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Dip-Dyed Tablecloth

This summer, everything is awash with blue color. Simply dip the fabric into a dye bath to create a fun ocean-inspired look for your table.

Shark Week Tablecloth

Photography: Taylor Grayson Photo

Source: Martha Stewart


This idea comes from our friend Ashley Lloyd of Let's Mingle. The dip-dyed tablecloth served as part of the décor for her Shark Week themed party. 


If you plan to launder your tablecloth, you can set the colors by washing the finished fabric in synthrapol detergent ( This concentrated, pH-balanced detergent will keep the dye from bleeding onto undyed parts of the fabric. Before starting, ensure you're working in an area that you can get dirty, preferably outside.


  • Tablecloth
  • Dowel rod
  • Rit Liquid dye
  • Large bucket or bin
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Optional: Clamps


  1. Prewash the tablecloth to remove anything that may prevent absorption of the dye. Don’t worry about drying the tablecloth, because you will want it to be a little bit damp before dyeing.
  2. Fold the tablecloth over the dowel rod evenly; ensure that you are folding the tablecloth so that every edge of the cloth will be submerged in the dye bath and the center will remain white. You can use clamps to secure the tablecloth in place if desired.
    Shark Week Tablecloth
  3. To determine how much dye is needed, determine the weight of the tablecloth. As a general rule of thumb, ½ cup of liquid dye will color 1 pound of dry weight fabric. For dark colors or synthetic fabrics such as polyester, double the amount of dye.
  4. Fill a plastic bucket or container with 2 gallons of boiling hot water; pour the dye solution into water and mix until well combined.
    Shark Week Tablecloth
  5. Dip the tablecloth into the bucket and immerse the bottom into the dye bath for 10-15 minutes. If you are using a synthetic fabric, keep the fabric immersed for 30 minutes. Dip as much fabric as you want to have colored. If using a synthetic fabric, you won’t need to dip again, the dye will travel up the fabric naturally. If using a cotton fabric, dip middle section of the tablecloth into the dye bath for 5 minutes, until a lighter desired shade is achieved. (This will create an ombre effect).
    Shark Week Tablecloth
  6. Remove the tablecloth from the dye bath and wring out any excess.
    Shark Week Tablecloth
  7. Rinse the tablecloth under cool water or a hose if you are outside, until the water runs clear.
    Shark Week Tablecloth
  8. Allow the tablecloth to dry completely for use.
    Shark Week Tablecloth

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