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Hi! A couple weeks ago, my daughter and I did a special project together.
We tie-dyed tea towels!
It was so much fun and a great craft for kids because you can’t really mess it up. Although it is “messy”.
It’s a lot of fun to see your finished work when you unwrap everything to reveal your unique designs. We decided that these would make awesome tie-dye pillows for her room. It will serve as a nice little memento of one of our little projects together.
I’ll go through the steps with you!
It’s funny how this project started out, because I really thought I would end up with some tie-dyed tea towels. But the pillow idea is so much cooler and they go with the overall decor of her room better than our kitchen. They would kind of clash in our kitchen.
I found this neat little tie-dye kit on Amazon a while back. I found it hiding in the back of my craft stash. I have a tendency to do that. I buy stuff for craft projects and never get around to them until months later. Am I the only one?
Anyways, I love this tie-dye kit! They give you everything (rubber bands and gloves too), plus additional powder dye if you want to do a second project.
They also give you an info sheet for how to wrap your fabric for different looks. We ended up dyeing about 4 tea towels and a bunch of white cotton napkins. The napkins didn’t turn out. Good thing they were bought cheap and in bulk! I only ended up making three pillows.
We used these cotton flour sack tea towels. I love.these.tea.towels. They have a great fabric quality to them. They are big. They get softer with each wash. Oh yea, and they do a great job at tea toweling. 🙂 We use them to dry dishes, wipe up the counters etc. I’ve even used them to dust furniture. I bought the natural color but I think I’m going to go with white next time. I just think they are good value for the money. And they soak up dye like a champ!
This was my first time tie-dying since, grade school maybe? I don’t know but it’s been a while. I forgot how much fun it is. And how messy it is. And that you can’t really mess it up. You can just say – “I meant the design to be like that.”
The tie-dye kit comes with these little squeeze bottles for the dye. You don’t have to use them but we did. My daughter wanted to make “shapes” with it. You can’t really make shapes. It will just end up looking like a giant stain. Just an FYI. (But we meant it to be like that!)
things you’ll need
- Pre-washed Cotton Fabric (or tea towels like we did). I only used the dyed tea towels for the front of the pillow. I used just plain white cotton fabric for the back.
- Tie-Dye (like this fun kit here)
- Sewing Machine, Thread and scissors to make the pillows
- Optional but so much fun – pom-poms and fringe. (I used this pom pom trim and this fringe.)
- Optional but also fun – clothespins like these to make different designs.
Tutorial for Dyeing tea towels
Since the dye instructions may be different for each brand of dye, I won’t walk you through the actual steps of dyeing. I simply followed the instructions on the back of my tie-dye kit. My dye kit said to start with pre-washed fabric. We also dyed with dry towels. Some dyes call for rinsing the fabric first.
I will show you the folds we did to get the different patterns.
For the swirl look, I laid the tea towel out flat and twisted it around from the middle. I kept twisting until it was in a compact ball. Then I rubber banded it a few times. We applied the dye in between the rubber band sections. We used a combination of blue, red and purple dyes.
For this next one, all I did was fold the towel into a small square. I applied the dye just on the four edges of the square. We only used purple dye here.
For this look, I folded the towel into a triangle shape. Then I stuck a few clothespins around the edges. I only used the blue dye for this one.
This last one my daughter just went to town using the red and purple dyes. We didn’t create any folds. This is where she tried to make shapes, like hearts and a house. She is so cute! Some of the dye bled into other areas, which is why you see some light purple and pink throughout.
The instructions for my kit said to wrap the fabric in plastic after we were done dyeing and allow it sit 6-8 hours, or overnight. We left ours go overnight. The longer you let it sit, the more intense the colors will be.
Like I said, it is pretty messy. So I would recommend doing this outside or in a stainless steel sink. We did ours on a stainless steel table and it didn’t stain, but it was just messy. The sink option would have been better.
In the morning, we took it out and rinsed it with cool water until *most of the dye ran out.
Then I laundered the tea towels separately with a mild detergent and put them in a low tumble dryer.
Tutorial for Sewing the Pillow Covers
Sewing has become a lot more efficient for me since I got this rotary cutter and mat. I just lay my pillow form down and cut the fabric around it. Carefully. But you can also use scissors here too. I am in no way an expert at sewing. But it’s amazing how much you pick up just by doing it a lot.
I made simple envelope covers again. Because I love them. They are super easy. And there are no zippers to buy. But I do love zippers.
I like my pillow forms to be snug. So I cut the front piece to be pretty much the same size as my pillow form.
I cut the back piece the same as my front piece – plus 8 inches longer. Then I cut this piece in half.
I then sewed a 1 inch seam down on each of the back pieces.
Adding a pom-pom trim
My one pillow has a pom-pom trim all the way around. It’s so easy to add. This is how I do it.
I just measure and cut the pom-pom trim to fit each of the four sides. I pin the trim to each side of the fabric (right side facing up), making sure the pom-poms face in towards the center.
Then I sewed each trim all the way around. If you don’t want the trim part to show, sew as close to the poms as possible.
So now you take your two back pieces and line them up on top of your front piece. Right sides together (so you will see the ugly seam side of your back pieces). The pom-pom trim will be in the middle. Like a sandwich.
Sew the back pieces all the way around the pillow.
Now you can flip everything right side out.
Insert your gorgeous pillow form. Beautiful and unique!
Adding fringe trim to the front
I was perusing Pinterest the other day and of course, pinned like a million things. One of them was this fringy, boho-looking pillow. From Urban Outfitters. It has a little embroidery and fringe trim on the front piece of the pillow.
I thought – I could totally diy this!
This is so easy though because you just line up your trims on the front. Get everything the way you want it to look. Pin it so it stays. Then sew it.
Then go through the rest of the steps as explained above to finish your pillow. Just remember to sew with RIGHT SIDES facing each other (your fringe will be on the inside as your sewing).
It’s just something different and adds a pop of modern boho to her bedroom.
For the last pillow – I just sewed a simple envelope pillow cover. No embellishments. Done!
On my to-do list next is Shibori dye. I just have to try this out! Update – I tried it! Check out my shibori-dyed napkins.
Thanks for reading everyone! And have fun! This really is a great project with the kiddos.