Simply striking and strikingly simple. Recipes, crafts, home decor and general life hacks that are easy yet impressive.

DIY Ombre Tights

I am obsessed with ombre everything and in the past few years I have seen every article of clothing and home decor item pay homage to the gradient look. From hair to cakes, to scarves, to walls, ombre has taken the world by storm. One particular item I am particularly enamoured with is ombre tights. However I have found them hard to come by, and when I have i admit to getting sticker shock with a pair running approx. $60+.

That is when my mind starting working on how to make them. The perfect combination of obsession+frugalness=DIY motivation. Making DIY ombre tights is much cheaper and relatively easy although it may take a couple of tries to perfect. I’ll also list my ‘lessons learned’ at the bottom of this post to make your experience much easier.

You will see that I used RIT fabric dye. I chose RIT for two reasons (easily accessible to most and no boiling required) however there are other specialty brands that are made to dye nylon and poly blends if you wish to do so. My instructions will not vary much if you do, except you may be limited to doing this craft where you can keep your pot of dye boiling.

You can use any tights you wish. I purchased my from We Love Colors because they have an incredible array of colors and sizes, including a large selection of plus sizes, to choose from and all at very reasonable prices. You are also not limited to just tights. You can dye leggings or pantyhose. For leggings, especially 100% cotton, I would advise diluting the dye more than the instructions for nylon or poly blends as it soaks up dye more efficiently.

dip dye tights

You can do any combination of tights and dye for the effect you want. Some of my favorite combinations are: Light purple tights with dark purple dye, dark purple tights with black dye, cornflower blue tights with navy blue dye, buttery yellow tights with blue dye (my current fave), dark yellow tights with orange dye.

You will need

1 medium to large bucket or pot. Do not use plastic unless you are ok with permanent staining

Fabric dye


Garbage bags or plastic to protect the floor

An area to hang your tights (I used a tension rod)

Plastic or vinyl gloves

Cooking spray (optional)

Chalk (optional)

The Set Up

Playing around with fabric dye can be tedious and you want to make sure you don’t permanently stain anything around you you don’t want ruined. So as you can see by the picture below I used my bathtub. Had the weather been more agreeable and I didn’t worry about my neighbours wondering what the heck I was doing, I would probably suggest doing this outside.

I used a tension rod and placed it horizontally along the tub to hang my tights. I then used cooking spray and sprayed the tub and walls to prevent the dye from staining. It creates a more arduous clean up process later, but much easier than scrubbing out seeped in dye from grout! I then lines the tub with garbage bags for additional protection when the tights were drip drying.

dip dye bathroom setup

I know, right? An all white bathroom and navy fabric dye. What was I thinking???

dip dye spreaying tub

Spraying every square inch of my tub and shower wall.

Now on to the fun part…

1) Carefully take your tights out of the package (or you can use previously worn tights). If they are new, take them out carefully because this will help you ensure both legs are of equal length. This will help the gradient look as similar as possible between both legs.

dip dye tights opened

2) Line up the toes

dip dye toes linedup

3) Here is where you can decide whether you want the ombre effect to tart from the waist and gradually fade down towards the knees, or have the ombre start at the toes and gradually fade up towards the thighs. I like both and in my tutorial you will see I have demonstrated both methods. This is personal choice of what look you want.

Which ever you choose, use a chalk to mark a line across where you want the ombre to fade out to. This will help guide you as to where to stop dipping in the dye.Make sure to mark both legs and double check they are at the same level.

dip dye chalk line

4) I highly suggest you tie off the end you are not going to dye to help prevent extra fabric getting in the way.

dip dye tied off

5) In a sink or large bowl, wet the tights thoroughly to help the dye color evenly. The chalk line will not wash off.

Tights ready for bath!

dip dye tights ready to dye

6) Since I liked a more vibrant color, used the entire bottle of RIT dye. I mixed it according to instructions using hot water from the tap.

dip dye dye mixed

7) Slowly dunk the tights into the bucket of dye stopping at your chalk line

dip dye dipping1

8) Once you hit the chalk line, immediately lift the tights up by about 4-5 inches. This will be the lightest part of the gradient.

dip dye dipping2

9) Let the remainder of the tights soak on the bucket, every 5 minutes lifting another 4-5 inches out of the dye.

dip dye dipping3

10) Once you are done soaking, hang the tights to continue drip drying for at least 2 hours. This will help the dye pull or run down, helping with the ombre effect.

dip dye hang to dry

11) Once the 2 hrs has passed, rinse the tights well in cold water until the water runs clear. Carefully rinse from the darkest area up to the lightest making sure the inky water does not touch any of the un-dyed parts of the tights or they will absorb the color. Hang to dry or machine dry on a low setting.

DIY ombre tights

DUY ombre tights

Lessons Learned:

  • If you can, dye 1 pair at a time. For this tutorial I did 4 and it was cumbersome to say the least. The more tights involved the more chance of splashing and having to handle a pair of dyed tights and then move on to another pair really increased the chance of marking areas not meant to be dyed.
  • Rinse the tights from darkest first with the water running down towards the darkest part. DO NOT dunk the tights all at once to rinse because the un-dyed parts will soak up some of the dye int he rinse water.
  • Tie up any extra fabric not being dyed to keep it out of the way.
  • Definitely wear gloves!

4 comments on “DIY Ombre Tights

  1. talitha haynes (@thaynes76)
    November 2, 2013

    Great blog I’m going to try this. Coming to from Sits Girls

    • simplystrikingblog
      November 2, 2013

      Thank you so much for the compliments. Have fun with your new tights! 🙂

  2. Akaleistar
    November 3, 2013

    How fun!

    • simplystrikingblog
      November 3, 2013

      I love wearing mine and get so many compliments. I hope you give it a shot 🙂

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This entry was posted on November 1, 2013 by in Crafts, DIY, Fashion, Tutorial and tagged , , , , , .
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