Dip Dyeing for Dip Sh*ts! Swamp Monster Pants and DIY Disasters

This weekend I decided to venture into clothing alteration. And boy was it an ORDEAL.
Publish date:
September 11, 2012
hair, beauty, hair dye

This weekend I got my DIY juices flowing harder than usual. I mean, I’m always packing heat with a glue gun and bedazzling shit manically around my house, but this weekend I decided to venture into clothing alteration. And boy was it an ORDEAL.

The chicks on YouTube and Pinterest make dip dyeing look like a piece of chocolate cake, a walk in the park, A DAY ON THE BEACH -- but in reality, it’s a pain in the ass. Still, the fruits borne from my dip dye labor made the process worthwhile and I ended up with some really awesome green and yellow dip dyed pants. They exude the perfect blend of earthiness and sexy swamp monster, which to me signals perfection.

To say that I’m mildly obsessed with the outcome is an understatement, especially since I had previously (accidentally!) dropped them in a vat of concentrated bleach I had put aside to remove stray green stains with a toothbrush. That’s what ended up making the cream-colored pants kind of yellowish in the end, which I fully dig, though the bleach did bore holes through some of the fabric. Which brings me to rule number one for dip dye:

MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS DILUTE YOUR BLEACH, MY BEAUTIES. Lord, did I learn the hard way. Anyway, I’ll run you through this process and hopefully, if you are less clumsy than yours truly, it will be simple and fun!

Step One: Get two buckets (or two disposable turkey baking pans if you are as ridiculous as I am) and fill one of them up with two parts water and one part bleach.

Make sure that you wear latex gloves or something while handling the bleach, because I did not and my hands are the stinkiest, driest, ugliest things on earth right now.

Step Two: Stick the portion of the pants or shorts that you want to dye in said bleach concoction and leave it soaking for 8-12 hours. If your pants are lighter, this time is cut significantly shorter (mine were a cream color and I left them for about 5 hours).

Step Three: Wring out the bleach from your clothes and rinse them thoroughly. You don’t want to contaminate the dye (which of course I did the first time I tried this). Let them sit out while you prepare the dye color.

Step Four: Fill up the second pan or bucket with hot water. I then proceeded to dump half a bottle of Apple Green Rit dye in the water, which started to look so swampy and creepy almost immediately!

Step Five: Proceed to dip half of the bleached portion of the pants into the dye. Let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Then quickly dip the rest of the bleached pant leg into the dye. Wring the dye out over the pan and rinse the pants until there is no dye residue in the water.

Step Six: Don’t spill bleach all over them -- unless you want a cool, washed-out effect!

I accidentally dropped these suckers in the pan of bleach as I was rinsing out the dye, which actually ended up looking so cool that I went back with a bleach-y toothbrush and faded out the dye even more. Discoveries!

Step Seven: Wash the pants in cold water, dry them, and wear them!

I’ll be the first to admit that this dip dye was totally imperfect and shoddy, but the results look awesome. Plus, DIYs that look unmistakably handmade totally add to the magic of the creative process. I’m proud of these swamp monster pants, yo!

Have you guys attempted and executed this in a less spastic way? Did you drop your pants in bleach or dye and proceed to cry a little bit? Are you actually a professional dip dyer that can discredit any and all of my steps? DO YOU HATE THE SWAMP MONSTER PANTS? Pray tell.