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+ Gradient Dyeing Tutorial +

By hiyoko-chan
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[EDIT 3] - VIDEO VERSION!! [link]


[EDIT 2] - sorry for some reason comments were disabled, but you have any questions feel free to ask XD

[EDIT] - Made a few more notes to help :) I'll HOPEFULLY have a video of gradient dyeing this summer. I'll keep every1 posted on that :D


This tutorial covers gradient dyeing for monotone colors or multiple colors. This is also a tutorial on how to CROCHET a Rikku scarf but sorry not for how to make the Songstress sideskirt. I just used it as an example of one color gradient dyeing.

Also, this tutorial is tailored towards using Rit dye, it is often recommended that you find a dye that matches the fibers of your fabric. I use cotton blends alot so i use Rit in that case :) There's dyes like Dylon and dye from the Dharma Trading Co that tailors towards silk, rayon, etc.

PS: Yuna thief blades were made by my awesome :iconxrikku-chanx: for my bday XD XD i'll be doing Thief Yuna possibly for Acen [will definitely need a warm season to wear that haha]

Rikku Scarf: Crocheting the scarf


1 large spool of Cotton white yarn [be sure that it is cotton or wool, 100% polyester and 100% acrylic will NOT dye]
1 package Rit Golden Yellow dye
1 package Rit Tangerine dye
1 package Rit Scarlet dye
1 3 or 3.5 mm crochet hook
3 – 4 gallons of water
3 cups salt
1 tbsp laundry detergent
1 large trash bag

1. Ch 15, turn and sc in ea ch [do not skip 1st ch]
2. Rpt for remaining rows [you’ll have to keep trying it on to get the right length for yourself, just stop at your knee cap]

Fringe – Take a 5” board [I used a DVD case LOL] and wrap yarn around it about 60 times
1. Cut along one side so that you have 60 10” strands.
2. Fold two strands in half and grab the loop of those strands with the hook and pull through a single chain on the scarf end.
3. Pull the strand ends through the loop and tighten off – Do this for every chain [about 15]
4. Repeat for other side

*Gauge should be about 15 or 16 ch
*Use sc [single crochet]

Gradient Dyeing

I detailed this according to dyeing the Rikku scarf.. but for one color dyeing, proceed with steps 1 - 4, but instead of switching out colors, proceed to gradually work your way down the material.

+ Basically you’ll be following the instructions on the package but I’ve made minor adjustments.
Use only about 1 or 1.5 gallons of water instead of 3 like the package says. This will give the dye more strength and make it more vibrant UNLESS you have a huge swatch of fabric to dye [i'd estimate 3+ yards, then use 3 gallons BUT with 2 packs of dye]. Just make sure you're using enough water for the fabric to freely move in without crowding excessively.

+ When doing multiple colors, start with the LIGHTEST color then end with the DARKEST (i.e. Yellow to Red)

+ Gradient dyeing is also an eyeballing technique, for the most part, you can gauge the look of the gradient by holding it up and looking to see if there are any harsh transitions. If you DO have a harsh transition in a lighter area, take a separate dyeing bucket and fill it with hot water and a SMALL portion of the solution in your current bucket to dilute it and then proceed to dip-dye repair the harsh area.

+ Selection of fabrics/materials: 100% cotton, linen, rayon, wool, and silk are suggested for Rit dye. Fabrics that contain at least 60% of these fibers are still dyeable however they will not be as strong. My suggestion is to do the gradient dyeing 2 or 3 times, alot of work i know. So CHOOSE wisely!

+ 100% polyester or acrylic will NOT dye!! As stated above, BLENDS of these fibers with DYEABLE fibers will give you LIGHT results. Please heed my word on this, i've made this mistake before.

+ It is EXTREMELY important to PRETREAT and POST-TREAT your fabric. Pretreating your fabric will help remove any prior stains or debris. Post-treating involves THOROUGHLY rinsing out the dye after each color [start from warm water and gradually into cold water]. You MUST MUST MUST MUST *breathes* MUST MUST do this!! Especially if you have gradient involving light and dark colors, any traces of the darker dye will rub off onto the other colors!!! It is also important that once you have done this that you wash your material to help remove any last bit traces.

+ Remember: DON'T freak out at first that the color looks tremendously dark as you're dip dyeing. When you post treat and dry it, it'll dry to a lighter tone. If you ARE looking for that strong of a color, concentrate the solution with a higher dye to water ratio but work in smaller parts of predye being added to the bucket.


+ Dyeing works well when you use HOT water, so please be careful when touching your fabric or working with the dye bucket.

+ GLOVES! Dye does stain your skin, granted it comes out EVENTUALLY, but i don't ever recommend dyeing without a pair for safetys sake. I usually use a pair of wooden disposable chopsticks to do any sort of agitation to the fabric in the dye bath.

+ When REMOVING dye using the Rit Color Remover, i noticed it has a very prevailing odor that can be quite sickening, please exercise precaution!

+ Staining - should you accidentally stain ceramic/tile, i noticed bleach works wonders to get it out, however obviously if you stain clothing or carpeting, you got yourself a nice blotch :) So wear careless clothing.


1. Boil 1 or 1.5 gallons of water [Does not have to be a rolling boil, just enough so that it is hot]. I usually just fill up a large stove pot with sink water and heat that up.

