.com] if you would like to find out more about working with her.