Starting with a little DIY project (and when I say little I mean a ridiculously messy labor-intensive project ;) )
Shibori...have you heard of it? It's become reallllly popular in the design world and I decided I wanted to recreate my own pieces on my very own re-decorated deck...
There are lots of DIYs out there for this project - you can find a bunch on Pinterest - you can follow the steps that come with the kits or I've listed a few below. This is the one I used if you want to get the same kit: Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit (Mini)
Warning: Do this outside - 1) It's a hot mess and 2) It smells like the world is going to end
Dyes more than 15 shirts! Um...I think this stuff could dye a duvet cover if you had 5 months to rubber band the crap out of it...
Here are the tools I used and then I'll give a few tips from what I learned yesterday when I was elbow deep in this stuff:
Rubber bands come in the kit but you might want to have more on hand, you'll need a bunch. I bought the binder clips so I could hang up the napkins to dry. I ended up putting most of the stuff in the dryer to try to 'set the dye.'
Rubber gloves, you need these. They give you wrist-length thin gloves in the kit, I used those for rinsing my stuff but for the actual dye I used these longer ones because they want you to actually get below the surface.
These are expensive in my opinion but you want canvas versus a plastic drop cloth because the dye will just run off.
A 5 gallon bucket...make sure the lid actually fits. I bought the lid right above the bucket and put it on top to check that it was the same size and it still.did.not.fit.
Here are some of the things I purchased and had on hand to dye:
Canvas tote bag (I found mine on Amazon)
12-pack of cotton napkins, also found on Amazon
Found these pillow shams on Target.com...wouldn't recommend unless you like a really really faint light blue look.
Old yellowed Jcrew tshirts. I also dyed an old Banana Republic white cardigan, and a white cotton apron (found on Amazon).
A helpful warning on the side of the bucket...what the?
Okay, so you can definitely follow the instructions included with the kit but here's my quick and easy method (along with my notes about what you can learn from my 'mistakes')
First, fill the 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of warm water.
You'll see I used a long cardboard tube (from my outdoor rug) for stirring. Don't do this. It's a bad idea...the cardboard starts falling apart. They say to use a yard stick but you know I feel about my yard sticks...
They tell you can then bind your fabric while you wait for the 'vat' to be ready but I found it took me a really long time to rubber band everything and I felt like I was rushing. So bind your stuff first then start mixing.
Empty in the indigo dye...
Pause to take a bunch of photos of the dye coloring the water abstractly...
Then, the two packets of white powder
Then, you're supposed to wait about 30 minutes or so while you bind your fabric, here's my pile of rubber banded cotton waiting to be dyed:
They give you two small wood squares and I also added some scrap wood I had along with the two popsicle sticks they give you as stir sticks. Nothing against the people who developed this kit but who is going to stir a 5 gallon bucket with a popsicle stick??
I used the end of the cardboard tube to scrunch up some fabric and tie it to the tube. It came out really pretty like waves.
You'll want to wait until the 'bloom' occurs on the top of the dye, it looks frothy - they say you can remove it and put it back later but that sounded like a big mistake to me so I pushed it to the side.
Now the instructions say to submerge for a minute or two. I did this for all of the pieces and then repeated and dipped them all again. I now know that wasn't even close to enough time...I found another tutorial that said to soak the pieces for 10 minutes!
Which is interesting because the instructions said not to let the pieces touch the bottom of the bucket...so if they think I'm going to hold my hands submerged in this smelly bucket for 10 minutes they're crazy...
Anyway, I digress...here are a few shots of the napkins I dyed. I tried to do a different technique for each one so they'd all be unique. They looked amazing when they were still wet but lightened up quite a bit once they were dry. I'll try to snap a photo or two once it's daylight again of how they look now. Still pretty just not what I was expecting when I untied them all. I wanted that deep brilliant indigo color...
I might try again, we'll see :)
Now for clean up...they say to dump the bucket's contents down the drain when you're done with the dye (you can actually cover it and use it again for about a week or so...I thought about this but didn't want it in the house...and didn't want to keep it on the deck in case some annoying squirrel decided to knock it over and then I have an indigo deck..which might not be half bad...but I love my Joss&Main rug just the way it is...)
Anyway, I dumped it down the drain and the 5 gallons started going too fast and ended up splashing blue dye...everrrrrywhere. I'm talking my Vitamix blender...my cabinets...on the floor. Good times...
I read a bunch of tutorials about washing in white vinegar, washing in salt, washing with mild detergent. I tried them all and the color still faded. So I think I might actually let the dye dry on the fabric for a few hours and then try rinsing it next time.
Hope you have a great week!