I'm so excited about this Rainbow Grad Dye! This is an Ellevill Zara Natural woven baby wrap, dyed using 3 colors to make this grad/ombre. I learned a ton, love how it turned out, and am excited to share!
Step 1: Step 1: Gather Everything You Need
Here's what you need:
-Woven Wrap/Material, I used a woven wrap, if you are making your own woven wrap then you will need 3-6 yards of fabric (depending on how long you want it) washed and hemmed to between 26"-30" wide. Some good fabrics for making your own wrap are 100% linen, cotton/linen blend fabric, or osnaburg. Natural fibers dye best!
-Fiber Reactive Dyes, I used Dharma dyes which are awesome! Other brands are Custom Colors, or you can also use Dylon or Tulip dyes, though you might need more dye to get vibrant colors
-Soda Ash or Washing Soda, both can be found at Walmart, Soda Ash in the pool section, and Washing Soda in the Laundry section. If you use Washing Soda, use 1/3 more (1 1/3 cup). I used Washing Soda.
-Salt non-iodized, about 12 cups or more, I bought a 25 lb. bag at Costco for like $4
-Hangers with clips, or clothespins, I used 10 hangers and the fabric was a single layer on each hanger
-Large Tote for dye bath, or you could probably use a big bucket, I've also used a trash can
-Something to hang the wrap from, I used an old metal clothing rack that adjusted in height. I've also used a curtain tension rod (you have to be careful with tension rods that the rod doesn't fall and wreck your dye project), other people rig a pulley system
-Smaller container for mixing dyes
Step 2: Step 2: Prep Your Fabric
-Wash and dry your fabric
-Scour you fabric- If you are using a woven wrap, you do not need to scour, and you can skip this step. If you are making your own using fabric off the bolt like Osnaburg, you need to scour your fabric before dyeing it. You do this by boiling water in a big pot, add 1 cup of soda ash and a little blue dawn and stir to dissolve. Add your fabric to the pot, and boil for 30 minutes or more. If you are using Osnaburg, your water will probably turn a dark yellow. When it is done scouring, rinse and dry your fabric. I didn't scour my fabric because it's a purpose woven wrap.
-Soda Ash Soak- Put enough warm water in your tote to cover your wrap, mix in 1 cup of soda ash, stir until dissolved. Add your wrap to the water and stir/poke it to make sure that the wrap gets fully saturated. Let soak for 30 minutes or more. I let mine soak for a couple hours stirring every once and a while. You can save this water/soda ash to use later in your dye bath if you want.
-Wring out- When you are ready to dye your wrap, take it out of the soaking mixture and wring out the excess water, leave slightly damp. I throw mine in the washer and do a Drain/Spin cycle. Do not rinse it, you want the soda ash to stay in your wrap, it will help it dye better.
Step 3: Step 3: Set-up
-Hanging the wrap- Attach hangers to one rail of your wrap folding the wrap back and forth accordion style. With this wrap I only used one layer per hanger. Some people attach multiple layers per hanger, but I didn't want the fabric to stick to itself and mess up my dyeing.
-Tapers- If you have tapers that hang down, you can loosely hand tack/sew them up, but make sure it's loose so the dye gets between the layers.
-Mixing your Dye Bath- I wanted to reuse my soda ash soaking water (which also saves on soda ash) so I left it in the tote and added more hot water so that the wrap would be able to move around easily in the dye bath. Mix in your soda ash if you are using new water, or just add a little extra to the water you already have (probably optional to add more, but I wanted to just to make sure). Add salt, I added 4 to 5 cups of Salt to my dye bath. It should be about 1 cup per gallon of water. Stir to dissolve. Put your powder dye in a separate container, I used about 1 Tablespoon of powder dye for each color that I did. Add warm/hot water to the powder dye and mix until dissolved. Once it's dissolved, add it to your dye bath water mixture and stir well. Once the dye mixes with the soda ash, it is most effective for about 45 minutes to and hour, so get dyeing.
-Hang the wrap up over your dye tub.
Step 4: Step 4: Dyeing Your Wrap- 1st Color Yellow
1st Color- Yellow (I used Citrus Yellow)
-Slowly lower the bottom inch of your wrap into the dye bath and let it sit for a couple minutes.
-Continue to gradually lower your wrap more and more into the dye bath until you reach the level at which you want the dye to stop.
-I grad dyed 2/3 of my wrap yellow. My total dyeing time from when I put the bottom of my wrap in, to when I reached the level I wanted was about 45 minutes. (So I lowered it super slowly!). I also every once and a while kind of bobbed it up and down to try to help it blend smoothly and not end up with lines.
-When you have reached the level you want the dye to stop at, raise the wrap out of the dye. I then let mine drip for a couple minutes, but I don't know that it's necessary. Rinse with cold water until the water runs clear (or clear enough :)). Wash on hot, and let dry.
Step 5: Step 5: Dyeing Your Wrap- 2nd Color Dark Red
2nd Color- Dark Red (I used Jungle Red mixed with a little Teal Blue)
-Re-soak your wrap in a new soda ash water mixture, wring it out, and re-clip it to the hangers with non-dyed fabric at the top.
-Follow the same process as above, grad dyeing over the yellow up 1/2 of the wrap leaving a little yellow at the top. My total dyeing time was 40 minutes for this color.
-Rinse with cold water, then wash on hot and let dry.
Step 6: Step 6: Dyeing Your Wrap- 3rd Color Dark Blue
3rd Color- Dark Blue (I used Cobalt Blue mixed with a little Teal Blue)
-Re-Soak your wrap in soda ash water, wring it out and attach the red part of the wrap to the hangers.
-Follow the same procedure for dyeing as above, grad dye over the non-dyed part, and yellow up 1/2 of the wrap. My total dyeing time for this color was 35 minutes.
-Rinse with cold water until the water runs clear.
Step 7: Step 7: Wash, Dry, and Enjoy!
-Wash on hot with a tiny bit of Blue Dawn (blue dawn is optional, but helps get the extra dye out). You may want to do a couple hot washes just to make sure all the extra dye is out.
Admire your work, and enjoy wearing your baby in your beautiful wrap!