How to Apply Watercolor Wash to Your White Clothes

by Oaishe
7 Materials
15 Minutes

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I added watercolor wash tie-dye to a tiered white skirt I made. It’s a little different than traditional tie-dye, but the effect is beautiful and adds a little spice to my outfit. Follow along to learn how to watercolor wash your garments!

Tools and materials:

  • White skirt
  • RIT fabric dye
  • Salt
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge paintbrush
DIY watercolor wash

DIY tie-dye skirt

Fill bucket

To make this DIY watercolor skirt, the first thing I did was fill my bucket with hot water.

DIY watercolor skirt

Add dye and mix

Next, I added fabric dye to the hot water. I just eyeballed the amounts, but you can get a more accurate idea of amounts by reading the instructions on your dye packaging. Then I mixed it together.

How to watercolor wash

Add dish soap

I added a few pumps of dish soap to the water and dye.

Watercolor wash tie-dye

Add salt

I added salt to the water, which is necessary if you are going to be dying cotton, rayon, or linen. 


I used a piece of scrap fabric to test how the color will appear on the fabric.

Submerge the garment

I submerged the skirt in the dye for just a few seconds. The longer the fabric stays in the dye, the darker it will become. Some areas of the garment will have less dye, but that’s part of the design. 


I squeezed the skirt to remove excess dye and help blend the color.

Add black

Next, I added a very small amount of black dye to the water. 


I dipped a sponge paint brush into the dye and used it to paint a few areas on the bottom of my skirt, like a watercolor painting. Don’t forget to do the back of the garment, as well.


When I was satisfied with how the colors looked, I hung the skirt to dry.

The final result is beautiful! The colors dry much lighter than how they look when the garment is wet. 

Are you going to try this DIY watercolor wash project? Which clothing items are you going to dye?

Suggested materials:
  • White skirt
  • RIT fabric dye
  • Salt
See all materials

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2 of 7 comments
  • Pat Pat on Jul 12, 2022

    That turned out so pretty you've inspired me to try it. Thank you for sharing

  • MadeByBarb MadeByBarb on Jul 13, 2022

    I too do not like the psychedelic tie dyes! They are usually too colourful. My issue is with the Rit dyes as I find they lose a lot of their vibrancy. I've since switched to the fibre reactive dyes, they are so much stronger and do not get lighter. You can still do the same technique but it doesn't look washed out, and you can omit the tieing. 'And yes the blues are the best..

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