Thrift Store Refashion: Rainbow Tie Dye for a Boring White Dress

Thrift Store Refashion: Rainbow Tie Dye Tutorial for a Boring White Dress

Have you ever found a really cute white dress but hesitated to get it because you were worried it would get stained right away or that it would be too see-through? That happened to me recently when I found a cute white cotton dress at a thrift store. I’ll show you how to refashion that dress to make it more wearable, using a tie dye kit to make a rainbow dress!

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Materials used:

  • Tulip One Step 18-Color Tie-Dye Kit: This kit came with powdered dyes in bottles, and you just need to add water and shake them to create the dye. It also came with rubber bands and gloves to protect your hands, as well as some project ideas. I had plenty of dye for this dress, though I used up most of a bottle on each part of the dress. I still have a bunch of bottles leftover for future projects, too!

Decide on a Color Scheme

For this dress, I went with a ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo, violet) color scheme. This is the color spectrum you see in a rainbow, and I chose it because I knew the colors would bleed a bit from one section to the next and these colors blend well with each other. If you’re not sure how your colors will look when they blend together, do a test piece to see what it looks like. Colors like purple and green may end up blending into a brownish color when they meet up, and that may ruin the effect you’re going for.

Preparing to Dye

Tie dyes worked well on this dress because it’s cotton. Most natural fibers (e.g., cotton, linen, silk) can be dyed with tie dyes. Most synthetic fibers or blends do not take this dye well–your dye will wash out, so make sure you have a dress that can be dyed with this kind of dye. If you want to dye it a more muted color, a cotton blend might work well for this. A 100% synthetic fabric, such as polyester, won’t take the dye at all. I started with a 100% cotton dress.

Thrift Store Refashion: Rainbow Tie Dye for a Boring White Dress

Tie Dying Your Dress

To help the dye disperse, I soaked the dress with water before tying up each section. I ended up with seven sections. The rubber bands won’t fully stop the dye from traveling between sections–they’re mostly there to divide up the dress visually, so you know where to start and stop with each color.  I did my dying outside on a table covered with garbage bags, which were weighted down with washers. When I finished dying, I added more trash bags on top and weighted down the whole thing with washers. I let it sit overnight, and then rinsed the remaining dye out in the morning.

Thrift Store Refashion: Rainbow Tie Dye for a Boring White Dress

Here’s how it looked after dying and before rinsing. Once you’ve rinsed the extra dye out, run it through the wash. Even if you’ve rinsed it carefully, there might be a small amount of dye left, so don’t wash it with anything that can’t be dyed. Remember that synthetic fibers won’t take the dye, while natural fibers will.

Thrift Store Refashion: Rainbow Tie Dye for a Boring White Dress

Thrift Store Refashion: The Finished Dress

Thrift Store Refashion: Rainbow Tie Dye for a Boring White Dress



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