We’re kinda big sci-fi geeks here. Miss Dreamer set out to make an easy Tardis outfit a few weeks ago and needed “space pants”. Now, you can buy spacey leggings at your local big box retailer (rhymes with Marget) for $20 OR you can turn a pair of jeans into space pants for less than $5!
Below you’ll find step-by-step directions to make your own space pants. The same technique should work for any cotton fabric, so don’t stop at the pants, why not make an entire space outfit? What a cool way to end a space unit, or to do while watching Cosmos, or just for an art project!
A lot of space pants tutorials don’t have this many steps but we’ve discovered that while the process of making space pants isn’t difficult, it does work better when you allow plenty of time. We made ours in one day but if your time is limited it may take you two days to complete the entire process.
If you only need the pants for one event the short cut directions will work, but if you want the pants to last your best bet is to take the time to do it the long way, otherwise the dye may wash out or fade.
-A pair of jeans (dark blue or black work best)
-1 packet purple fabric dye
-an old toothbrush
-a large plastic bucket
STEP 2: Wearing gloves, carefully dip the knots into bleach for about 10 seconds per knot. If you are using old or thin denim you may want to water down the bleach and only let the knots soak for 5 seconds.
Dip the toothbrush into the bleach use it to flick bleach on the areas around the knots.
Allow the jeans to sit for about 15 minutes, or until you see noticeable bleaching.
*We originally used cheap, dollar store bleach but it didn’t work so we had to repeat with name-brand bleach
STEP 3: Cut the rubber bands off and wash the jeans in a machine or with a hose, do not use detergent.
STEP 4: Prepare the fabric dye in the bucket according to package directions.
Place 6″ of the jeans into the dye and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place another 6″ of the jeans into the dye and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Continue the process in 5 minute increments until all of the jeans are in the dye. Once all of the jeans are in the dye let them sit for an additional 5 minutes before pulling out. This is what will give the pants a neat darker-on-bottom look (I’m sure there’s an actual arty name for that) and will prevent the distinct dye line you see in the pictures above.
STEP 5: Pull the jeans out of the bucket and let them drip dry.
If you need to break the steps up now is a good time as you can allow the jeans to air dry overnight. If you’re really in a hurry let the jeans dry until they are no longer dripping and continue, just know that the bleach will run a little.
STEP 6: Repeat the toothbrush-bleach-flicking procedure. Use the toothbrush to make swirls and patterns if you like. Don’t forget to flick the back of the jeans, too! Allow the bleach to dry just long enough for you to see the amount of bleaching you want. When the pants are spacey enough for you hurry to step 7, you don’t want the bleach to act too long on this step or you’ll end up with white splotches instead of galaxies.
STEP 7: Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washing machine (or the cleaned-out bucket if you prefer), add the jeans, and run your machine on gentle (or gently swish around in the bucket). Salt will also work in place of vinegar, both will help the dye to set. Do not use detergent.
STEP 8: Allow the jeans the dry, you can use the dryer if you like. If you’d like you can now wash the jeans in detergent, I suggest using cold water.
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.