2. Prepare dye in presolution as directed on package. [I use a water bottle for this – just be sure to keep this separate from your actual dyeing bucket; all you basically do is pour the dye powder into the water bottle and then fill up the bottle with hot water, cap and shake to dissolve the powder, be careful when shaking if you don't tighten it off, you get a few splashes! lol]

3. Add 1 cup of salt and 1 tbsp laundry detergent to bucket.

4. Pour boiled water into bucket. *CAREFUL NOW!*

5. For the yellow, dump the entire yellow dye presolution and let the scarf soak for about 25 minutes with periodic agitation so that your fabric gets even contact with the dye. Remove from bucket and rinse THOROUGHLY.

*Repeat steps 1 - 4 for the orange and red dye. Be sure to completely rinse out the previous color from your bucket before starting the new one.

6. To get the nice gradient effect, only pour in about 1/3 or 1/4 of the orange dye presolution into the bucket and stir well. What this does is dilute the orange as you will see when you first go to dip it in.

7. *Note: the colors are about 1/3 each of the entire length, fold the scarf perfectly in half and hold the fringed side up with the other end to be dunked into the dye. Make a light mark where you want the gradient to begin, I used a pin [about 1/3 down from the fringe]

8. Dip the scarf to the farthest point you want the orange to start two or three times [take your time, don't rapidly dunk and yank it out LOL], afterwards dunk about 1 – 2” away from the last point you dunked, dipping about 2 or 3 times at the same spot. Proceed for a few more inches.

9. Lay out a large flat trash bag next to your bucket and CAREFULLY set the fabric on it making sure to keep the gradient end away from the lighter ends. Add another 1/3 or 1/4 of the dye presolution, stir, and continue from where you left off. Do not dunk from the very beginning of where you started!!!

10. Continue this process of adding the presolution in small parts while stirring and dip dyeing. Add the rest of the dye and finish the gradient.

11. Lay the scarf out on a trash bag to allow it to sit for about 25 minutes. Then rinse scarf out THOROUGHLY. **Avoid rinsing dye out near the yellow to avoid any staining)

12. Repeat for the scarlet dye from the bold end of the orange.

13. To check if you have washed your dye out during post treatment, the water should run clear or nearly clear [and i mean VERY CLOSE to clear]. Once this is verified, wash it normally and there you go!

Hope this helps :D
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Date Taken
Jan 28, 2005, 3:38:45 PM
© 2008 - 2021 hiyoko-chan
anonymous's avatar
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bluehentrooper's avatar
Thanks so much for posting this! I love gradient effects, and am intimidated by the idea of dyeing, so this is very helpful.
GoddessOfDarkness07's avatar
can you upload the video? it would be awesome to see it happening
HunterSerenity's avatar
Thanks! This helped a lot! And quick question: about how long is the entire dyeing process supposed to last for one color?
hiyoko-chan's avatar
It depends, I can typically have it done in about an hour (start to finish) :)
HunterSerenity's avatar
Ok thank you! This helped a lot! I will try this today!
meredy90's avatar
Oh wow!! your tutorial is super good!

I hope you don't mind me featuring this on my blog! :D
I'll make sure to link you once I've posted it!
JeNnDyLyOn's avatar
Could the gradient-dyeing work on jeans, as long as they're not polyester?
hiyoko-chan's avatar
I would think so, denim is often made with natural fibers. I'm not sure how saturated the colors may be since you're working with a blue base but it'd be interesting to see :)
JeNnDyLyOn's avatar
I'll be trying that out for sure, then! If I succeed, I'll share the results with you :) Thanks for the awesome tutorial :D
poison-is-my-potion's avatar
I'm going to gradient with only one colour. Do I need to treat in between each concentration or should i just do it at the end? Thanks!!
hiyoko-chan's avatar
Nope you only have to treat when switching colors. The video link I have in the description shows the process for one color dyeing :)
poison-is-my-potion's avatar
Thanks very much!! I'm going to give it a shot tomorrow :)
Poe-Raven's avatar
Just used this to make my dress for an Edea cosplay. So far so good. Thanks very much for the tutorial :D
hiyoko-chan's avatar
Awesome! Hope it works out!
Poe-Raven's avatar
Well the gradient worked...
I don't suppose you know how to stop black dye from coming out stupid red colours :P
hiyoko-chan's avatar
Do u mean from running? If u wash the material in the washing machine after the dye process it typically removes all excess dye :) or if u mean during dying I would check the fabric type and it might not be completely dyeable fibers
Poe-Raven's avatar
Turns out I wasn't leaving the fabric in the dye long enough for the darker pigments to set.
I was using cotton so I would have been surprised if it was the fabric's fault =P
hiyoko-chan's avatar
Ah lol yeah I usually leave mine sitting out (if I gradient dyed) or sitting in the dye bathe if monotone dying for 45 minutes at minimum XD
LadyAlzers's avatar
Ooh wow, thanks a lot. <3 I'll have to try this sometime!
Amerise's avatar
Thanks for the tutorial. I'm actually hoping to use this on a wedding dress but I'll be testing the hell out of practice fabrics before tacking my dress :D
hiyoko-chan's avatar
no problem! And good plan to test it our first :)
LanviL's avatar
Thanks for the awesome tutorial!
hiyoko-chan's avatar
MiniMiniYame's avatar
Thanks for this and the video tutorial! It really helped me out with my Hope scarf! :3 :heart:
anonymous's avatar
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