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DIY Ombre Tee


I know I’m about three seasons late on the ombre rage, but I had this super sweet ruffly tee with an unfortunate, um, “grape juice” stain on it. It is a grape juice stain in that the beverage I spilled on it was fermented grapes. Barring that fact that I stain my clothes more than my kids stain theirs, sometimes you just don’t want to give up on that cute piece of clothing you love.

Enter my brain trust and some craft supplies.



DIY Ombre Tee


  • A wine stained tee (or whatever)
  • cloth dye
  • a large wash bin or pot
  • water
  • a hanger

Start with a clean article of clothing. Suspend it from a hangar.

The dye I used has instructions which I chose to ignore. Instead of boiling or pouring into the wash, I poured a totally guesstimated amount of dye into a plastic bin and then filled the bin with hot tap water. I’m such a rebel. Taking liberties with my crafts. Crazy.

Then, I hung the shirt so that just the bottom of it dangled into the dye solution. Then, I sat on the floor watching as the color climbed up the shirt. Really, it was fascinating. My daughters sat with me and we talked about the density of fluids. Yes, crazy and nerdy.

Science Talk

The dye is more dense than the water. As the solution saturates the fabric the less dense fluid flows up the cotton faster than the dye. In other words, the shirt was wet before it was colored. And that is how ombre works. As the water climbs the fabric, it dilutes the dye further, so that the deepest color is at the bottom of the garment while the lightest is at the top.

A word about length of time. This took two days. I moved the shirt lower into the solution after a day and I helped the color reach upward by using a dropper to wet the upper parts of the shirt. Alternatively, you could make one tub of highly concentrated color, using just a small amount of water. Then, add more and more water to dilute the color, dunking the shirt lower and lower each time.

When the shirt (or other garment) is to your liking, allow it to dry completely. Then, send it through the wash on its own. Press—or not—and wear with pride.

For a fun summer idea, divide your kids and their friends onto teams, having each child’s team dye white bandanas in a different color. Or purchase a large length of cotton muslin to make a table cloth or a summer tent for the kids.

Show us your photos! This is a nice alternative to tie dyeing.

I'm a Pittsburgh transplant in Tulsa, OK, where I live with my husband of 17 years and our 3 wild things. They are 14, 12 and 8. I keep my feet, fingers and head busy running, crafting and writing. My first book, "Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo," is available on amazon and b&n.


  1. Prime Parents Club

    August 2, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Check out Jennifer’s additional attempt. SO CUTE!

  2. Jennifer

    July 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Thanks, Jackie. I’m still playing around with techniques. Want to make a table runner for my dining room with a simple swath of cotton.

  3. Prime Parents Club

    July 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I LOVE THIS. Without fail, I purchase a white shirt and then ruin it a few hours after wearing it with some stain. (I blame the boobs.) What a cute solution!


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