Inspiration: Phillip Lim
Here’s what you’ll need…
– A bucket or a glass bowl that holds at least two quarts
– A one cup measuring cup
– Navy blue Rit dye, available at craft stores or online.
– It is important to get the powdered dye, not the liquid dye.
– A small amount of liquid detergent
– A spoon
– A clip hanger
– A white cotton shirt with a collar
– Rubber gloves (not pictured)
– A mat, and old towel, or some newspaper to put on the floor
Step 1: Wash and dry your shirt, even if you bought a new one for this project: The dye will adhere best when the shirt is freshly laundered. Unbutton the shirt and flip the collar up, so that the entire collar can be dyed evenly.
Step 2: Begin to roll up the bottom of the shirt. It’s critical that you roll up the shirt evenly, because it will ultimately affect the evenness and straightness of the dye.
Step 3: Secure the roll with the clip hanger, again, making sure that it hangs straightly and evenly. At this point, make sure that you have a spot on the wall or somewhere else where you can hang up your shirt when it sits in the dye bath for several hours.
Step 4: Wet your shirt in water up to about six inches past where you want the dye to go.
Step 5: Wring out the shirt — You want it to be wet, but not soaking.
Step 6: Pour the contents of one whole packet of Rit dye into a bowl or bucket that will hold at least two quarts of water.
Step 7: Measure out one cup of salt.
Step 8: Pour the salt into the bowl with the dye.
Step 9: Pour about two quarts of very hot tap water into the bowl. If your tap doesn’t get hot enough, put the water in the microwave for a minute or two, and then pour it into the bowl.
Tip: The directions on the dye packet will say to add two gallons of water, but we feel this DIY works best when the dye is more concentrated, which is why we used less. If you would like your shirt to have a less intense color, add more water during this step.
Step 10: Stir the dye for several minutes, until you’re sure the powder has completely dissolved.
Step 11: Pour in a tablespoon or two of laundry detergent, and stir into the dye mixture.
Step 12: Once everything is thoroughly mixed in the bowl, take a paper towel and wipe around the edges of the bowl to remove any flakes or splash drops from the dye. This step is very important, as any stray dots of dye can ruin the look of the shirt.
Step 13: Holding the shirt by the hanger, slowly lower the collar of the shirt into the dye, making sure that it’s being submerged evenly. Continue to lower the shirt into the dye for another three or four inches, or however high or low you would like the dye to go. Once the shirt is as far into the dye as you would like, hang up the shirt (while the top is still submerged), as it will need to sit in the dye for two to three hours.
Step 14: After about thirty minutes, take a cup of clean water and begin to pour small amounts down the shirt, into the dyed portion, to help get a more pronounced drip effect.
Step 15: After two or three hours, remove the shirt from the dye. Using rubber gloves, begin to wring out any excess dye from the shirt. It is VERY important that your gloves do not go above the dye line and into the lighter part of ombre area, as this will cause fingerprints that will ruin the look of your shirt.
Step 16: Wring out the shirt, again, being very careful that your fingers do not touch above the dye line.
Step 17: Once your shirt is wrung out, rinse off your rubber gloves in a sink until they are completely free of dye. Then, take your shirt to the sink and begin to rinse out the remaining dye from it.
Step 18: Clean your gloves again. Then, wring out the shirt, being careful not to touch above the dye line.
Step 19: Rinse and wring out your shirt as in steps 17 and 18 several more times, making sure your gloves are clean each time you touch the shirt. Continue to re-rinse and wring until the water that runs off off it is clear.
Step 20: Hang your shirt upside down and allow it to dry overnight.
Source: Refinery 29