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Sunset Dyed Tank Top

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We really lucked out with the view from our balcony. We have this perfectly framed view of Mt. Hood year-round. It’s so amazing. Some mornings I sit at the kitchen table, sipping tea, taking advantage of those few precious quiet moments before my boisterous boys come stomping down the hallway for breakfast. How can this view not put you at peace?

Mt. Hood at sunrise, with yellows, oranges, reds and purples in the sky

I’m in love with the blending of these colors; the bright yellow at the horizon, melding into orange, slowly pushing the nighttime twilight away to begin a brand new day. Nature is some of the best inspiration.

Let me show you exactly how to mimic these colors on fabric using dye.

Prep the fabric, soda ash and dyes.

We need four colors: yellow, orange, red, and purple. I used Dharma Trading procion dye colors Bright Yellow (PR2), Soft Orange (PR5), Chinese Red (PR10A) and Deep Purple (PR18), but any of the bright, true versions of these colors would work.

Soak the item in soda ash solution for about 15 minutes and wring out well. Lay it flat and loosely crumpled on a protected surface. I dyed mine on top of a plastic storage bin lid with a plastic garbage bag underneath for extra protection. The lid makes it easier to move around when I’m done.

Wearing your gloves (safety first folks!) start with yellow at the bottom. Really let the dye soak through – it should be oversaturated to the point where you can see it really starting to bleed upward into the undyed areas.

White tank top with yellow dye on the bottom half
That yellow at the top was totally an oops when I forgot which side the yellow was supposed to be on… Good thing the dark color at the top will cover that up!

Next use orange. You actually want to overlap colors a bit, so start dying over some of the yellow section. Again, make sure you’re really soaking that shirt with dye! Drenched would be a good description of what we’re going for.

White tank top with yellow and orange dye stripes

This next step is important if you want the colors to blend smoothly rather than having a sharp line. Along the edge between the two colors you need to rub, smoosh, and squeeze the fabric to help the colors mix.

Repeat applying dye and blending the colors for both red and purple.

Tank top with red, orange and yellow stripes of dye

Tank top with purple, red, orange and yellow stripes of dye

Make sure you remember to blend! Always work lightest to darkest when blending so you don’t accidentally get darker dye in the lighter areas from your dirty gloves.

Cover with plastic to keep wet for 24 hours then rinse out the excess dye and wash.

It turned out pretty awesome, but I’m not quite finished with it yet. I can make it better.

Using some paint and a stencil I added a mountain range across the bottom – it really changes the whole look! Check back next week to see the tutorial on how to make a freezer paper stencil! Edit:Freezer paper stencil tutorial is now up!

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