Ombre is a huge trend right now that can be seen everywhere from hair color to home décor . When it comes to achieving this trend in your home or wedding decor all you need is dye, water, fabric and a bit of patience.
To get started you will need some fabric. For this project we used bleached muslin. It’s such a cheap and versatile fabric that takes dye very well, making it a DIYers dream! We trimmed ours down to manageable 40” wide by 8’ long pieces. Our final project was a set of banners that were used to add some color to a drab barn wall behind the head table of Lauren's wedding. This size would also be great for a single panel curtain, but always consider your project before cutting your fabric. The old "measure twice cut once" adage defiantly applies here.
When cutting it down to your desired size just snip the unfinished edge, called the raw edge, and tear. It tears perfectly straight so no need for a big table top, hours of cutting and a headache. Yet another reason to love muslin!!
It's important to let your fabric soak in water for a bit, minimum 5-10 minutes, this helps the fabric take the dye more evenly. While it’s soaking, start filling your dye bath with enough hot water to completely submerge the fabric.
Now it’s time to start mixing your color. It helps to have a sample of the color you’re aiming for. We love perusing the paint samples at the hardware store selecting our favorite shades. Even if you’re not trying to match it exactly it helps to serve as a guide.
All of the dye we used, Rit and iDye, can be purchased at your local Jo Ann's or Michaels. Be sure to load either stores apps to your smart phone, both offer tons of coupons that can be scanned right from your phone and can save you a ton on your craft store purchases!
Here is where your patience will be tested. You need to add the dye slowly, sprinkle by sprinkle. We use both a mix of powdered dye and liquid dye. It's just the forms the dyes come in but there is no significant difference in the outcomes. If you’re like me you’ll want to dump a bunch of your dye in at once to really see a color change but going slowly will give you control and ensure you don’t go too dark. Think of adding dye to water like adding spices to your favorite meal, a little goes a long way. But, if you happen to accidentally add too much, just pour out part of your dye bath, add more hot water, and start again.
Have small test strips (2 to 3” wide) of your fabric cut soaked and ready, dip them and compare to the paint chips. Don't get frustrated if you’re not familiar with mixing colors. Use your paint chip as your guide and remember, you’re not necessarily trying to match this color, but use it as inspiration. For ombre dyeing we picked 3 different chips, all similar in color but with different tones. Once you find a color you love it's time to add the fabric.
For small projects like pillows or a dress you will be able to do this on our own, but for bigger projects like ours it was helpful to have another pair of hands. Decide how much fabric you want to remain white and slowly lower the rest into the dye bath. To avoid Easter-egg hands be sure to wear rubber gloves when dyeing, you have been warned!
Slowly raise the fabric out of the water just a bit and pause again, allowing for more saturation to the fabric that is still left in the bath.
Continue to lift and soak remaining until you hit the end of your piece, then hang on a line to dry! For a more intense ombre you will need to let it dry and repeat a few times letting it soak longer on the very bottom. For our decorative panels we repeated this process three times. It helps to let it air dry almost fully in between each dipping so you can really tell what end result will be since it will usually dry quite a bit lighter. You can also add more dye to the same bath in between dyeing to really punch up the ombre or change the color all together to get a multi colored ombre.
To make the decorative panels we simply hemmed all four sides and tacked them up to the barn wall- a great, inexpensive way to add a pop of color to large spaces!
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