May 7, 2012

DIY Ombre Tights

About a week ago, I stumbled upon a blog post about ombre tights.  It was love at first sight!  I had to give it try, so I purchased 2 pairs of opaque tights from American Apparel (white and sangria).  Through a series of trial and errors, I figured out how to achieve the ombre dye look on tights.  

My goal was to have a clean gradient transition without any splatter marks or obvious gradient lines.  I also wanted the gradient to fade to black.  For the first dye job, I followed a video tutorial from the Martha Stewart Show on ombre dying (click here).  This is a great video tutorial, however they dye cotton, where as I needed to dye a nylon blend.  The end result was this...

Super cute, however my original intention was to have the gradient fade to black.  Instead, the black dye only darkened the pink color. I believe part of the problem was that I used a RIT dye, which is better for cotton than nylon.  Another possible reason for why it didn't take as well, could have been that I used hot water as opposed to the stove top method that uses boiling water.  From what I now know, nylon needs to be really hot for the dye to take, which is why boiling water is recommended.  So, back to the drawing board I went.

I decided to ask my facebook friends about dying nylon.  Rebekah was kind enough to suggest iDye.  I followed her suggestion and used 2 packets of iDye poly, which is for polyester and nylon.  This worked amazingly well!  
Here's how you ombre dye colored tights with iDye poly.

1)  Purchase color opaque tights and 2 packets of iDye poly in black.  As I already mentioned, I used American Apparel tights.   

2)  Decide where you want the color to end and the black to begin.  Being as black is a slimming color, I felt it would look best with black going towards the thighs rather than a color.  I wanted the color transition to begin around mid calf.  You can either pin where you want the color transition to begin or you can eyeball the distance.  I eyeballed it at about 9" from the toe seam of the tights. 

3)  Soak the tights in clear hot water to remove any finish on the tights.  Let it sit there for about 5 minutes or so.

4)  Follow instructions on dye packet for mixing dye over stove top.

5)  Place tights in water waist first.  Be sure not to dip the color portion of the tights into the dye mixture (see pic below).  Lay the color portion over the pot and onto another pot.  You don't want the tights to dangle over the pot, because it may catch fire, which would totally ruin the ombre look =) 

6)  After about 2 minutes of the dying process, gently pull about 1 - 2" of the tights out of the boiling water.  This will help make the gradient less obvious.  However, don't pull too much of the fabric out of the pot, because it will create a blotchy look (see mistakes to avoid pic below).

7)  Once the dying process is completed, turn off the heat and let the fabric cool.  Next, rinse the tights in cold water, making sure to not let the dye run onto the color part of the tights.  It's ok if the color part gets wet and if the black blends with the color portion.  You just don't want it to drip and run onto the color portion.  I held the tights upright with the feet up, while rinsing the excess dye off.

8)  With mild detergent, hand wash your tights.  My washer has a hand wash cycle, which I used.  

9)  Dry your tights.  This next tip is very important - Don't hang dry your tights!  As your tights dry there will likely still be some excess dye leftover.  If you hang dry them, the excess dye will make a lovely line down the tights as gravity pulls the excess water towards the ground.  Trust me I know.  No, I don't want to talk about it =(.  You can lay the tights on a towel to dry.

10)  Voila!  

Mistakes to avoid...

~ Don't lift too much of the tights out of the dye in step 6 or else it will look blotchy as shown below...

~ Don't hang dry or else you will have dye lines running down your tights.

That's about it!  Be sure to share your ombre tight creations here.




Pretty Ditty said...

Well thank you generic viagra! Your opinion means so much to me, because you are an expert on DIY stuff.

Anonymous said...

hey! great tutorial.

just wondering if you have experience washing the tights.

im hoping once the are rinsed thoroughly they wont bleed- do you have any experience with that?

any tips are appreciated.

thanks :)

Pretty Ditty said...

Very good question! The color did fade (not really a bleed as in bleeding into the pink area) after the first washing. It wasn't too bad though. I definitely will not wash them with any other clothing until I am absolutely sure the color is permanently set.

theperfectnose said...

Nice job! I'm thinking of doing this too.. And teehee on your response to the spammer creature. Surprised you didn't edit its post.. XD You might want to set up disqus so people can comment cross-platforms and keep track of your/ other commentator's responses. See you around.

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Season Laurel said...

Awesome idea! I pinned it, hope you don't mind :) and love your response to viagra hahaha!


Jess Farris said...

Hi there!

I LOVE this tutorial! Ombre is one of my favorite looks for summer. I wanted to let you know that I featured your project in FaveCraftsBlog's Link Love post on Thursday. You can find the post here:

Have a happy day! :)

Jess Farris

Bethany Ann said...

Love this! I am going to have to try it sometime! I think it would great on leggings and skirts also!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Just wanted to know, is there any sustitue for iDye? I can't seem to find it where I live! Love your tutorial!!

Pretty Ditty said...

I don't know one off hand, but just make sure the dye will take to the type of material you are working with. Best of luck!

Laura said...

Quick tip - to set colour, soak in heavily salted water before rinsing. The salt locks it in so it won't fade as quickly. Works on almost all fabrics.

Pretty Ditty said...

Laura - Thank you so much for that tip!

shakiyla said...

This is awesome. I just saw birchbox post about ombre tights and the vendor wanted $47 for it. Yeah so I'm gonna go ahead and do it myself thanks to you lol.


Iuiu said...

Wonderful tutorial!
I wanted to do this a while ago, but totally forgot about it. And a little tip about dyeing in general: vinegar helps fixing the colour better than salt (thanks to the acid).
I actually have a pair of tights laying around, so see you in the ombre world!

ani moon said...

Informative and interesting which we share with you so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts. I am tiring the same best work from me in the future as well.

Anonymous said...

Hey, great tutorial!! Just wondering, because I loved it, where's your dress from? If it's not too much to ask. Thanks for posting!

anh said...

awesomeness, thanks for the tipps!

I thought I'd have to buy tights for 40 bucks somewhere, but I CAN actually get iDye in Germany, so I'll have a dyefest next week, yay!

Will you have dye-lines even if you hang up the tights waist down to dry? I was thinking that might distribute the color more evenly?

Keri said...

Those leggings look good on you!

Bakso Sapi said...

nice ombre tights. why dont you try another color :D

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Anonymous said...

Youre extremely hilarious! Thanks for the "how not to" tips!

Anonymous said...

About how long would you say they take to dry?

Anonymous said...

am i correct in assuming you used the one ounce idye packets instead of the one pound packets?