Easy Spring Ombre Tee

Ombre is still a hot trend, and it’s especially fun to pull out in spring, when colors get lighter and bolder. Still, real ombre, with the process of careful dyeing, can be a bit time consuming. I should know, I’ve tried it before. What if you just want a quick ombre look to update your tees for spring? Well, there’s an easier way!

The key to this is using spray fabric paint instead of dye. You’ll see just how easy it makes it. So, to make your easy spring ombre shirt, you’ll need:

  • Light-colored shirt or tank. Grab it from a store or dig out something from your closet that needs an update!
  • Fabric spray paint (one or two colors similar to your tee, depending on your desired transition)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer, such as Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer or Floriani No Show Mesh
  • Awesome light stitching embroidery design (I’m using these pretty swallows)
  • A place you can spray your tee and make a bit of a mess

That’s all! It’s a quick update, I promise. 

It’s important to note that your fabric paint should be labeled “soft.” This kind of fabric paint sinks into fabric like dye, instead of sitting on top of it like a screenprint.

Start by hanging your tee out flat against an upright surface. I propped mine against a board covered in cheap paper I could easily clean up later.

Shake shake shake your spray can! We want to avoid droplets if we can. Try a few test sprays first to make sure it’s coming out with a nice fine spray. When you’re ready, start by spraying off your tee shirt, and sweep all the way across it. Start with light coats of paint.

Build it up with light coats. Here’s mine after a few passes. Start at the bottom and work gently up. You want the transition to be as smooth as possible.

If you feel like you’re not getting the depth of gradient you’re looking for, try a second color. I lightly sprayed the bottom of my tee with a purple in order to really get the ombre to show up. Your paint is likely to dry a little lighter anyway, so it’s best to make sure you have the effect you want.

Set this aside to dry (my paint said an hour) and then turn it around and do the same to the back!

Once it’s dry, you’ll notice that the gradient blends out as it sinks into the fabric and dries. I also found mine became a tad lighter. Still, it’s a beautifully smooth gradient and we didn’t need to mess with any timers, dye or boiling water. A much easier way to give your tees a spring ombre makeover!

Once your tee is try and ready, hoop it up with some sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer, stuck to the back of the fabric with a bit of temporary spray adhesive. This is especially useful on light tees like this one so the fabric can say soft.

To play up the ombre look, I thought I’d go for a tone on tone, light-to-dark look with my colors.

Set your machine to stitching once everything is all hooped up. Remember to pick a nice light design, as spring clothes like tees and tanks tend to be much thinner fabric than sweaters and long sleeves. Sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer is a fantastic choice for this combination, since it will support the design well through stitching, washing and wearing, while remaining nice and soft and flexible.

The other nice thing about light-stitching designs is they’re done in a flash! Unhoop your tee and cut away the excess stabilizer.

Light and elegant swallows are the perfect subtle accent for spring, and the colors of the birds show a reverse ombre effect to really let the transition on your tee shine!

In no time at all, you’ve transformed a plain tee into a bold ombre statement with no fuss with dye or timers.

Light stitching and similar ombre colors add a subtle elegance to the otherwise plain shirt.

This hot spring look takes less than an afternoon to pull together, and ensures a bold statement for spring. Hey, spring cleaning means pulling out a lot of old clothes, right? Bring new life to your wardrobe!

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Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Light and Shadow Swallows_image
Light and Shadow Swallows $2.99 - $3.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.02"w x 5.87"h | 5.00"w x 4.84"h | 3.86"w x 3.74"h | Hand Embroidery