Denim DIY – Dip Dye Bleach Shorts

First of a few DIYs for denim that’ll I’ll be posting about for cheap super looks!

I saw these Murua denim shorts and I was in love.

However, I was not willing to pay $90 :sage: , I found them a bit too ripped :sage: , as an apple shape high-waisted and me aren’t friends :sage: , and Murua’s denim usually goes to size 0/2-2/4 (US) while I’m a size 6/8. So enter DIY!!  :peace:

I already had a pair of denim that was too boring in my closet, so I figured might as well try  :)

What you’ll need:

A bucket

A bathtub

White Vinegar

Bleach (not the color safe stuff)

A hanger with clips


Denim Shorts

Scissors (optional)

Nail Buffer (optional)

I had everything at home except for the bleach so my personal cost of materials was $3.00.

$3.00! WTF! SO CHEAP!!



Step One: Secure the Denim in the Bucket

I had an adjustable hanger which made this a breeze, any hanger with clips should work.

I did this in my bathtub, it’s best done outdoors but I live in an apartment up high and have no backyard.

Step Two: Pour in the Bleach

Fill the bucket with bleach. For this project and the size of my bucket it took all the bottle of bleach I had.

WARNING: Bleach will run! Do not fill it up to the level you want to be bleached, fill it up 2 inches lower than that or more!

With gloved hands make sure your shorts are as straight as possible in the bleach to assure a more even bleach line. If you don’t have gloves you will end up burned  :omg: So treat your pretty hands nice  :up:

Step Three: Leave soaking around 20-30 minutes

If you’re doing this in your bathroom remember to keep your door locked if you have pets and the vent fan on. Bleach can get really noxious!

I used my “stopwatch” option on my iPhone and went in every 10 minutes to check on the bleaching and make sure the hem was straight.

OPTIONAL //WARNING// Step Four: Remove, Wash and Bathe with White Vinegar

This is not a tint to my photo, the bleach looks yellow  a bit grody don’t you think :regret: That’s okay it’ll look fine soon!

Wash your shorts with water and then wash them with white vinegar and water. This stops the bleaching process. You may be thinking to yourself, “Why stop? I want them white!” It’s because bleach can create holes in your shorts and really degrade them. Don’t worry, they’ll be white!

Warning: As pointed out if you do not thoroughly wash out your bleach you will create a harmful gas (read below in comments) you must thoroughly wash out your bleach or skip the vinegar step.

Step Five: Wash your shorts!

After washing them twice in the washing machine and drying them they are pure white!

I didn’t stick by the 2 inch rule and instead read 1 on-line and learned the hard way about runny bleach. A bit higher than I wanted, but I still love them  :loveword:

Step Six: Optional – Damage them

I cut lines with scissors out then I used a rough nail buffer and started the wear. You don’t need a nail buffer, but it looks more worn and damaged that way. Just buff the hell out of the lines and poof, damage! The more you wear them, the more damaged they’ll look. I wore them twice after this so far and the lines are much more frayed and pretty.  :stepup:

I love these 10x more than the original denim and all it took was an hour total and $3.00 for me to do it. Super easy, huh?

Part of me is thinking of going back in with a light blue RIT fabric dye and creating the fade like the Murua pair, but I do really love the sharp contrast though  :up: Like a cloud-line  :lovecat:

EDIT/Disclaimer: Your shorts may turn out differently. Bleach is different. Denim is different. A year later and my shorts have held up wonderfully.  :bow:


    • Mitsu April 15, 2013 / 10:29 am

      I did not say mix. I said wash out chlorine use vinegar. Do not add one to the other. But I’ll link this and warn people.

      • Amanda April 24, 2013 / 3:54 pm

        “That stupid” oow. Not really necessary but thanks for pointing that out. And awesome job on the shorts Mitsu! I love them.

  1. Lindsey May 14, 2013 / 10:11 pm

    When I tried to rinse my shorts the fabric ripped apart. And I left it in for not even twenty minutes.

  2. Sher May 16, 2013 / 1:56 pm

    How much white vinegar do i use ? and just to make sure i wash them with just water and then wash them with the vinegar?

  3. Kaitlyn May 25, 2013 / 11:45 am

    So I bleached the shorts and I left them there for a while because they were really dark and now it’s mostly yellow. How can I fix that?

    • Mitsu May 27, 2013 / 12:16 pm

      More bleach. Yellow is the cause of not enough bleach.

