DIY Ombre Fabric Backdrop
• RIT dye (available at Joann’s or Michaels for around $2.50)
• fabric (I use a white 100% cotton muslin fabric from Joann’s that sold for about $1.99 a yard. I used 2 yards, and cut about 5-6in wide strips of fabric. The length and fullness of the backdrop is up to you!)
• a dowel rod
• 6 12″ pie tins (mine were Marie Callendar pie tins, any metal pan will do!)
• newspaper to cover the ground
• a pair of rubber gloves to keep the dye off your hands
• an extra bucket filled with cold water
1. Start by laying out a couple pages of newspaper (or magazine) on the ground. Lay out your tins/bowls in an order that makes sense to you and your gradual fade process. Also, put your extra bucket of cold water next to your set up – somewhere close to access.
2. After setting, boil some water so it will be ready when you have the dye measured out. You will probably need about 3 cups per pan. This is where I put on my rubber gloves in case things got messy. Open your RIT package, and – using a regular spoon – scoop out into each pan the dye in an increasing progression. I started with about 1/4 of the spoon filled in the first pan, and went from there. I wasn’t as precise as most would be, but you really can’t go wrong! As long as there is a difference in each pan of more than 1/4 you will be fine. I then (slowly) added about 3 cups of boiling water to each pan. You might have some extra dye in the package still – I added more to the last two to get even darker shades.
3. Divide your strips into 6 equal piles – there may be a few stragglers so just put those in the dark/light pans. If you have more pans for a greater fade, calculate that into your pile division. Then, place each pile in its own tin. I separated each strip, placed it the dye, and pressed it down with the spoon to make sure it was fully submerged.
4. Wait about 5 minutes before starting to take out the lightest shade first (this way the darker shades will have some extra time as you are working on the others). Take the lightest shade out and place them in your cold water bucket and give it a good swish around with your hands to wash out the excess dye. Wring them out, then place that shade in a pile on the newspaper. You may have to dump/refill your bucket if the darker shades contaminate the bucket too much. After every shade had been rinsed, I also ran them under some water in the kitchen sink all-together just to make sure the dye was out. Place them all in the dryer together for a quick spin – mine was about 10 minutes on medium.
Once your fabric is dry, you are all set to go! Just tie them to a dowel rod in order of gradient and you have a gorgeous backdrop!