Acid Stonewash Jeans: DIY or Buy?

Fashion always pays homage to the past, and Acid Wash Jeans are one throwback that has slowly infiltrated celebrity and tastemakers’ closets over the last few years. If you don’t want to splurge on new jeans and you’re feeling crafty, read on for steps on repurposing your old jeans into DIY Acid-Wash style.

(image via medium)

What exactly is Acid Wash Denim?

By adding chlorine-soaked pumice stones to the wash cycle, you can achieve the denim’s acid wash and stonewash effect. This process removes the indigo color and alters the overall tone’s harmony while also softening the fabric. The idea is to give denim a lived-in look and makes it more comfortable to wear. Depending on how you carry out the method, this aesthetic spans the spectrum of a uniform look to a more vivid and striking tonal contrast.

Check out some of the various acid wash denim styles from retailers:

Levi’s Delfina Dress, Shop Here

The Delfina Dress by Levi’s has a more subtle and chic look.

Celine Homme Slim-Fit Low-Rise Bleached Camouflage Denim Jeans, Shop Here

Celine Homme’s slim-fit, low-rise, acid wash style denim on Mr. Porter is bold and high-contrast. These are some fancy jeans––the price tag is comparable to a plane ticket to Paris. In skilled hands, you may be able to pull this look off for under $30.

PACSUN Festival Shorts, Shop Here

Super cute and affordable, these shorts are medium-contrast acid wash style with an edgy fringe finish.

Here’s what you need to get started:

– Household bleach

– Rubber bands

– Pummel stone

– An empty spray bottle

– Water

– One bucket

– Gloves

First, you’ll want to choose any denim garment you’re willing to part with and experiment on to get the new acid wash look. If you decide to go with lighter denim jeans, the effect will be subtler. If you go with darker jeans, you might end up with a more noticeably splotchy result.

There are a couple of methods to this madness and we have relatively simple instructions on whichever way you choose

Method One: 

Remember to practice safety first. Wear clear goggles and gloves when using bleach.

Lay your denim on the grass outside.

Fill your spray bottle with bleach. You can dilute the bleach with water if you want to lessen the strength. The longer you leave bleach on an article of clothing the lighter it will get.

The next step is all about experimenting and enjoying the process. Start spraying different sections of your garment until you get the desired effect. You can use a pummel stone in this process by spraying bleach directly on the stone and rubbing on different areas of the jeans in a circular motion. Once the process is complete, wash your denim in cold water.

Pro tip: always wash denim in cold water unless your goal is to shrink your jeans. Once you wash the bleach off of your denim, always make sure to turn your jeans inside out for future washes to prevent additional fading. If possible, always air-dry jeans.

Method two:

If you prefer minimal effort in this experiment with slightly less control, you can use rubber bands and a bucket full of diluted bleach.

Protect your eyes and skin with gloves and safety goggles.

The ideal setting for this process is outside or in a ventilated space. Fold your denim garment in an accordion style. Wrap your rubber bands around the bunched-up denim to hold the fold together tightly.

Mix one-part bleach with three-parts water in your bucket. Submerge your garment in the bleach for 20 minutes.

As a general rule, the longer you soak your item, the lighter it will appear. Rinse the garment well under COLD water, remove the rubber bands, then wash the garment using cold water.


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