dip dye DIY

March 23rd, 2012

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Buzzfeed to by part of their “Craft Wars” section of their site — and I won’t lie, I was a little nervous, because I don’t consider myself much of a crafter.  But I was excited about the challenge, and I said I’d do my best.

And I think these came out really well!  Fabric dying isn’t that easy (there’s a reason why most designers use machines for it), but it’s also kind of addictive — I can’t wait to do this again!  I found the shorts for $12.99 at T.J. Maxx, the dye for about $4 at a crafts store, and the bucket for $1 at a Dollar Store (I didn’t want to use any of my kitchen bowls because I worried about dye residue on anything that I’d use for food later on). 

So here’s what I did!  Check out the full challenge on Buzzfeed, where I got pitted against the incredibly talented uber-crafter Jenni of I Spy DIY (eek)!

Dip Dye DIY Ombre Shorts

1 bottle RIT dye (or other comparable brand)
White denim shorts
Plastic bucket


Dissolve 2 tbsp dye in 1 gallon hot water (I microwaved the water for 3 minutes to get it hot enough).  Dip the shorts about halfway into the water, and hold them there for about ten seconds.  Remove.

Gently wring out the shorts, making sure not to spread the dye with your hands.  Hang them up briefly.

Dump out the water, and add about half the bottle of dye to an additional 1 gallon of hot water.  Dip the shorts into the darker water about 1/3 of the way up the shorts, and hold them there for about 30 seconds.  Gently wring out the shorts and hang them up again.

Add the remaining 1/2 bottle of dye to the water.  Dip just the bottoms of the shorts in the water, and stir the water to distribute evenly.  Hold them there for about 5-7 minutes.

Dump out the dyed water.  Under cold running water, rinse the shorts until the water runs clean, and then hang them up to try.  In a few hours, you’ll have new ombre shorts!

Tags: DIY · style

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Madeline Castleman // Mar 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I love these shorts! I can’t wait to try to make them myself. Thanks for the tutorial, you should continue to post more!


  • 2 Inge // Mar 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I love them!

  • 3 nuha // Mar 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

    oh my gosh – i love them!! you did an incredible job!


  • 4 Jess // Mar 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Those are so cute!  I’ve never dip-dyed before, but it doesn’t look too hard.  How cool!

  • 5 Jess // Mar 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

    (Also — I voted for yours on Buzzfeed!) 🙂

  • 6 Sarah // Mar 23, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Fun!  And very on trend (ombre clothes are everywhere) so it’s pretty need that you can say you DIY’d it.

  • 7 Emily // Mar 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Good job katykate!!!

  • 8 Grace - Stripes & Sequins // Mar 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Nice job, Katy!  Love it!!!

  • 9 meisha // Mar 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    wow! very cool!

  • 10 curlijuli // Mar 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    The project looks like a lot of fun!
    Love the turquoise color!:)


  • 11 Outside Looking In // Mar 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    These look amazing!  You did a great job and excellent instructions!

  • 12 Marlo // Mar 26, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I used to see this in Pinterest and my wife tried to do the same dying her pants but she mess up with the colors and end up with a disaster.

  • 13 Tisha Loves Fashion Merchandising // Mar 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    OMG! What a fabulous idea! I have so many old jean shorts that need a “makeover” and I think dying them is just what they need. Thanks so much!

  • 14 [INSPIRATION] Dip dye Trend SS12 | UK style and beauty blog for frugal fashionistas ¦ Sugar and Spice // Jun 1, 2012 at 6:03 am

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  • 15 Ashley // Mar 19, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I just did this with the wine color RIT and they turned out AWESOME!!!! Only thing is I’m nervous about wearing/washing them for the first time. I’m so excited i want to wear them tomorrow morning but I don’t want them to dye my legs! :O lol Thanks for this! Your awesome!

  • 16 Kayla // Apr 4, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    This is sooo great, and i am so thankful i found it just in time for summer! because my shorts were dark i bleached them and then did this. i now have a new favorite pair of shorts!

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