Ombre is one of the hottest trends of this decade that comes back in one way or another. Whether it is an ombre hairstyle, a dress, nail art, bed linen, t-shirts, or your curtains, you can see this colour technique everywhere. So if you want to try this trend out or simply want to learn how to dip dye a piece of fabric, then you are at the right place.
Dip colouring is a bit more time-consuming than other forms of dying, but it is definitely worth it. It’s also not as hard as dyeing a sofa or carpet! With our complete tutorial and a little bit of practice, you can become a dip dyeing pro in no time. As fancy as the name sounds, the drying process is the complete opposite. You just need the right kind of dyes and a lot of patience to ace the simple steps of this technique. Here is how to dip dye a fabric gradation at home using basic tools.
What is ombre dyeing?
The word ombre has French origins that translate into “to shade”. It is a blending of one colour into another, forming a smooth gradient while transitioning. In this technique, the colour usually transitions from light to dark or vice versa. It creates a beautiful gradual colour on the fabric that can be used for several different purposes.
The gradient technique dates back to the 19th century when it was used to dye home textiles. Mostly natural dyes were used to create this effect, so this colour technique is associated with farms and cottages. The trend came back in the early 2000s for hair and fashion, then made another comeback in 2010. To this day, this dye technique is used by countless designers and stylists to give a gradual blend of colour.
How to dip dye a fabric ombre easily: Step-by-step guide
Dyeing fabric at home is not a new activity. People try DIY projects like these to express their creativity and decorate their homes. However, with dip colour, your need to have quite some time and patience.
To DIY this, you will need to gather a few supplies. Here is what you need:
- Cloth dye
- Natural fabric
- Warm water
- Soda ash
- Wooden stick
- Rubber gloves
- Vinegar or salt
- Fabric softener
- Hanger or clothes peg
- Plastic container
- Measuring cups
You can find most of the required material at home except the dyes. You can easily find liquid dyes for fabric or dry pigments at your local markets that you can use for this project. Fabric dyes like Rit dye and Dylon dyes are available in the markets and online web stores.
Before we get into the process, it is important to check what fabric you are going to use. Natural fibres are more suitable for this project as compared to synthetic. However, if you plan on using a synthetic fabric, make sure to get a dye specially made for it. With that sorted, let’s get started, shall we?
Step 1: Protection
Protect your workspace with a big sheet of plastic. Fabric dyes leave stubborn stains that can be difficult to get rid of. Wear plastic or rubber gloves to protect your hands from getting stained. If you dye your hands, we got you covered. Check our guide and learn how to get fabric dye off your skin.
Step 2: Choosing the fabric
Choose a fabric, preferably natural, that you will be using for this project. Place the fabric under running water till it is soaking wet. Next, wring the water out and lay it out on the plastic sheet.
You need the fabric to be damp to absorb the dye evenly. Dry fabric can soak up too much of that dye, which can result in unpleasant patches. It will also help remove any layer of chemicals from the fabric that hinders the dyeing process.
Step 3: Making soda ash solution
Dilute 250 ml of soda ash into a gallon of water to make your solution. This solution will help the dye adhere to the fabric efficiently. Soda ssh is scientifically known as sodium carbonate and is also used to activate certain cloth dyes. In this solution, soak your fabric for twenty minutes. Then, take the fabric out and wring the solution thoroughly.
Step 4: Creating a dye bath
Fill a large plastic container with hot water till it’s halfway full to create your dye bath. Select the dye colour of your choice and add the recommended amount mentioned on the container. To this mix, add salt or vinegar, depending on what fabric you are working with in the dye bath.
For cotton, rayon, or linen, use 300 grams of salt to act as a fixative. While for silk, wool, or nylon, use 250 ml of vinegar. They will help the dyes adhere better, and the colours will turn out more vibrant.
Step 5: Soaking the fabric
Take your damp fabric and slowly dip it down into the dye solution. If you want a thicker band of colour, then soak your fabric halfway into the dye. Note that the colour might creep up while being soaked, so leave some space for that.
Step 6: The stronger stain
After 30 seconds of being soaked, take a few centimetres of the cloth out while the bottom stays soaked in the dye solution. Hang the top part of the fabric using a hanger or clothes pegs to avoid it from falling into the dye.
After 10-minute intervals, keep taking a few centimetres of the fabric out of the dye while leaving the rest to absorb more amount of dye for a stronger stain. This process creates the gradual transition of colour on the fabric.
Step 7: Washing the dye colour
Once you have taken the whole fabric out, rinse it out till the water runs clear. Make sure there are no dye residues left, or else it can stain the white part of the fabric. Since you have already used a fixative, the colour won’t bleed after getting rid of the excess dye.
Step 8: Cleaning the cloth
Throw the dyed fabric into the washing machine and wash it with cold settings. You can also soak your fabric into crisp water, and hand wash it after 15 minutes. This way, you will get rid of any chemicals left on the fabric, and it will be ready to use.
Step 9: Air drying
Allow your fabric to air dry before you flaunt your creativity in your house or on yourself. You can also use the dryer setting on your washing machine. However, it is not recommended to do so. With a little bit of patience, you will have a beautiful fabric. To keep the colours on your fabric vibrant, always wash it with cold water and less detergent.
There you have it! With these easy steps, you can achieve a seamless ombre effect on your fabric. You can utilize this ombre dip dye fabric in countless different ways to display your creativity.
Upgrade your dip-dyed gradation fabric
With the tutorial mentioned above, you can create a basic ombre effect. Although, if you want to add more personality to your design, you can be a bit more creative. Here is how to upgrade your dip colour fabric in three different ways:
1. Add a second colour
If you want to add a fun element to your fabric, use a second colour to create a beautiful gradient. Turn the fabric upside down and dye the other half of it like you dyed the first half. Use a combination of light and dark hues for a seamless transition.
2. Use a textured fabric
Using a fabric with an interesting texture will catch more attention and will earn you more compliments. For example, textured graded fabrics are ideal for making cushion covers, table cloths, and curtains.
3. Create a pattern
Most graded dyes are usually in straight lines, which can become a bit monotonous if done repeatedly. To add a bit more character to your dyeing samples, change the angles of the fabric to have diagonal, vertical, or curved lines.
You can also decorate your finished product with laces, buttons, and pearls.
In a nutshell, dip colouring is one of the most sought after designs currently. It is a bit more time consuming than other techniques like tie-dye and batik but is also the easiest one. The best part about this technique is that each piece comes out different, which is not possible in tie-dye. It shows that it is hand-dyed and features minor imperfections, which make it even more special. So, what are you waiting for? Gather all the material and get started with this fun yet easy DIY project!