Ombré is so perfect for summer, and the stove top method of dying I’ve used is so easy and fast, you’ll start to go bonkers wanting to dye everything and anything you can fit in a sauce pot! Hide the cat.
As always, I like to start you off with some eye candy so you get super pumped for the tutorial. Ready?
And as you can see (modeled by my sister Andrea, her baby Josie and my baby Ginger) this is a tutorial for the whole family (men too!).
Let’s all thank Jo Jo for having the best baby legs ever, “Thank you Jo Jo Bean!”
And on that fiiiiiiinnnne looking note, are you ready to get your ombré on?
I’m a firm believer in fun socks. This tutorial started as just a baby sock tutorial (I was tired of Gigi only having white socks to wear because of other lame sock options) but then I decided to throw some trouser socks in the mix for me! Next I’d like to do a pair of dress socks for my husband.
Here’s what you will need for this project:
1. Dye in your choice of color.
I used powder dye, and I prefer the “RIT” brand (available at Joanns). For the pink socks I used RIT Fuschia, for the Teal I used RIT in…Teal. And for the Neon Green socks I used the Tulip Brand (available at Wal-mart) in Neon Green. This brand TULIP, however, will NOT WORK on your most likely nylon trouser socks. And the dye is not as rich. I will explain how to get a richer color later, but I did try the Tulip brand in Gray with NO SUCCESS on either socks. I have not tried the Dylon brand yet. Please note! Your nylon trouser socks will dye much lighter than cotton socks! The Aqua ankle socks were died using the Teal.
**I just disovered that the Rit Website has a dye guide, so you can achieve TONS of colors with the few that you can find in stores..check out this one with Summer Brights!
3. A stainless steel pot
You don’t want to use a non-stick pot. The one I used is from a thrift store, and I have dedicated it to my dying projects. You might want to do the same (once you smell this stuff). You don’t want a pot that is too deep, otherwise you will have to keep your water level VERY high to dip those tiny socks.
4. White Socks!
I have searched far and wide for the best white baby socks that stay on tiny feet! Babies R’ Us discontinued my favorite kind SHAME ON THEM, but Wal-mart’s Faded Glory Bobby Socks come in a close second and are SUPER cheap. I like them more than any of the nicer brands because they stay on! They come in packs of 10 pairs for around $6.
I also got trouser socks there, I could only find white in a 6 pack (for $7) that included a tan color (shown in my picture) and black. I used one white pair for the Aqua socks (I used the Teal Rit Dye for those, it is just lighter because synthetic materials such as nylon do not get as deep of a color) and the other white pair for the hot pink (Fushia Rit dye) socks. I dyed a pair of tan socks and they look fine, but it definitely mutes the color.
I thought that the socks were too long, so for the pink pair I just cut off about 3″ – 4″ from the top. SNIP. Just like that. They won’t fray. They sort of scrunch down and I like the look because I think it is more flattering. For the Aqua socks I actually lobbed off some length, and reattached the cuff of the sock. It’s super easy (if you have a sewing machine) and you can do it using the same method I did for adding ribbing in my Tiny T Tutorial. I also found trouser socks at Rite-Aid in a cream color. I didn’t have much success at Target. But I did see some ombré ankle socks! Nice try Target, but these are cuter.
5. Clothes Pins
These can be surprisingly difficult to find. Places you think should have them sometimes don’t! So be sure to pick some up at Joanns when you buy your dye because I know they have them there. You may also want like a plastic spoon or a chopstick, something disposable to mix with or push your socks around with.
**OPTIONAL: Rubber gloves. Or just put your hands in plastic bags. Or throw caution and perhaps common sense aside (like me) and use nothing. You will have teal fingers though. And there are some “toxic” warnings…bah.
HOW TO DYE YOUR SOCKS!
1. Prepare your socks
Either unfold your socks (if using bobby socks) or make the necessary alterations to your trouser socks. However, I did do some alterations after dying, just make sure your colors will match up when dying.
2. Boil water
Don’t get all stressed out with measurements. Fill your pot about 2/3 full, and add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt, depending on how big your pot is. Then let the water boil!
3. TURN OFF THE HEAT
I didn’t do this once, and I fear my stove may forever be kind of teal.
4. Add your dye
If you’re mixing your dye you’ll want to be precise, but for a pot my size I used about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the powder dye. More dye = darker color. Stir this in with your plastic spoon.
5. Dip your socks
This is where the ombré part comes in (ombré basically means the color graduates from darker to lighter) I’m not claiming this is like Martha Stewartesque professional ombré in it’s truest form, this is like a hack tie-dye version. But I like the ombré/tie-dye crossover.
You will be dipping your sock (I did toe first so the darkest part would be the toes) in 10 minute increments. You will progressively dip more and more of the sock. I did my socks in 3 or 4 section chunks. On the baby socks I kept the tops white, and on my trouser socks I quickly dipped the top at the last minute to add some color.
I tried dipping them for more and less time. Less time made them lighter, but with more time they basically stayed the same. So don’t wig if you forget about them and they get dipped for 20 minutes on one portion. It doesn’t make too big of a difference.
I used to clothes pins to hold the socks in place. You can put the socks one on top of the other for the pair, or side by side. I think one on top of the other does help keep things more even between socks though. Here is the dipping process in pictures.
This is the gray that didn’t hold it’s color, it would have been awesome for a little boy! See how much of the sock is popping up? Just the bottom third or fourth of the sock is in the dye. In the next picture you can see my trouser socks, they are being held in place by a spoon, until they become shorter. Then I will use the clothes pin.
10 minutes elapse…
The socks begin to soak up the dye, so you have to dip them deeper into the pot. This is why a deep pot might be difficult. 10 minutes or so elapse…
And here is a close up so you can see what the final dip may look like. (This is my neon green dye). Notice how the dye creeps up the sock. This will wash out some, but not much. This tiny bit of dye does leave some color.
6. Rinse your socks
I guess you should probably use gloves. But I didn’t. Do be careful to not drip dye though. I lined my counter area with plastic bags. The Rit package suggests rinsing them in warmer to progressively cooler water. I did this…then I got lazy and just rinsed them in lukewarm water. You do, however, want to rinse them until the water runs clear. It won’t stain your sink! I promise.
OPTIONAL EXTRA STEP:
Sassy, smart Susan of Freshly Picked suggested this to me when I complained about how my neon green faded from step 6 (rinsing) to step 7 (washing). Throw the socks in the dryer. This will heat set the color. This worked REALLY well for my neon green. But made NO difference on my gray. Just don’t buy the Tulip brand. But if you do, well. Try this. Here is the difference. The one I put in the dryer is on your right.
7. Wash your socks
I washed all of my socks with LIKE colors only. So yes, I did a lot of loads of laundry. I’m a water waster. But I didn’t want to risk the colors mixing. Wash your socks with warm water and a little bit of detergent.
8. Dry your socks
Yes, again if you did the optional step!
9. Show off your sexy socks!
Ok, you’ve been such good students…MORE EYE CANDY! Is that an annoying phrase, “eye candy”? Bah, who cares, these really do look like candy.
Can you tell how much fun I had taking pictures of these socks? Too many pictures? Maybe. But look at this baby of mine?
Ok that’s it! Is swear…
I hope you enjoy this! Again I’d love to see what you do! The possibilities are endless.
The Little Tiny
But I hope to soon take some very affordable lessons from Heather of The Coterie. She might do some group photography lessons soon for beginners! Let’s all encourage her to do this by going to her blog and begging!