How to Dip-Dye Your Own Ombre Napkins


Photography by: Madeline Trait

When you dye fabric, the type of fabric matters. If cost is no issue, go for linen — 100% linen typically takes dye better than cotton. Cotton will work for this project, but take that into account when choosing your colors and remember that they may not be super vibrant. The type of dye that you choose can also affect the outcome of this project. I prefer Fiber Reactive Dye because there is a large selection of colors to choose from, and it has produced reliabe results for me. Be sure to get the suggested additives listed on the packaging to get the best color possible. If you want your beautiful ombre color to last, it is crucial to get textile detergent — it’s a surefire way to get the color to stay in the fabric and minimize fading. That being said, this project is pretty simple. Get all your materials together and starting dyeing!



– Small bucket

– Napkins

– Dye

– Textile detergent

– Rubber gloves

– Iron



1. Set up your dyeing area. Lay down a drop cloth so you don’t get dye on anything — it will definitely stain. 

2. Pre-wash your fabric to prep it for dyeing.

3. Follow the dye instructions to create a dye bath in your small bucket. 

4. Once your dye is ready, make sure the edge of the bucket is clean and free of any dye. Lay your napkin flat over the edge with about one inch inserted into the dye bath. If it won’t stay on the ledge, use a hanger.


Photography by: Madeline Trait

5. Now all you have to do is wait. The longer you leave it in the bath, the more the fabric will absorb the dye. I typically suggest about an hour to get about 4 inches of the fabric dyed. 

6. Once you are satisfied with how far the dye has gone up the napkin, remove from the bath and wash in your textile detergent, following their instructions. 

7. Now wash, dry, iron, and use!


If you are thinking of doing this for a large event, be sure to get a larger bucket and have plenty of space to hang all your dyed napkins on to dry. You can also secure dowels across the bucket and hang your napkins from there.


These napkins will make a beautiful addition to any table, and if you plan ahead, you can customize your napkins to your chosen color scheme. Have fun, I know you will enjoy your DIY table setting!