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11 Household Items You Can Dye: With Tutorials

How to Dye Cotton Balls

To create my Dr. Seuss inspired trees I had to dye cotton balls.  It got me thinking, there are a ton of household items that you can dye.  Here is my quick tutorial on dyeing cotton balls plus 9 10 other household items (meaning things you can pick up at the grocery store).

1. How to Dye Cotton Balls

How to Dye Cotton Balls Supplies:

Rubbing alcohol, food coloring, cotton balls (duh), and a plastic baggy.  Gloves and newsprint are a nice bonus.


Throw cotton balls into a baggy with a few drops of food coloring (I was trying for a turquoise in the middle picture…  Needed way more blue) and a splash of alcohol.  Remove the air from the baggy and squish the cotton balls around until the are evenly colored.  Pour them out on a newspaper to dry.  When dry you can fluff the cotton which will reveal the white making the colors much lighter.  You can see the final product on my Dr. Seuss inspired tree centerpiece.

2. Sand (Credit: CraftThyme)

Tutorial on How to Dye Sand

3. Clothespins (Credit: Madigan Made)



4. Beans (Credit: Lookie What I Did)



5. Coffee Filters (Credit: A Subtle Revelry)



6. Golf Balls (Rit Dye)



7. Rice (Credit: African Babies Don’t Cry)



8. Doilies (Credit: Blue Eyed Freckle)



9. Bamboo Skewers (Credit: The Flair Exchange)



10. Coconut (Credit: Eat. Swim. Shop)



11. Crepe Paper (Credit: Myself :))

How to Dye Crepe Paper


For those people who need to mark this post for Pinterest!:

11 Household Items You Can Dye

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See more great crafts and decor at these link parties: Snippets of Inspiration, I Should Be Mopping The Floor

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Dr. Seuss Themed First Birthday

My youngest son turned 1 last week.  I’d love to say I had it all together, realized that Dr. Seuss’ 100th birthday was occurring and picked the perfect theme for Conlan’s First Birthday.  Alas, I would be lying…  I wanted a Dr. Seuss themed birthday for McClain’s first (two years ago) and ordered the licensed plates, napkins, etc.  The decorations came exactly one day after his party and were promptly shoved in the basement.  I got my Dr. Seuss theme on the second go-around.

Dr Seuss themed first birthday

To complement the purchased party items I made a few decorations.  Some Seussian-like trees for the wrapped box centerpiece and hand-dyed crepe paper ruffles.

While, I imagine that very few people will need to recreate the trees I think I may just give a run-down on how to make them next week.  It might be fun to do something whimsical like that for Christmas.

Dr. Seuss Themed Centerpiece


Dr. Seuss inspired decorations
Balloons and Streamers! Can’t have a birthday without them.

The guests (adults and kids alike) enjoyed the balloons.  They made great decorations in the colors of red, white, turquoise, and yellow & doubled as entertainment.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the basic snacks and of course a color themed cake.  Conlan, seemed to enjoy all the extra attention.

Okay... Maybe Conlan enjoyed the balloons more.  Oddly, he was not smiles about the cake.
Okay… Maybe Conlan enjoyed the balloons more. Oddly, he was not smiles about the cake.

While, the Dr. Seuss theme looked great and added nice color pops to the family photos (yes, I keep my friends off my blog) I did manage to miss getting one awesome picture.  The cake smash! Why?  Because Conlan was totally NOT about it.  He stuck one hand in, and looked at me to wipe it off.  Patrick gave him a taste of the icing, and he promptly made a face like it tasted horrible.  Clearly he is missing some important sweet-tooth gene I should have passed to him.  Anyway, enjoy one more photo of decoration details and scroll down for the connected tutorials.

Dr. Seuss inspired first birthday party


Tutorials to Create This Theme:

Dr. Seuss Inspired Tree Centerpiece

How to Dye Crepe Paper

How to Make Easy Crepe Paper Ruffles

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See other great decor and inspiration at these link parties: My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Lady Bug Blessings, The Gunny Sack

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Easy Crepe Cherry Blossoms; A Quick Tutorial

Detail of cherry blossom

The following is a quick and easy tutorial on creating faux cherry blossoms from crepe paper.  I have followed the rather tedious tutorials on making different crepe flowers before.  Yes, they look lovely…  But with two small children underfoot I will sacrifice a bit of my accurate-compulsive tendencies artistic integrity to make a final arrangement that beautifies my space.  And doesn’t take 30 damn hrs to painstakingly cut tiny petals.  So read on for Quick and Easy Cherry Blossoms:

How to create quick and easy faux cherry blossoms


Supplies (For some reason I always want to type ingredients here…)

  • Shown: Glue Gun with glue sticks (don’t run out!)
  • Crepe Paper
  • Scissors
  • Floral wire that matches your branches (this is optional)
  • Not Shown: Branches
  • Spray Paint

Supplies for cherry blossomsStep 1

Take your crepe paper and accordion fold it up.  In this picture I am using two shades of hand dyed crepe paper (You can see the tutorial here).  I make it as thick as I can still cut because I hate cutting.  Cutting, to me, is just a process to get through before the fun begins in crafting.  So thicker = less cuts.

Creating crepe cherry blossoms step 2
I know you are surprised, but I am also one of those people that will die carrying in 4,000 bags of groceries instead of making two trips. So go ahead fold that puppy up thick!

Step 2

Cut out a circle-like shape.  Trust me here, no need to go get a compass.  As long as it ends up kinda rounded you are all good.  I thought about using a circle punch (might have given up trying to find it in the basement) but I like the more organic shape in the end.

