Adding Color to Faded Jeans

Jupiterimages/ Images

Jeans gradually lose their color over time, as the dye leaches out over several washings, and oxidation from sun exposure and other elements takes effect. Jeans can also fade if they are accidentally bleached, in which case the fading may be unsightly or uneven. Faded jeans are considered fashionable, so you have several options when it comes to making your faded jeans wearable. You can add a little color back to faded jeans by simply washing them with new jeans, by dyeing them or by adding colored embellishments and decorations to create new, dramatic effects.


The simplest way to add color back to a pair of faded jeans is to put them in the washing machine with a load of new, or newer, jeans. Jeans and other denim items are rarely colorfast and the denim fabric easily and quickly absorbs dyes in the wash. If you’ve ever put a red item in with white items in the washing machine, you’ve probably seen the lovely, even pink dye effect that it produces. Harvest this power to your own benefit by putting faded black jeans with a black load, or faded blue jeans with a blue load for an instant, even color boost.


You can use dye packets designed for home use to add color back to faded jeans. You can dye the jeans in the washing machine, with the benefits of being able to determine what colors you will get from the dyeing process, the promise of even color results and the ability to dye multiple garments at once. For more precise control of your color and final results, you can do a traditional dye job in your kitchen, by boiling preshrunk, all-cotton jeans in a mixture of dye and salt water.


If your jeans are unevenly faded, patchy or just faded in spots, you can add a boost of color and style by embellishing or decorating the jeans. You can sew pretty, colored appliqués or patches over faded spots for an artsy effect. You can paint decorations and splashes of color onto the jeans with fabric paint, taking advantage of the contrast between the faded background of the jeans and the brightness of the splashes of color. You can also sew or glue colored rhinestones or beads onto the faded jeans to add a “bedazzled” shot of color and give new life to a faded pair of denims.


When adding color to faded jeans, take into consideration your creative skills, your age, the age and condition of the jeans and the ways in which you plan to style the jeans in your wardrobe. Dip-dye and tie-dye multicolor effects are suitable for artsy, creative and young people, while embellishments might be more suitable for teenagers. Older people and those who wear jeans to work might prefer to simply dye their jeans in dark, solid colors.