Recently I set out to create an ombré-dyed fabric ribbon display for our engagement shoot later this month. Because that is what crazy brides do these days. I also want to use it as some kind of backdrop at the wedding and possibly for our engagement photos. Here’s the inspiration:
Seriously, when did ombré become a thing? Because it’s apparently a thing now, and now I need it and I don’t know why. I also know that I want to try and recreate the last photo (seen above) for our engagement shoot, so sign me up for some ombré. But instead of the chandelier, I’m thinking of something more practical like this:
I would like to start by warning my readers that this project can get very messy. Fabric dye can damage all sorts of things, including furniture, pets, carpeting, and even your counter tops. Like, lose-your-apartment-deposit damage. Please be very, very careful using fabric dye. I would recommend wearing old clothes and rubber gloves for this project. Also, this project works best outside on a lawn. We live in an apartment and were able to make it work out on our patio. I set up a clothes line and laid a painter’s tarp down to protect the wood from the dye drippings. Our neighbors officially think that we are crazy, but that’s OK.
- Fabric dye (I used Rit.)
- Fabric in the lightest color you desire for the ombré effect
- Spray bottles for every color of dye you will be using plus one additional spray bottle for water
- Rubber gloves
Step 1: Set Up
Set up the area where you will be working. Have the clothesline hung, clothespins ready, and the tarp laid out in the ground beneath your working area.
Step 2: Prepare Dye
Fill the spray bottles with fabric dye. I only poured a small amount, around one tablespoon’s worth of dye. You could probably use even less if you are going for a more subtle ombré effect. Next, fill the rest of the spray bottle with very hot water. Be sure to do this carefully over the sink and not over your counter or your floor. Before finishing up, don’t forget to fill your extra spray bottle with hot water.
Step 3: Soak & Hang Fabric
Soak the fabric in hot water until it is completely wet, and then use the bucket to transfer the wet fabric outside. Hang the wet fabric evenly from the clothesline.
Step 4: Spray Fabric
Make sure that your spray bottle is set to spray in a fine mist. Begin misting the fabric, starting sparingly and lightly at the top (or wherever you want the ombré effect to begin). I started a few inches from the top. Spray the fabric more heavily as you move down, focusing most of the spray on the bottom portion of the fabric. Continue spraying until your fabric reaches the desired darkness. If you feel that the ombré effect needs more blending, use the spray bottle of water to even it out.
Step 5: Let Dry
Let the fabric dry for a few hours. I used paper towels to soak up the water/dye that accumulated on the tarp as I was working. The rest I am just leaving outside and hoping it dries up and goes away. It’s not going to dry up and go away, is it?
The results are in! (personal photo)
This is something that works best with practice. I would recommend doing a test run first before using your final project fabric. Also make sure that you don’t neglect the edges of the fabric. If you look at the pink sheet below you will notice that the left edge seems a bit lighter. Ultimately this will be unnoticeable as I will be cutting the fabric into strips, but this is something to keep in mind if you plan on using the entire piece of fabric for a project.
Rit Dye also has their own ombré tutorial, but it seems a lot messier than this method. You can check it out HERE. I think the method that I used gives you a lot more control over the intensity and placement of the dye. But check out the other tutorial in case it is a better fit for your project! (Or not, because I think mine is better.)
What would you do with ombré-dyed fabric? Bonus points if you answer this as if you were part of the Miss America pageant.