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Gradient dip-dyed tights

Filed Under: weekend projects, Crafts

Dip-dyed tights by Jennine from The Coveted. Fair use size.Gradient tights (also known as "dip-dyed" or "ombré") have been hot on the fashion runway in the recent past, making notable appearances at Prada and Lacroix; other clothing that fades gradually from one shade into another, in a few large, diffuse stripes, will also be visible this spring and summer.

Jennine, of the style blog The Coveted, badly wanted a pair of ombré tights, but found that the rare pair she could find were too expensive for her to justify the purchase. Instead, she treated a pair of light-colored tights to a home dye-bath.

A simple special process is used, so if you're interested in getting this look, read more about it after the break.


To do this project, you'll need:

  • A pair of light-colored pantyhose or tights (white or off-white will work best).
  • A box of dye.
  • Salt.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • A bucket, a bathroom, and some way to hang wet tights above the bucket.
  • You may also want to have chlorine bleach around for cleaning up the dyeing area afterward.

It's important that you rinse the tights first: the color won't fade or pool as easily and dramatically if you start with dry hose. Also, reader comments at The Coveted suggest that Rit works better than Dylon for this project.

Jennine goes into more detail about this; essentially, all you have to do is prepare the dye with salt and water in your bucket, dip the wet tights into it for a moment (dip as much as you would like to have dyed, usually from about the knees down), and hang them from the waist to dry. Gravity will pull all the water (and dye particles) down to the toes, making the color more intense there.

If you don't like the depth of color when the tights are dry, you can repeat the process. And if the color continually bleeds, you can always soak the finished tights in white vinegar to set the dye.

You could even get two-color tights by dip-dyeing a pair of tights that you've purchased in a light solid color, remembering that you'll only be able to use a dye color that's darker than the base color of your hose.

If you decide that you want to dye your tights more than one color, remember to think about how colors combine: yellow and green will be pretty easy to achieve, but yellow and blue probably aren't going to happen. On the other hand, as you'll see over at The Coveted, pale purple or pink turning into a darker shade of the same color looks quite nice.

In any case, I would always be sure to wash these tights before wearing them: purple toes are only fun if the color comes from nail polish.



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