So, guess what I did last weekend? I crafted. Friends, I am going to be completely frank with you – crafts terrify me. As comfortable as I am in a kitchen mixing edible ingredients, put me within 30 feet of a stencil or a glue gun and panic sets in. DIY is just not my forte.
I saw this indigo dye project on a blog recently, though and fell in love with the vibrant colors. The design style is called shibori and you’ve probably seen the look before like this dress or this scarf. I knew it was a bold move, but I decided to step several miles outside my comfort zone and ordered the dye kit. The kit includes most everything that you’ll need. I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket at Home Depot along with some paint stirrers and picked-up a couple favorite white tees and a set of my go-to floursack dish towels.
This was a messy, non-kid friendly project. I worked outside and used a plastic shower curtain as a tarp. I followed the dye kit’s instructions, filling my 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of warm water. I added the indigo dye powder and stirred carefully in a circular motion. Next I added the soda ash and reducing agent (both from the kit) and continued to stir in a circular motion until everything dissolved. I learned that indigo oxidizes quickly so it’s important to cover the bucket with a lid as soon as the dye bath is fully-mixed. The kit suggests letting the mixture sit for 15 to 20 minutes or an hour for best results. I waited for about 50 minutes and prepared my fabric in the meantime.
There are many different pattern ideas to choose from, but I went with the basic accordion fold, which is achieved by folding the material back and forth and clamping with wood blocks and rubber bands. I also created circles or rings by pulling fabric at a point and securing tightly with a rubber band.
One word friends, gloves!! Gloves are critically important if you’re hoping to avoid that Smurfette look. I soaked the fabric in clear water first and squeezed out as much liquid as possible. I very carefully submerged the fabric into the dye bath. I held the fabric down under the surface of the liquid for 5 minutes. I thought I’d be able to just drop the fabric in the bucket, but you have to hold the material in your hands or it could be stained by residue at the bottom of the vat. The cool things was, when I removed the garment from the bucket, the fabric appeared a crazy yellow-green color. However, once it’s exposed to air, the dye will oxidize and immediate begin to turn blue. I think you’re supposed to wait to remove the elastics, but I couldn’t wait to see the designs so I removed the bindings right away and allowed the fabric to air dry. I washed my garments (separately) in cold water and dried flat.
I was truly very pleased with the results and think these napkins would make a really cute addition to a 4th of July party. If you like this idea and you’re feeling really ambitious, check out this gorgeous picnic blanket.
If you try this, please let me know by leaving a comment below or a post on the Something To Snack On Facebook page! If I can do this, anyone can!