Thursday, April 19, 2012

DIY Dye: Bootcut Mint Green Jeans

I work in a dangerous area. I don't mean hardhats and power tools dangerous, I mean spending-grocery-money-on-clothes dangerous. That's right, I work in a shopping district. Within two blocks of my office there are Banana Republic, Zara, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and H&M, just to name a few. Lunch breaks can be a time of great temptation.

I'm proud of myself that I usually come back empty-handed. I manage this by using shopping excursions not to buy, but to gather ideas and inspiration. A spring trend that I've seen in many stores (and all over Pinterest) is bright colored jeans. My favorite color I've seen is a very spring-like mint color. Looking at it just makes me think of big deep swimming pools and spoonfuls of mint-chip ice cream. Oh so yummy.

There's only one problem. All these bright minty jeans only seem to come in skinny cut. I love skinny cut, but it isn't the most flattering style on me (wide hips) so I try to avoid it. Also, most of them are pretty pricey.

Here are some examples:

Hudson Collin Mint Jeans an Neiman Marcus $165

Mint Green Insight Beanpole Skinny Jeans at Urban Outfitters $89

GUESS? Brittney Skinny Aqua Wash at Macy's $67

But as I always say, if they don't make it the way you want it, make it yourself. (I totally always say that...I swear.) So I decided to dye my own mint green jeans.

I was off to the thrift store again, this time in search of white jeans to dye. I tried on a few pairs until I found two that fit. I had intended to only buy one, but one pair was 50% off. Usually I try not to be a sucker for a deal, but at the thrift store this means I got a pair of Tommy Hilfiger carpris for $3! A pair of Express bootcut jeans set me back about $6.

Choosing my dye colors was easy after a visit to the Rit Dye website. They have color palettes organized by color family in their formula guide. Click on a color and they give you the mixing ratios.

To find the perfect color I opened a few browser windows with examples of mint pants from around the web, and matched my favorites to a similar color in the Rit guide in another window. The color I chose was Green #238, one part teal dye to one part lemon yellow.

Just like in my dress dyeing adventure, I chose to use the washing machine dyeing method. I set the washer for a small load with hot water. Rit recommends having just enough water for the garments to move freely.

My main concern was making sure the pants came out in a bright pastel color. The color swatch for Green #238 on Rit's website was a little darker than I'd consider pastel, so instead of using the entirety of both packets of powder dye, I used only half of each. Even still, the color of the dye as I pre-dissolved it in water, and even after I added it to the washer, was a surprisingly dark teal. But dye always looks a lot darker on it's own.

After soaking both pairs of jeans in hot water (to open up the fibers and ready them to accept the dye) I plopped both into the washer. Then I sat on top of the washer (an optional step) to keep an eye on the washer cycle. Every time it neared the spin mode, I set it back to keep agitating. I tend to let the dye soak in for a few more minutes than is recommended, just to be sure.

When the time was up, I rushed the pants over to the dryer, anxious to see the results as soon as possible. Did I get the light but bright mint green I was looking for?


I found pairing my new pants with a similarly bright or light color keeps them from looking over the top or overpowering the entire outfit. I paired my new bootcut mint jeans with a blue paisley scarf tied into a shirt, and dark blue suede pumps.

And here's my lovely twin sister, modeling the capris which I sent to her as a surprise. Great color-blocking with the mint jeans and the pink top.

Ultimately, I'm glad I only added half of each dye packet. Any darker would have been darker than I had hoped for. I can't wait to wear these out on the town and have someone ask me where I got them!


  1. how long did you leave in the washer?

    1. I left them in for half an hour.

      (Sorry for the late response)

  2. Thank you had to re-dye a shirt I bought & now I'm gonna dye a skirt too thanks to your blog. Happy dyeing trails!