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DIY Fashionista: How to Darken Your Faded Jeans

How to Save Your Faded Jeans DIY tutorial fabric dye RIT navy black Angela Conley fashion

Dark blue jeans are a must-have in a women’s closet. They’re versatile, timeless, and slimming. Yes, you are beautiful just the way you are. But if you’re like me, you don’t mind your trunk looking like it has a little less junk.

So what do you do when your beloved dark skinny jeans have lost their inky appeal? Give em a bath of liquid fabric dye. To get a truly deep hue, I used both black and navy blue dyes–I wanted my jeans to have a rich but dark hue.

Since I live in an apartment, I didn’t take any chances with dyeing them in the washing machine. Instead, I used a plastic container to do my dirty work, so this tutorial will be based on that. If you use the washer, check the bottle as the process will be different.

NOTE: this tutorial is for one pound of dry, cotton fabric.


  • Jeans
  • Plastic container or bucket (at least 5 gallons)
  • Plastic gloves
  • Paint stick (or other stirring device that can withstand dye)
  • 3 gallons of water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1-8 oz. bottle Rit Black liquid dye
  • 1-8 oz. bottle Rit Navy Blue liquid dye


  1. Boil the water. Pour into your plastic container, adding the salt. Stir.
  2. Add 1/2 a bottle of the black dye plus 1/2 a bottle of the navy blue dye. Stir.
  3. Slowly immerse jeans into the dye bath. Stir.
  4. Dye for 60 minutes, stirring frequently. I set my timer and stirred every 7-10 minutes.
  5. Rinse jeans in water, getting out as much dye as you can.
  6. Wash jeans in the washer with detergent. Use the large load setting so more water is used to rinse out the dye. Do not wash with other clothes, as there’s still dye to come out.
  7. Wash jeans 2 more times without detergent.
  8. Throw em in the dryer.

DIY Fashionista How to Save Darken Your Faded Jeans Tutorial Liquid Fabric Dye Rit Black Navy Blue Angela Conley

Check out how the dye doesn’t affect the stitching. That’s because Rit dye is for cotton fabrics and the stitching is not cotton. Pretty awesome, right?

DIY Fashionista How to Save Darken Your Faded Jeans Tutorial Liquid Fabric Dye Rit Black Navy Blue Angela Conley

This is a very easy project that I’d definitely do again— the hardest part was not getting dye on anything while stirring (I was not too successful). The best part is I saved a lot of money, sweat, and tears by not having to shop for new jeans. It would also be a great project to try for turning white jeans into a bright, colored pair.

Have you ever dyed any of your clothing? Do you love dark jeans as well? What’s your preferred method for fabric dyeing?

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2 thoughts on “DIY Fashionista: How to Darken Your Faded Jeans

  1. I’ve dyed a lot o things, but never thought to re-dye my jeans to make them look new and not faded! Love it. (PS I have done white jeans to a bright fun color and it works great. I did yellow jeans and the white stitching stayed white so it looked really good.)


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