      • Laura June 20, 2013 / 3:57 pm

        Yellowing is from over bleaching, if you watch really carefully youll see the stage where the yellow startsshowing up, bleaching them more at this point will just make hem more yellow, its a chemical reaction from the bleach, what I do is try to take them out when I see yellowing (i always end up with a bit, rinse them really really well then use a colour remover in boiling water, it will take a lot of the yellow tinge out. Warning: don’t use bleach and colour remover at the same time, the sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and sodium hydrosulphite (colour remover) will react with one another and cancel each other out, so I always make sure the bleach is washed out really well first and the clothing dried before starting a new chemical process. Also you can use a whitener with optical pigments in the rinse cycle, I know Tintex makes one, and im pretty sure Rit does also, I think Dylon probably does as well. Hope all this helps! I bleach denim all the time, probably 4 things in the last week or two!! :) You can’t have summertime without throwing some white denim into the wardrobe!!

  4. Amana May 30, 2013 / 1:41 pm

    I was just wondering how long this took you?

    • Mitsu May 31, 2013 / 11:50 am

      About 2 hours? It wasn’t that long.

  5. Trinity June 7, 2013 / 6:35 pm

    uhh is it all right if i cut rips in it while its wet ? well i woudnt say wet but damped ?

  6. Marissa June 18, 2013 / 4:49 pm

    why do u need vinager!?!?!

    • Mitsu June 18, 2013 / 5:37 pm

      It’s not necessary but it can stop the bleaching process asap. Be safe with it. It’s best just to quick as possible rinse them out several times then immediately wash them.

  7. Marissa June 18, 2013 / 5:02 pm

    Also what do u wash them with in the washing machine!?!?!

    • Mitsu June 18, 2013 / 5:36 pm

      Just alone with laundry soap.

  8. Bekah June 22, 2013 / 5:36 pm

    when I cut the shorts I kept one of the legs so I could test it. I want all the parts of the shorts white. the shorts I’m using are not denium there kind of a dark baby blue so… colored jeans.
    anyway I put the pant leg in my bathtub and poured bleach on it I came back about 10 min. later and it was bright yellow? is there something I’m doing wrong? I just want a way that will make them bright white when I actually put my shorts in the bleach I haven’t yet because I didn’t want to ruin them

  9. Jacqueline June 29, 2013 / 8:20 am

    If you dry the jeans in the dryer will they fall apart..?

    • Mitsu June 30, 2013 / 12:12 pm

      My jeans have been washed and dried in a dryer for the last year and still good.

  10. Chelsea July 17, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    Everything went perfectly but when I rinsed off my shorts in a water + vinegar mixture, the part that was still blue faded and tinted orange /: help?

    • Lesly August 2, 2013 / 9:10 am

      I had the same problem! Mine are in the washing machine now so I’ll see how they turned out when that’s done, but the vinegar soak turned my blue parts orange too :(

  11. Abby August 1, 2013 / 7:09 pm

    I didn’t use the bucket one. I put bleach with a little bit of water in a spray bottle, and went outside and sprayed them like crazy! Then I rinsed them in ice cold water. I made the holes where I wanted them to be. Then I washed them (By themselves) And Bam! They came out looking gooooood! But, I like your idea too! :)

  12. Carmela August 7, 2013 / 2:32 am

    I bleached my shorts and it turned yellow

  13. Carmela August 7, 2013 / 2:33 am

    It became yellow :( what should i do to make it perfect white?

    • Mitsu August 7, 2013 / 3:11 pm

      Bleach more. Each denim is different.

      • mbb May 20, 2015 / 10:57 pm

        My shorts turned to yellow? What will i do? Please HELP!

        • Mitsu May 21, 2015 / 12:18 am

          Not enough bleach. Wash them a few more times or bleach again

  14. Carmela August 7, 2013 / 2:35 am

    What is the right measurement of water and bleach to make it white?

  15. true August 7, 2013 / 8:24 am

    Hi, i used vinegar knowing the risks but i washed it out eith sopa i didnt know that it could kill u but before i did it i washed the shorts with sopa and rinsed alot will i be okay? I also held my beath because i hate the smell of vinegar. Will i be okay? I didnt have gloves

  16. Ellie May 4, 2014 / 8:07 pm

    Mine turned out great. But then when I washed them they ripped all over

    • Mitsu May 4, 2014 / 8:37 pm

      I think you may have over bleached them. Mine were cheap denim and have still lasted.

  17. dakotah July 27, 2014 / 1:17 am

    if you put about a teaspoon of laundry detergent… they wont be yellow

  18. unknown August 28, 2014 / 4:58 pm

    mine ripped off aswell :( even right after leaving it after 15 minutes

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