I have to admit I was as surprised that dyeing bottle brush trees worked just as well as bleaching them. The process goes hand in hand so if you have green Christmas trees you want to dye lighter or different colors check out how to bleach them first. If you already have light colored trees to dye then read this handy how to. You can make any color but I chose red to go with my Christmas decor.
Prepare the dye bath. This step always seems easy BUT invariably I end up getting dye on my skin, or making a bad color, or boiling the water instead of warming it… I didn’t bother with salt or basically directions. I’m a rebel like that. Just mixed some dye and warm water.
Step 2 Dying to Dye Them
Put trees in dye. Swish LIGHTLY (see notes for why it needs to be lightly). I let mine sit about 30 minutes. I hope this is pretty self explanatory
Step 3 Rinse and Repeat. Well just rinse and set them to dry
I am hoping I don’t really need to write text for this step. It says it all in the title.
Here is what happens when you use a freshly bleached (wet) tree and then over swish. The ‘needles’ got over saturated. It basically looks like my cat hacked it up. You can still redeem this tree when dry. But that requires lots of combing and re-wetting stubborn areas to dry in a nice way. Honestly, don’t do this.
Also got your dye very hot? Then yeah if you have cheap plastic bases you may end up warping them a bit.
Other than that you have some great bottle brush trees in any color you need for Christmas and other holidays.
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I seriously doubt I am the First Hundreth blogger to give a tutorial on how to ombre dye fabric. However, I am very particular about getting smooth even transition from color to color and this tutorial shows you how to achieve a better finish. I used to dye costumes in college to match a certain director’s choices (I worked in a semi-pro costume shop as a stitcher) and I learned a lot about fabric and how it holds color. On to the directions for how to have a smooth ombre dye:
Dye (I tried Dylon Dye* for the first time in this post. Rit Dye* works fine too)
Multiple large pans for dyeing
Water (very hot if you can’t heat it)
Salt or other chemicals to set the dye
Fabric (Cotton, Silk, and Rayon work best with most dyes. Specialty dyes, temperatures or agents may be required for other fabrics. Don’t be obstinate, read the directions)
Old Towel or piece of fabric
I can’t emphasize enough that the fabric be pre-washed. Even if it ‘claims’ to be ready to dye. During that pre-wash detergent that is used must be thoroughly rinsed out. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES use fabric softener in the pre-wash.
Step 1 Bathing the Dye or Preparing the Dye Bath :)
Followor Discard the directions on your dye. While this may seem counter-intuitive what I mean is ask yourself a question. Do I want the color of my fabric to come out even and exactly like the dye packet? If yes, then follow the dye manufacturers guidelines. If you are going to mix colors and experiment then go for it! I added a ton of extra water and a little orange to get a pastel-peachy dye. Totally not kosher according to the package.
Important: prepare the dye for the darkest color you want to achieve.
Step 2: How the Hell Do I Know How Dark It is?
Here is one of the MOST important steps in dyeing. Test Strips. I don’t care if you are peeling a string out of a hem. Get a thread to test with at least. Because the chances the color is going to be right on first dye dip are slim. You’ll need to adjust color or time in the bath. And maybe even more important RINSE AND DRY THE TEST FABRIC. I rinse under cold water and iron mine because I am impatient. See how the middle sample is so much darker? That is still wet, while the one on the right is partially dried by the iron.
Note: the old towel is used because a little dye comes off while ironing.
Step 3: Dilution
Once you have gotten the dye to your liking take some of it and add it to a bowl and dilute it in half. Basically add the same amount of water as you did prepared dye. Then take the diluted solution and add it to a third bowl and dilute it in half again. I like to test my dye and make sure the three colors are different enough to be noticeable. Sometimes this requires adding a little dye or water to make three distinct colors.
Once you have them to your liking take your fabric and dip it in the lightest color as high as you want your ombre to go. Finally set a timer and move it around a little (up and down) every few minutes. This will make the dye line more subtle. My first dip was 15 min and I moved it around a little every 5. I don’t pre-wet my fabric as I like the dye to wick up the fabric slightly during an ombre process.
Step 4: Dying for Dyeing
Here is the boring part. You have to do the same process as step three for all three solutions. Next you dip in the medium strength solution about halfway up the dye part. Wiggling it in and out of the dye line to make the edge more gradual. Finally, you hit the tips with the darkest. As you can see I did multiples at a time; moving one from one bath to the next in rotation. It is really tempting to put a bunch of fabric in each pot to speed up the process… Resist. I repeat: Resist.
When you are done rinse them well under cold water BEFORE washing. Extra dye will stain the white or light portion of the fabric no matter what. Rinsing keeps this to a minimum.
