Today I'm sharing the tutorial - with video! - for my DIY dip dyed napkins. Read on for my "how to dip dye" tutorial - plus tips, tricks and troubleshooting advice.
Dip dyeing is really easy - the hardest part was finding a basic white linen napkin! Most white napkins were "stain resistant," which I figured would resist the dye. In a pinch, you could whip up some inexpensive ones using this cloth napkin tutorial, but I chose to drive around, wild-eyed, to every store in town instead. Success!
Because I was dyeing six napkins, I tried a shortcut that I don't recommend! I created a dye bath in a huge plastic tub and then hung each napkin on a pant hanger. I placed all of the hangers on a long rod and my Mom helped my dip them all at once. I thought this would create an even look, but dye rubbed off some onto others and there was unfortunate splattering - I definitely recommend just doing one at a time! It really doesn't take long to dip dye a napkin.
To learn how to do it the right way, you can read the dip dyeing tutorial below, or check out my dip dyeing video!
- 2 Bottles of Rit Dye (I chose Royal Blue and Navy)
- Large plastic tub
- Hot, hot, hot water - I mixed a kettle of boiling water with super hot tap water
- Stir stick
- 1 cup of salt
- Rubber gloves
- An apron to protect clothing
- White linen or cotton napkins (this set seems nice, as does this one)
- Wash the napkins and set aside (do not dry)
- Cover your work surface with drop cloths and put on rubber gloves
- Create the dye bath, following the manufacturer's instructions (using only the Royal Blue)
- Add a cup of salt to the dye bath and stir
- Dip in the still-wet napkin to the highest point you'd like the dye
- Lift the napkin and dip again, to the same point
- Keep the napkin moving in and out of the dye bath, until the first "level" is as dark as you'd like it
- Keep dipping, but this time don't dip it so deep in the dye bath - dip, dip, dip
- Dip each "level" for about 3-5 minutes - remember, it will fade after the first rinse & wash
- Keep repeating this process, gradually raising the height of the napkin
- When you have only the very bottom left to dye, add the Navy
- Hold the bottom of the napkin in the darkened dye bath for 3-5 minutes
- When the dyeing is done, rinse the napkins in cold water - running the water away from the white
- Launder as usual, but beware the dye may tint the white a pale blue
The Best Tip for a Beautiful Dip Dyed Project:
Continually moving the napkin up and down helps the gradient to be more subtle - and also keeps the Rit dye from being splotchy (it likes to be agitated during the dyeing process). Continually moving the fabric creates a softer look than just holding the napkin in the dye bath at various heights, but if you'd prefer harder lines (like Anu's gorgeous dip dyed curtains, below), you can just dip and hold:
I also have a tutorial for these beachy DIY beaded napkin rings!