Step 2: Cutting Crepe Paper Circles
That lovely variegation is why I go to the trouble to hand dye my crepe paper. But for even quick and easier methods just go buy a couple shades of pink.

Step 3

Here is where the magic happens!  Take your petals to the bedroom… Just Kidding!  The magic I am discussing is what makes crepe paper so nice for creating organic items like flowers.  Pull lightly on the outer edges of the petals.  The crepe will stretch a bit and ruffle; making for a more realistic looking shape.

Step three: ruffling the edges of the petals
And here you can see what I meant by only needs to be kinda circular. Such an amazing cutting job.

Step 4

Take your super-technical-amazing-implement, in this case a pen and wrap the petal around the bottom to make a cup shape.  You may have done the exact same thing on a pencil eraser as a kid to make tissue paper crafts.  I couldn’t find a regular pencil in the house so a pen worked just as well.

Step 4: Forming the shapesStep 5

Technically at this point you are done.  The flowers look pretty just laid on objects.  You can see inspiration by clicking here.  However, to fully assemble a branch you will need, well… A branch.  For mine I used some old maple limbs from the yard that I spray painted white.  Since they didn’t have a lot of small limbs I made extra places to glue the flowers with matching white floral wire.  Again you can see the final result here.  Simply use a tiny dab of hot glue and stick on a flower.

Detail of cherry blossom


To make thicker flowers that look fully open try gluing two smaller flowers together.  Also for tight buds twist the petals tightly together around the pen.  I was able to make 40 or so flowers in less than half an hour.  It is always a race to see who will finish first.  Me with the craft or Conlan with his nap, so, I know this one was quick and easy.  I hope you all enjoyed.

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Cherry Blossom Spring Mantel

Detail of a spring mantel

Spring is heralded by the appearance of flowers, singing of birds, and greening of everything.  While it isn’t quite Spring-time I am beyond ready for a little bit of growth.  To celebrate the coming season change I worked on creating faux cherry blossoms and branches from old maple limbs and hand-dyed crepe paper.

Detail of a spring mantel
Flowers? Check. Green? Check. Now if it was really Spring.

The tutorial for creating these blossoms is quick and easy.  The mantel itself, just required stealing borrowing a few rocks from the garden and moss from the neighbors shady backyard.  Don’t worry I’ll put them all back very soon.  Well at least the moss.  The rocks are probably getting moved to a new position in the garden anyway.

Spring decorations for a mantelThe quick and easy crepe paper blossom tutorial leaves out the visual steps of spray painting branches white and hot gluing the blossoms down.  Mostly because I really hope everyone can read the can of spray paint and use a glue gun…  If not then I suggest you run, not walk, away from the rest of the tutorials.  Anyway, here are a few more details.  Make sure to check out the how-to for creating your own blossoms.

details of the spring mantel


How-to Create Easy Cherry Blossom Branches

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Easy Crepe Paper Ruffles

Crepe Paper Ruffled Garland

There are thousands of how to’s and tutorials on making crepe paper ruffles.  But really it is easy to make this gathered garland.  Each tutorial out there offers many good tips, like gather foots, pleating etc.   But in reality if you can thread a sewing machine (or con someone into threading it for you) and press the foot you can get a ruffle.  You don’t really even need to be able to sew straight.  It is that easy.  Plus who isn’t thinking about feminine ruffles and dainty pink items on Valentine’s day?

So if you want to make these crepe garlands follow along:

Crepe Paper Ruffled Garland



  • Crepe Paper Streamers
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Wine/Beer/Mixed drink (Just a suggestion for most crafts)

Step 1

Grab some extra crepe paper streamers.  Especially if you have hand-dyed yours, use some extra at first because you will need to play with two settings on your machine.  One is the length of the stitch and the second the thread tension.  I set the length pretty long and the tension high.  When you get it right the paper will come out the back automatically ruffled as you sew.  The tension will also make your ruffles tighter or looser.  Just pick what you like.

Sewing Machine Settings
I bet this is the most exciting picture you have ever seen in a tutorial.

Step 2

Start the crepe paper a little past the presser foot.  You waste a little paper but it keeps it from getting stuck in the feeders.  Then “Sew, Sew like the wind” (Please tell me someone else is a fan of the Three Amigos).  The last picture demonstrates how to hold two different colors together and sew off the roll.  Doubling the crepe paper makes a thicker ruffle.  I like to mix a light and dark color together.  Yep, it really was that easy.

Creating crepe paper ruffles
Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Variations On The Theme

While, it is very easy to make these ruffled crepe paper garlands.  You still have the option of adding some variation to them.  Here are two different options Fringed Ruffle Garland and Twisty Ruffle Garland:

Fringed Ruffle Garland

Take the completed ruffle garland and fold it in half.  Make tons of tiny snips down each side making sure to leave the middle intact.  The ruffles will cause some little pieces to be snipped out but it adds an overall fluffiness to the crepe garland.  You can see the completed fringed garland in the first picture, the top one in pink.

Creating Crepe Ruffled Fringe
Yeah those are some awesome fringing scissors. If you are doing more than a few feet they are totally worth the $12 investment.

Twisty Ruffle Garland

Simply move the stitches back and forth as you sew.  This makes the garland automatically twist around when you hang it.

Twisty Crepe Ruffle
This is a good one to do if you happen to not be able to sew straight or you imbibed any of the wine listed in the above supplies.


See it really was easy.  No pulling threads or special presser feet.  Just crepe paper, wine, and someone to thread the dang machine.

Want to see what you can do with all this crepe paper?  Check out the inspiration for this tutorial in my Spring Garland Post.

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This post was submitted to 504 Main. Where you can find more create crafts, DIY, and recipes.