ombre dip dye diy!

it took me a lot longer than i had planned to recuperate from california and harry potter,
but between sleeping in till noon on friday and a three hour nap on saturday
i am so ready for this week!

the best part about california was thrifting and crafting with my sister, glenn mae.
our main goal for the weekend - ombre dye everything!
i think we succeeded.

a trip to the thrift store provided glenn with two cream grandma shirts, each 100% silk
and me with two grandma shirts, one white and one blue, each 100% polyester.
i had also brought a couple cheapy white 100% cotton tees from home.

we did the project on our back deck,
using plastic shoe boxes filled with almost boiling water from the stove.
the colors we used were yellow, a lighter royal blue, and a darker navy blue,
all rit dye that you can find at

now for the fun part!
we made sure all our shirts were wet,
and hung them on hangers to have more control while we were dying.

for most of the shirts we:
1- dipped them in the royal blue, quickly, about up to the sleeves
2- again in the royal blue about 3/4ths of the way up the previously dyed area to make it darker
3- in the navy blue, very quickly, about halfway up the previously dyed area
4- again in the navy, only on the bottom, to make that area darker

we let them dry a bit outside,
then ran them under hot water in the sink until the water ran clear
and threw them in the dryer.

i think the coolest part of the project was seeing how differently the silk and polyester dyed.
the dye on glenn's shirts looked like waves and the color was so saturated,
but my white polyester shirt ended up so so light and subtle,
with the navy turning purple/pink when it dried!
the blue polyester shirt i tried barely took the dye at all, turning a very faint purple at the bottom.

lesson learned - natural fibers (silk cotton wool) take dye much better than synthetic.
but if you're up for an adventure and using a really dark color, synthetics can work just fine.

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  1. WHOA, those look so cool! I am so impressed! A few of the ones hanging up look almost like the sun setting against trees. That looks really, really fun, I want to try now!

  2. This was so helpful! Me and my best friend and mother are planning on going dye crazy in a couple of weekends and have been researching all sorts of dying processes! I can't wait to see how your shirts have turned out after you alter them!

  3. I love this look so much! I actually just bought some mauve dye for just this same project. :)

  4. i've always been worried about the clean up of these dye projects...but the outcome looks sooo worth it. and great tips on synthetic vs. natural fibers.

  5. Oh, I love this! Great project and I love the look of the finished shirts!!

  6. Looks awesome, you are totally ready for the remainder of summer now!! I really want to try something like this but I hate dying things (I can never seem to get things set up properly, ugh!) Next time you need to dye polyester and want more saturated color, iDye for Polyester works pretty well. They make it for cotton also, but I always end up just using RIT because I don't have to order it online.

  7. This is amazing! I love the production line idea. Might as well do a bunch at once! I totally wanted to dip dye everything once I had started. And I actually really love the splotchy silk one, I think it adds to it.

  8. thanks for the tip jen! i will definitely try that dye next time i'm using polyester, i would love to see how it comes out

  9. I Love these shirts and I would really like to do it, but I've got one question: Did you mix the boiled water with the paint? Because thats a little unclear.

  10. hey cyril, we did mix the water with the rit dye. we just filled the buckets with the water and brought them outside, then poured in enough dye to make the water really saturated (we probably weren't as scientifically specific as we should have been, just kind of eyeballed it) i hope you make some and i would love to see how they turn out, hope that helps!

  11. Oh man those look so great! How fun it is to craft with a friend especially if that friend is your sister! yay! Thanks for the tutorial on how to ombre.. as it is a huge trend this season! Thanks again!

  12. love this it's so cool revamping old clothes!! :)

  13. for dyeing cotton, linen, rayon (ie cellulose fabrics) you would get a much better result if you use Procion dyes. They are fiber reactive, meaning they bond with the fabric and don't wash out over time. I have some tie dyed t-shirts that are 5 years old and washed regularly and look like new. They are also good for batch dyeing in the washer, because they don't stain the inside of the washer.


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