Have you tried normal dip dying but want to play with shades and colors? If you're ready to learn how to ombré dye a crochet project, keep reading to see exactly how easy it is even for large projects! If you haven't dip dyed before, check out this post that gives you a more in depth explanation on how to dip dye.
The Cardigan shown below is the one that I dyed for the picture tutorial. See the end result below!
I love the gradient shades with ombré colors. Although I loved my Crystalized Boho Cardigan (free pattern on the blog) in white, I love color... I love blues!
I do recommend trying this dyeing yarn technique on a small project, like the video below shows, before jumping into a larger project.
This is the second tutorial in the Dyeing Crochet Projects series. If you've followed along with the How to Dip Dye a Crochet Project post, step 1-4 are the exact same as well as materials.
- A crochet project using wool or cotton (I used the Granny Diamond Coaster Crochet Pattern for the video tutorial to stash bust and ombre dyeing for this tutorial!) Plus an additional strand of yarn to test color.
- All Purpose Dye (I used Rit All Purpose Dye in Emerald but food coloring can also be used)
- White Vinegar
- Plastic container (or any contain that is not aluminum. I've used glass and plastic bowls. You can also use a clean container that you wouldn't mind getting dye on, like a pitcher, ice cream pail, 5 gallon bucket.)
- Safety glasses
- Surface protector (such as plastic wrap, plastic table cloth, or something that will not absorb the dye and ruin the surface you're working on)
- Tongs or Wooden Ring with dowel
- Drying Rack
- Old dish cloth, towel or blanket
- Optional: Dye Fixative (make sure to read directions, this is normally done immediately after dying is complete and helps retain color)
- Optional: Salt (for enhances color)
- Optional: Liquid Dish Soap (1 tsp for even dying)
- Optional: Citric Acid Crystals/Powder (used with acid dyes and works on wool but not cotton or linen)
Click here to jump right to the video tutorial!
Let's begin the ombré dying tutorial!
Gather all your dying supplies near a sink, preferably a wash basin. Having a sink near by not only is helpful for rinsing, it's also a handy way to wipe up spills up quickly.
1: Prep your crochet project
Start by soaking your crochet project and a strip of the same yarn, your gauge swatch, or a small swatch, for 30 minutes. This project I used 4 cups of water with 1/2 cup vinegar. If dying a larger project, increase the water/vinegar solution keeping the same ratios.
2: Ready your work area
I really encourage a plastic table cloth, or something to protect the surface you're working on. Along with that, make sure to protect your eyes with safety glasses and hands with gloves.
Some dyes vary with directions. Make sure to follow the directions on your dye. For example, how hot the dye bath should be as well as the maximum amount of time the project should be in it. Another common variation is if the project should be rinsed with hot of cold water.
3: Prep your water and dye mix
Get water to roughly 140° F. Shake to mix your bottle of dye. Add a little dye at a time to get the color/shade of your choosing. This is where you'll add of the option items. 1 cup salt will enhance color, 1 tsp liquid dish soap will help with even dying as well as citric acid crystals.
4: Test a swatch!
Super important!! Test a swatch or yarn strand of the yarn you used for your project. With larger projects especially, you don't want to ruin your project because it isn't the color you intended. A test swatch for the exact amount of time will show what the end result will be. If you anticipate leaving the project in for a longer amount of time, I would recommend recording the amount of hot water and how much dye you've used for your test. You may need to reheat water and remake another dye bath.
5: Dye your crochet project
You can start at any area with your project but the longer the project is in the dye bath, the more color it will gain. I normally start by dipping the entire project in first.
There is two ways of ombré dyeing. 1: Dip your entire project in and slowly pull it out over time or by dipping it back and forth continuously or 2: Dip only one end continuously in the dye bath and slowly keep lowering it in. Either way, one section will always be in the dye bath longer and will have a darker color. Dipping it continuously will allow for a more smooth ombré color than pulling it out over time. You'll most likely notice the color changes.
Above shows the garment being pulled out after 5 minute intervals. In the right most picture, you can see the line where I pulled it out vs what was left in. The video shows dipping it until the end.
6: Prep your project for drying
Once your project achieves the color of your choosing, rinse out with water (temperature according to your dye directions). Water must run clear. After, roll your project in a dish cloth or towel to soak up excess water. Do not wring it out or agitate the fibers.
Larger projects may need to be dyed outdoors like my photos above. Instead of using my basin sink, I decided to rinse in a bucket, fill another, and then move it to the clean water bucket until it came out clear.
7: Let project completely dry
Using a drying rack of some sort will speed up the drying process. This will allow air to not only reach the top but also the bottom. Laying on a flat surface with no air flow under it will result in a longer drying time. Outdoors on a less humid day works wonders!
And that, my friend, is how to make your crochet project ombré!!!
Once your project is completely dry, enjoy it!
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