Hey Coco and Mainers!
A few weeks ago we had a blog post about fun things you could do while stuck inside, but we completely ignored DIY projects! I am not usually a DIY- loving person, so this particular project was a surprisingly fun and creative outlet, all while being easy. Take a reading journey with us below to tie dye your own ombre sweatsuit!
**NOTE: Due to the issues surrounding COVID-19, please maintain social distancing and buy these items online!
Materials you will need:
1. A white sweatsuit or piece of clothing
While you can use this tie dye technique on anything you want, I used it on a white sweatshirt and sweatpants I got off Amazon. I actually bought them from the boy's section (that was all that was left), and after adjusting for size, it turned out perfectly.
2. Tulip Tie Dye, or other tie dye coloring
These colors helped avoid a muddy/brown appearance
I was thinking about using RIT dye, but my experience using it told me that it would probably too difficult to use with the look and technique I was going for (at least for me). I got Tulip Dye Packets instead, in these 3 colors: Denim Blue, Tulip, and Bright Pink. Choose whatever colors, but keep in mind that since there is an ombre effect and you are working with dye and water, the colors have a very likely possibility of blending together. In this case, choose colors that won't have a muddy brown appearance when mixed together (these would be secondary colors mixed together, like green, orange, and purple).
3. 2-3 wide paintbrushes
While I used 3 colors, I only needed 2 brushes due to the similarity of tulip and bright pink.
These don't have to be fancy or expensive; you just need a few paintbrushes to help distribute the color easily. I think the ones I was using were around 2 inches across the brush; choose whatever width, but note that if you go too narrow, it will take you a million years to finish this project. If you go too wide, you have a large chance of messing up and missing out on the extra detail that a more narrow brush gives you. Give yourself one brush per color to avoid mixing them up.
4. Garbage bags, garbage bags, garbage bags
A candid photo of me modelling a trash bag poncho that is just one step below the ones you get at Disneyland to avoid soaking through to your underwear on Splash Mountain.
Really any protected surface will do; it doesn't have to be as wasteful as garbage bags. Make sure you have a large and protected surface to avoid any stain messes, and wear clothes you despise to avoid ruining your favorite concert t-shirt (which thankfully didn't happen to me since I made a poncho out of a kitchen trash can bag). Give yourself plenty of space!
5. 3 bowls filled steaming hot water
This may change depending on what brand of dye you get, but you will need bowls to hold the water/dye mixture (not spray bottles). The directions on the dye bags say to pour dye into steaming hot water and add salt (more on that below). You then pour in your dye, and stir. Make sure you have enough space so you don't spill hot water on yourself and have to head to urgent care in shame.
This is not your typical tie dye in that you are not pouring the color randomly onto the surface, secure with your faith in your rubber band design (that's a post for another time). Overall, this took me about 2 hours to paint both the top and bottom parts of my sweatsuit. So, make sure your time matches the amount of space you give yourself, which should be a lot.
And that's it! Now all you have to do is follow the steps below. It's not perfect and I am sure you all can find some ways to speed up the process or make it your own.
1. Lay down your protective foundation, and spread out the first piece of clothing you will dye.
2. Heat up a bowl full of water, and start with your first color. For the Tulip brand dye, I heated up probably about 1.5 cups of water and poured in about a tablespoon of dye. Put in as much as you want depending on how bright you want your color to be. The color does fade a bit after the initial wash, so keep that in mind. I also sprinkled in a large pinch of salt. Do each color as you go, no need to worry about getting the colors done at the same time.
3. Grab your brush and start at the top of the clothing item. I started with the denim blue since that was the top of my sweatshirt. I would also consider starting with the darkest color you are using so you can create a clearer line as far as where to stop the color. Make sure that you go from top to bottom on most of your strokes so the color borders are softer and more dissipated, leading to a more ombre look.
4. Get one color done on both items. This will create a very wet item, as you are painting both sides of the item with water and dye.
5. Mix together your lightest color with your salt and steaming water. Get a new brush and repeat step 3. Don't worry if this is too light or if the placement seems odd... I placed my bright pink here (making sure that it was a light pastel) and it created a place for my brighter colors to mix and transition. Complete this coloring on all sides/articles of clothing.
6. Complete steps 3 and 4 for your last colors. Make sure you get a lot of color in the cuffs and hem.
7. Let dry! This will take quite a bit, so leave it somewhere where it can be undisturbed and spread out. It will take a least 24 hours to fully dry.
These are still soaking wet, and the extra color has not been washed out. Your colors at this point will look darker than when they come out of your first rinse!
8. Once your items have dried, iron them. Don't worry about using steam. The heat from the iron will help set the color.
9. Wash them separately. To avoid too much color run, I washed each item separately from each other. I also washed it with just water to get any extra color out.
10. Dry them.
11. Model your trendy sweatsuit!
Me, wearing my sweatsuit in our bathroom (the hand towel was being washed, we aren't heathens).
Not super complicated, right??? Have fun with your quarantine crafts, and thanks for reading!