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Making the fade
Experiment with some of these instant-aging techniques, and you'll have jeans to dye for.
By BRIAN ORLOFF
Published October 13, 2003
[Times photos: Nikki Life]
Everyone knows: faded is the fad. But who wants to pay the huge price tag for a pair of worn-out-looking jeans? Not us!
Being crafty, creative and, perhaps, a bit crazy, we took matters into our own hands. Grab your jeans. Get your dye. Definitely ask your parents' permission. And pay attention. We have tips galore to share.
No. 1: On these jeans, we decided to add a tint like we've seen in high-end stores, where the jeans can cost $100 or more. We decided red might complement the denim. Girls, who doesn't want a ruby sparkle when you're walking in the sun?
We bought packaged Crimson Rit dye. Follow the directions on the package, first wetting the denim, then adding hot water and dye. We did these in a stainless steel kitchen sink. Get your parent's permission first because, remember, this stuff stains (hello, it is dye!). While soaking the jeans in the red water for 30 minutes, we stirred frequently. One thing we learned: Rit wasn't kidding when it said to wear gloves. Our hands were all red. We pulled the jeans out and discovered they had a purple, not red, glow. Maybe we kept them in too long. Still, they're kind of fun.
No. 2: We wondered: Are acid-washed jeans still cool? We took Clorox, some funky sponges and used the sunlight to add a pattern to our jeans. Because of the fumes and smell, be careful when working with bleach. Before bleaching, definitely grab a parent (or adult) to supervise. And make sure you wear gloves and work outside. We poured the bleach into a plate and dipped the sponge, pressing it into the jeans. Things got a little sloppy when we dripped bleach on the jeans, but we decided to turn the splatter into a pattern.
No. 3: We distressed and dyed these jeans. To distress, try a cheese grater. We also used sandpaper and a large rock, which worked as well. Distressing is simple. Just rub the tools against the jeans. We tried the pocket areas, the legs and the seat of the pants.
Now for the dyeing: this time, we used the washing machine. Again, follow package directions. We opted for a brown stain and soaked the jeans in the wash for 30 minutes. The jeans had a perfect chocolate brown look. For a less complete dye job, try sectioning off segments of the pants, dipping and dyeing one leg, for instance.
No. 4: Our last pair was our most experimental. We decided to boot stomp jeans, adding a funky dyed pattern to the legs. First, we poured the dye into a paper plate. We took the jeans outside and dipped our boot into the dye. Then, we stomped away! Make sure you use boots you don't mind wrecking. After all, you are working with dye. This technique gives you total creative control over the pattern.