this post will be part one of two on how to ombre (or dip dye) clothing at home in a few easy steps. now i am aware that this trend has been around for a while and some of you may already be tired of it. that's ok. i wanted to give it a (second) try anyway. the first time i tried ombre dyeing at home a few months ago it didn't work out so well... i used rit powder dye but the colors didn't turn out very rich and the fabric ended up with spotting and obvious lines. luckily i had only used some cheap cotton muslin, so it wasn't a big loss.
this time around i decided to use the rit liquid dye and a shirt that had been hanging in the closet for years. again, if it didn't work out, no big loss. it worked out a ton better though so i'll share a few tricks.
a piece of clothing or fabric
rit liquid dye in purple (or any other color)
a large bucket, plastic tub or in my case laundry tub to dye in
a few hangers
because i wanted the darkest part of the gradient to be at the shirt collar, i rolled up the bottom half of the shirt evenly and put a hanger right in the center. this will make it much easier to dip the garment and less likely for you to accidentally get dye splashes where you don't want them. if possible, it really helps to have something to hang the garment from when trying to achieve a darker color otherwise be prepared to hold the item for a while.
mix the dye with the hot water and salt according to the directions on the bottle. i used half a bottle since i was only dyeing two items. also make sure to wear gloves and clean up any splashes on the tub so they don't come into contact with the lighter parts of your garment.
wet the part of the shirt that will get dyed with water. hold the shirt upside down from the hanger or sides and dip it into the dye to the point where you want the color to be lightest. hold it there for only a few seconds (especially with darker dyes) and then pull it out a few more inches and hold a little bit longer.
always make sure to keep the dye moving and never let it be still. this will only form lines you don't want. i used an old paint stirrer.
repeat this step a few times each time leaving the garment in the dye a little bit longer. check the color to make sure it is what you want. keep in mind that the color will lighten during the rinsing and washing process.
when you've achieved the color you were looking for start rinsing the dyed portion until the water runs clear. for me it actually never ran 100% clear (i'm impatient though). i rinsed for a good 15 minutes and then put the shirt in the washer. at this point the bottom of the shirt is still white but through the washing process the remaining dye will give this portion a very light color as well. if you want the shirt to remain white i am not quite sure how to achieve this with rit dye. there is a possibility to use more professional dyes and maybe some sort of fixative that would keep the dye from running into the rest of the garment. i'm no expert though.
i love how the finished shirt turned out and can't wait to wear it.
all in all, this ombre dyeing process takes a little bit of time and patience but it's fun and definitely turned this boring white shirt into an eye catcher. come back to see how i transformed a simple white sweatshirt with this same technique.