Two things about me: I love bright colors, and I hate to pay retail. So that leads (lol, pun) me to my latest experiment, ombre cotton lead ropes. I first fell in lust with dip dyed leads thanks to Etsy and Instagram. I saw them in glorious technicolor about a year ago and thought “Ohhh, I gotta have it.” Then I saw the price. Yikes! Perhaps $40 for a cotton lead isn’t so much for your typical Wellington dressage trillionaire, but for me, a humble college professor, it’s too much money; particularly when one’s horse (not to name names, but LE DOUX) thinks it’s hilarious to steal, chew on, and otherwise destroy any cotton, nylon, or leather lead in his vicinity.
Armed with only the internet, boredom, and a desire for something pretty, I hied on over to the Rit Dye website. I was pleasantly surprised! The Rit memories of my childhood were centered around my long-suffering HSM (horse show mom) dyeing my horse slobber stained show breeches for schooling purposes. Today’s Rit is much more hip with an easy to read format, and lots of cool project suggestions.
So as not to get side tracked (thanks, ADD!) I tore myself away from the nifty instructions on how to dip dye furniture and curtains, and focused on the small things. It turns out dyeing a lead rope is easy. You stick it in hot water with the colorant, and slowly pull it out to create an ombre effect. You can re-dip the appropriate area for stronger coloration if necessary.
My biggest challenge was choosing a hue. Cotton candy pink, navy blue, green, orange… Finally I grabbed my best friend and headed to the local grocery store: he selected Hyacinth to match my hair, and I couldn’t be happier.
The whole thing was easier than I expected. I remembered to wear rubber gloves, and hung the rope upside down, outside, to ensure even distribution. Though I didn’t use the Rit Color Fixative afterwards, the dye hasn’t bled or rubbed off on my hands. Plus, I like the lead I started with: a heavy-duty, white cotton rope with a buffalo snap that I purchased on clearance from Riding Warehouse for $3.00.
All told, my ombre lead rope project cost far less than the retailers AND it matches my lavender dip-dyed hair. So it’s a win-win.