Yet another bandwagon upon which I was late to hop....
but I'm so glad I did! This is definitely one of my all-time favorite projects. Cheap, relatively easy, and lovely result. Half the tutorials for polka dot jeans that I've seen use acrylic paint, but I was afraid paint would come off to easily. I opted to use bleach, specifically a bleach pen, because for whatever reason the liquid just didn't work when I made a test swatch. The bleach pen was easy to use and made little-to-no mess.
I don't think the blog world needs yet another tutorial on how to do bleach polka dots, but here's some thoughts about what I learned during this project.
1 // The color of your jeans will affect the end result. Duh, you say. Duh, I said. But what I hadn't counted on was how the fade/wash affected the dots. Where the jeans were darkest, the dots were faintest and vice versa. This ended up creating an ombre effect (which I personally love), but if you're looking for uniformity get solid wash jeans.
2 // Most of the instructions I've seen floating around for using the bleach pen are taken directly from the Clorox website, but I found them to be less than helpful. Scrape off "gel dots"??? They just kinda crusted over into something that flicked away. I also did not do the hydrogen peroxide bath and they did just fine - no bleach runs. Their methods requires you to do one side at a time, letting jeans completely dry before you can switch. #aintnobodygottimeforthat
3 // I dotted one side, let it dry for about two hours until fairly dry, flipped them over and repeated on the back. When the back was semi-dry, I carefully finished the remaining spots that had gotten missed in the flipping (sides, inside thigh area, etc.). I let the dots dry completely over night, tossed the jeans in the wash in the morning (cold water), and air dried them all day. Worked beautifully!
4 // I made 1/4" dots spaced approx. 1" apart....approximately is very generous....that inch certainly grew and shrank a lot as I made my way down the leg!
And there you have it. Yay for polka dots!