Easy Ombre Tea Towels

When House & Home (such a great shelter magazine, even if everything is sourced in Canada!) published this ingenious DIY Ombre Bedding, I knew I had to try it for myself! I love the imperfections and relaxed look of the watery dye.


Cheap and easy supply list….rubbing alcohol, black Sharpie marker, spray bottle, clothes pins and white dish towels. Since I wasn’t sure of the outcome, I went with a $2 pack of flour sacks from Wal-Mart.


Turns out, when rubbing alcohol is sprayed on permanent black Sharpie, it bleeds in a lovely lilac hue! So first step is to draw a thick line along the edge of the towel…I just used the seam as my guide, we’re not looking for perfection. Make sure you have a protective layer underneath to prevent bleed-thru.


Through trial and error, I found I prefer to first saturate the ink with alcohol while the towel is flat, so it bleeds out in both directions.


Then spray again once the towel is clipped up so the ink bleeds down.


The more you spray, the more the color spreads, but also becomes more diluted.


Once it’s dry, just toss in a hot dryer for 15 minutes to set the color. After that, it’s machine washable!


I experimented with different patterns of dots and stripes, but none turned out as well as a single line.


I think it would look lovely on cotton napkins or throw pillows, too.


Have you done any projects with dye or Sharpies? I’m hooked on the possibilities!

Psssst- I announced the Home Zada free membership winner, so click here to see if it’s you! There’s also a discount code for everyone!

***I shared this project with Sarah, the best link party in town!*** 

Leave a Comment


  1. Sheri wrote:

    Hey Cassie – check out this blog, http://www.inthefunlane.com/ – she did pillows the same way and they are awesome. Her blog is great too. Have a blessed day!

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  2. Simply LKJ wrote:

    What a fun idea! The craziest thing we did with sharpies was "paint" Katie's toenails for homecoming a couple years ago, she had played in a volleyball match and didn't have time to wait for real polish to dry. Worked like a charm!!

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  3. This would be a cute idea for a onesie too. Anything ombre makes me happy 🙂

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  4. Katie Lee wrote:

    Love it! I think you and I would be great friends in 'real life', because I love a good kitchen towel.

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  5. What a cool, easy project! Who knew something so simple would look so good!

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  6. Oooo I need to try this because I am constantly throwing out my dish towels (because I think they are yucky after some time…weird? I know haha). This would be a cheap and easy way to have cute dish towels that I didn't care about throwing away!

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  7. Fine House wrote:

    This looks great, it goes so well in your kitchen!

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  8. Beautiful! I wonder how it would turn out with colored sharpies?

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  9. How fun. Loving the purple, I may have to try this with some sort of Blue, possibly Aqua.

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  10. Cute! I'll definitely have to try this!

    Posted 9.12.12 Reply
  11. What a cool idea! I wonder if that will work with other Sharpie colors?

    Posted 9.13.12 Reply
  12. Ooh, I need to try this. The color possibilities are endless!

    What are your thoughts on ombre hair?

    Posted 9.13.12 Reply
  13. Nuha wrote:

    Absolutely love this idea! and it looks so good – definitely not DIYish at all!

    Posted 9.13.12 Reply
  14. This looks so fun and really simple. Did any of it fade when you put it in the wash?

    Posted 9.20.12 Reply