Tie-Dye Shorts - Extending The Life Of A Boy's Pants

I know, I know, it's fall but I loved this project so much I have to blog about it.

I was brainstorming ideas to up-cycle my boys old, holey, faded, too short jeans. We have an ample supply of basic jeans shorts so I knew I wanted something different, a little more stylish and not just more basic cut offs. With the current trending of 90's style, the first idea that came to my mind was tie-dye. Needless to say, we're all obsessed with how the final product turned out. This project is KIDDO FRIENDLY beginning on Step 4.


Old Jeans or Pants



Tie-Dye Kit or Fabric Dye


Spray Bottle

Tarp or Plastic Tablecloth

Step ONE:

Choose your pants and cut to desired length. Because my boys jeans tend to get holes in the knees we opt'd for above the knee shorts. You can either go freestyle or use a current pair of shorts to get the perfect fit. We added a little extra distressing because why not! It's trending tooI used scissors and tweezers to create some additional wear but you can use sandpaper, a butter knife or cheese grater to create distressed patterns.

Step TWO:

This is a two part dying process. First you need to create a lighter backdrop for the colors to stick too. In a spray bottle create a 50/50 bleach solution. Half bleach and half water. Spray the jeans in the desired areas or create patterns you want the color to adhere too. Time varies depending on the original color of the denim. Leave it on for as long as a needed. I would not leave overnight because the bleach can deteriorate the denim.

NOTE: It works best on a big flat surface, I used my backyard. If you need to protect the area lay down a tarp or plastic tablecloth.


Wash your bleached denim but DO NOT DRY. You'll want to leave them wet. While they're washing clean off your work surface so you don't accidentally bleach more.

Step Four:

Grab the kiddos, let them choose their desired color combo and go to town! I purchased this tie-dye kit at Hobby Lobby on sale for just $18. I used a stiff paint brush to blend the dye into the jeans. Once you've reached your color vibrancy move onto the next step.

Step FIVE:

Now the hard part! Waiting! Once you've got all the dye on, cover the dyed material and let it sit for up to 24 hours. The tie-dye instructions said 8 hours but in my past experience I've found the longer the better. I covered ours with another plastic tablecloth. If you want a DIY-free space you can put each items into a ziploc bag, plastic grocery bag or wrap in the saran wrap.

Step SIX:

The final step is to wash again. I washed each one individually and hung them to dry.

My boys have had a blast wearing their new shorts. We all love the way they turned out. If you try this project, leave me a comment below with how it worked for you!

Happy DIYing!


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