Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dip Dye DIY

File this one under: Pinterest Fail. sort of.

You guys, it would be so easy to just never share this project but this is just a reminder that sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don't go the way they are supposed to. Plus, I don't want to be THAT blog, you know the one that only shares beautiful pictures of cakes and custom built shelves and never lets you see when things go sideways. 

If we can get real for a second, life feels sideways sometimes. 
But you just have to make do with what happens, you know?

With that said, here is the tale of the time I tried to dip dye some tshirts.

I found the tutorial over on Wit & Whistle and nothing against that blog (which is beautiful and a great source for DIYs and inspiration!) but this particular guide just did not work for me.

I mean, I thought I followed the instructions to the letter.

I carefully mixed hot water, salt, and a packet of deep blue RIT dye. 
Then I patiently dipped the shirt by degrees to achieve the ombré effect.

I tried exceptionally hard to not get any dye on the top of the shirt because I wanted that crisp white to deepen into blue without any wayward spots.

After letting it dry in the laundry room (which is where the top photo came from), I rinsed out the dye using warm water in the sink. Again, I was super careful not to let any dye run into the top of the shirt.

Then I washed it with a small amount of detergent, just like the instructions said.

The beautiful deep blue dissolved into a boring periwinkle that bled into the rest of the shirt.
Color me sad, y'all.

Here my sister is modeling it for you: 

The ombré effect is still there but it's pretty subtle. And have you met me? I don't do subtle.
Ok sometimes I do subtle.
Just not with ombré.

Originally I was planning on using these shirts as another Creative Pay it Forward giveaway but because I wasn't super happy with the result, I let my mom and sister have them as sleep shirts.

I still have a box of bright fuchsia dye and if I find a different tutorial, I'll try again.
Maybe with like an old tablecloth or something.
Because that's what you're supposed to do in life when things don't go as planned: try again. 
With an old tablecloth.

Have you ever tried dip dye? Any tried and true techniques I should be aware of?


  1. I am HIGHLY inexperienced with tshirt dying but I heard to let the dye set over 12+ hrs before you rinse it. If you're not dying the whole shirt maybe you could put the bottom of the shirt in a walmart bag & tie it off at the white so it won't drip? Then rinse in cold water. Just a thought. Once again I really don't know what i'm talking about but thought maybe it'd help haha

  2. thanks Amanda! I let it set for about a week before rinsing actually, haha. I started on a Sunday afternoon and then didn't have time to mess with it again til the next weekend. The plastic bag is a really good idea! Never hurts to try. :)

  3. haha well nevermind then! Let me know when you've figured out the perfect tshirt dying formula. I've failed on that too recently:P

  4. Huh! I've never even though of dip dye DIY, although I can't imagine I'd try it out. Dye and I don't get along well... plus I'd be in fear of accidentally getting it ALL over my (rather small) apartment through a mishap or another. That's such a bummer that your dye bled, though! It's a cool idea.

    1. yeah, it makes quite a mess if you're not careful. It works best if you use a stainless steel sink or bowl but it can still splatter everywhere. I covered my work surface in as many old towels as I could find. Anyway, I'm willing to try again. :)

  5. I actually really like how it turned out :D The top colour is lovely and i like the slight ombre effect. Honestly, i like it better than the one from the tutorial you were following :P but obviously, it doesn't have the white like you wanted.

    1. well thank you, my mom said the same thing! I suppose I should be glad the dye didn't wash out completely. :)

  6. I've never done dip dye before, but any time I've tiedyed we used vinegar with the dye... not sure of ratios, but something about the vinegar helps the dye set better. good luck next time :)

    1. Yeah I added vinegar as per the directions but perhaps I should just use more! :)


I love to hear what you're thinking! Thanks for the comment love. :)


design + development by kiki and co. creative