Finally wash and dry your items as suggested by the dye manufacturer and fabric type.
As usual gloves are useful for not dyeing your hands… And as usual I did not have any and ended the day with nice pink fingers.
While these napkins look pretty good, I took them one step further by adding gold foil (a kind of fabric friendly gold leaf) to the edges. Tutorial for gold foiling fabric will be up 8/8. Here is a preview.
I initially had the idea for this table setting from some sea shells I found when scrounging through my mess of a basement. I had saved a small bag of pink scallop shells and thought they would make a good basis to start my summer decor. Though I live in the mountains my second love is the beach. I wish I was a lake girl, since so many lakes are so much closer, but the mud, the dark water, the… Nope it is sand and surf for me. However, any good mountaineer knows overdoing the surf theme just seems out of place. So here is my hybrid of pink, salmon, & gold. Call it pink sand, shore, and lemonade inspiration.
The table setting is anchored by a diy ribbon chandelier (tutorial here) above and gold tulle net runner below. The gold accents unify the various shades of pink that run from rose to salmon. Shoo… okay I can say I used my art degree today to critique my design. Now on the the fun stuff!
PINK LEMONADE CUPCAKES!
I knew I wanted some fun pink desserts and, thank the grocery gods, I walked by a display for Pillsbury pink-lemonade cupcakes.
Yes I can bake… But can I decorate a cake? Oh hell no. It is a crafting skill that is just beyond me. Knowing this, I often take the easy way out with mixes, pre-made icing, and sugar sprinkles. As far as I can tell sugar sprinkles cover a multitude of sins. Plus who could walk away from a thing of icing labeled ‘Pink Lemonade”. And I swear I am not getting paid by Pillsbury to say all this awesome stuff. Though, if they would like to, feel free to give me a ring.
Oh my! I almost forgot mixed berry sangria! Perhaps I should preface this with my Facebook status:Not to be a braggart but I make multiple awesome sangrias. Citrus, berry, peach, etc… One for every season. The recipe for this mixed berry and lemonade one will be up Thursday!
One of the things I enjoyed most about creating this display was learning to gold foil fabric (tutorial coming). I thought the ombre dyed napkins (another upcoming tutorial) really set of each place setting because of the gold edging. I’ll leave you with one more picture and a list of craft tutorials and how-tos required to recreate this summer table decor.
I would love to have a better name and ideas on what you like or would improve. Every table display is a learning experience so please leave comments. Other than the cupcakes… Those mo-fo’s were delicious!
Honestly, one of my absolute favorite things to do is change the color of things. You would be amazed the number of things you can dye, sand just being one of them. See how to dye sand so you will never need to go buy the colored stuff for arrangements, crafts, and kid friendly art. On to the tutorial:
Sand: $2.50 (US) will snag you 50 lbs of play sand at the hardware store or you can simply steal some from your kid’s sandbox while they are napping
Rubbing Alcohol: Higher the alcohol content, the faster it dries
STURDY Plastic Bag
Food Coloring: Cheap liquid will do just fine
Cookie Sheet or something on which the sand can dry
Step 1: Pour Everything In a Bag
I already knew what container my sand was going to go in, so I poured in slightly more than I needed to measure it. Then I simply poured sand in the STURDY bag. Shall I repeat sturdy? Start with only a few drops of the color you want to achieve. I was going for a coral-pink so I put about 5 drops of red and 3 of yellow to begin. Then throw in some alcohol. I’m not much for measuring, just give it a splash.
Step 2: Smoosh and Repeat
What is the technical term we need for this step. Umm… Squeeze the bag? Smoosh the sand around? Knead the color in? Whatever you do, move the sand around until the color is evenly distributed. If it is really hard to mix add a splash more rubbing alcohol.
Perhaps you are thinking “whoa that is a little light/dark/fugly” while looking at the color. Hold up! before you go messing with it. Make sure it is fully mixed before making assumptions. If you are trying to match a color (see the ribbon above) then make one special note: It dries much lighter.
I wanted sand a couple shades lighter than the above pink ribbon so I matched it to the exact shade before drying.
Step 3: Remember that gross cookie sheet?
Once you have the color you want spread the sand out on a cookie sheet. Might I suggest gloves unless you also want to DIY dye your hand?
You can bake the sand at the lowest setting on your oven until dry (always check on the sand to make sure you aren’t about to cause some sort of oven fire, though I am unaware of spontaneous sand combustion) or leave it out overnight to dry.
That is pretty much all there is to dyeing sand. So go “borrow” some sand from your kids and get crafty.
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
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.