Once sold as heavy-duty working gear, Carhartt has branched out into men’s and women’s working-class chic. Carhartt uses durable materials and a heavily reinforced design that makes their clothes virtually indestructible. A Carhartt jacket may last long enough for you to get tired of the color. Fortunately, it’s easy to spruce up your Carhartt clothing with all-purpose fabric dyes found in craft stores and most grocery stores.
Things You'll Need
- Carhartt jacket
- Newspapers and old towels
- Old clothes
- Washing machine
- Large pot
- All-purpose dye
- Measuring cup
- Stirring stick or spoon
- Kitchen sink
- Large bucket
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Check what kind of fabric your Carhartt jacket is. All-purpose dyes work on 100% cotton, but the color can fade faster with washing. Nylon, polyester, and wool blends will hold the dye better.
Cover your work area well with newspapers or old towels. Clothing dye is permanent and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to remove it from floors and countertops. Wear old clothes in case you splash dye on yourself, and keep some towels on hand to wipe up spills.
Pre-wash the jacket. You need to remove all the stains and any built-up fabric softener for the dye to adhere evenly to the fabric. Do not use any fabric softener when you wash the jacket.
Boil 3 gallons of water on the stove. While you wait for the water to boil, fill the kitchen sink with hot water and soak the jacket. The fabric needs to be wet for the color to come out even.
Use one packet of powdered dye or 1/2 bottle of liquid dye for 3 gallons of water. If you want to mix colors, keep this same proportion by using half a packet of one color and half a packet of the other, or 1/4 bottle of one color and 1/4 bottle of the other.
Dissolve a packet of powdered dye in two cups of hot water.
Scoop the water from the pot on the stove just before it boils. Put the hot water and dye into the bucket and stir it until there are no more particles. Use a spoon or stirring stick that you don’t plan to use for food in the future. If you are using liquid dye, you may eliminate this step and just pour the dye into the bucket.
Take the water off the heat when it boils. When the bubbling stops, pour the water into the bucket and stir it gently to distribute the dye.
Add the jacket to the bucket and stir it for 20 minutes. Use the stick or spoon to move the jacket in a circle and to push it up and down so that all parts are in the dye as long as possible.
Remove the jacket from the dye. Wear gloves so you don’t dye your hands. Put the jacket in the kitchen sink and rinse it with cool water to remove the excess dye.
Wring out the jacket and hang it to drip dry when the water runs clear..
Scrub out the sink or bathtub as soon as possible with hot water and a powdered abrasive cleanser. Do not use fabric dye in fiberglass sinks or tubs because you can permanently stain them.
When you need to wash the jacket, use cold water to maintain the color as long as possible.