{ DIY } Bleach-Patterned Jeans

BleachedJeans1Recently I’ve been really into painting subtle patterns onto my blue jeans using bleach. The genesis of this was conceived in early spring, when Zach and I were illustrating the inside of TURF. For that project, we took inspiration from the motifs of African mud cloths. Later, we bleached-painted those same patterns onto a canvas dropcloth to create a canopy for the outside of the truck. We then launched into 15 more canvases, which we use as tablecloths at dinner parties or beach blankets for bonfires. Friends and guests are consistently surprised and delighted by the subtle bohemianism of them ~ so I figured, why not do the same thing to a few pairs of jeans?BleachedJeans2My first pair (which I’m wearing in the step-by-step shots) were made to match the inside of Zach’s restaurant kitchen, complete with fish bones and mysterious hieroglyphics. I kept the patterns loose and imperfect. That’s the beauty of this project ~ anyone can do it! It doesn’t require advanced artistic capabilities; all you need is a pair of jeans, a little bleach and a paintbrush.BleachedJeans3You don’t need much bleach, and any brand will do. I usually pour a small amount into a plastic cup just to make it easier to access and apply. I recommend synthetic brushes, as the corrosive bleach will destroy any brush made of natural fibers (like horse hair). Learned that the hard way.BleachedJeans4BleachedJeans5Use the brush to apply your desired patterns directly onto the jeans. Again, I looked at pictures of African mud cloths to inspire mine, but you can do any sort of designs your heart desires! Suns, moons and stars ~ or even your favorite song lyrics ~ would also be pretty cool.BleachedJeans6Really glop the bleach on there, and even go over the patterns a couple times. You want to let it eat into the fabric as much as possible, and denim is surprisingly sturdy. I wouldn’t do this project on top of a priceless antique rug, but for the most part you don’t have to worry about the bleach seeping through to the other side of the fabric or the floor below. It gets absorbed by the top layer of fabric pretty quickly.BleachedJeans7BleachedJeans8Continue painting on patterns all the way down to the hem on both legs.BleachedJeans9BleachedJeans10Let the bleach soak in for a bit, then run your jeans through the wash (or just dunk ‘em in the pool, like I did!). Dry them on high heat.BleachedJeans11BleachedJeans12And voila! It’s a fun little afternoon project that will subtly refresh some otherwise simple denim. And don’t be afraid to try it out on tablecloths, dresses, or even duvet covers ~ the options are endless!BleachedJeans13|LOOK 1| vintage hat, 10 Crosby Derek Lam blouse (it’s the knit version of this one ~ both are unfortunately sold out but it’s still available in lavender), Miu Miu camisole, customized Rich & Skinny jeans, Nina Ricci bag, Burberry sandals |LOOK 2| vintage hat, Madewell chambray popover, customized Current Elliot jeans |RINGS| from Catbird |BRACELET| by Maiyet |PHOTOGRAPHY| by Paul Brooke Jr.

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