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For some reason when I was dreaming up ideas for our patio dining area I had this idea in my head of blue and white napkins. No idea why, but for some reason, it just stuck with me. So I started shopping. Surprisingly enough, there weren’t any out there that really matched what I was trying to achieve in my head. So, when thrifty shopping fails me, I turn to trusty DIYs. Insert the DIY tie dye napkins! Not only was a perfect naptime project while baby girl was asleep, but thanks to finding some old napkins in serious need of a facelift, this project also only cost me $5 (score!). Not to mention, these napkins turned out so much cuter than the ones I originally had in my head.
While I am seriously crushing on my tie dye napkins, you can absolutely do this project with any kind of cotton fabric you have lying around. Pillow cases, t-shirts, table clothes, sky’s the limit here.
*Tip before getting started: make sure you’ve already washed and dried your fabric prior to dying.
Things you’ll need to get started:
- Cotton napkins (or fabric of your choice)
- Extra large pot
- Rit Dye
- 1 tbsp of salt
- HOT water
- Plastic gloves
- Safe place to set dyed fabrics after soaking
It sounds like you need a lot of stuff, but really it’s not complicated since half of the items can be found in most stocked kitchens.
You’re going to start by twisting your fabrics and wrapping them with rubber bands. The point of the rubber bands is to prevent the dye from bleeding into where the fabric is covered by the rubber band. That’s how you create those funky swirls that we all love with tie dye. The tighter the band the less bleeding will occur.
Have fun with how you contort your fabric. I was working with six napkins, and was feeling adventurous, so I opted to do three different types of twists that way I would have a pair of similar swirl patterns. So remember how you twist your fabric affect the overall look of your patterns.
The good news is with tie dye, the crazier the better. So really you can’t go wrong!
Once you have your fabrics all twisted up, set them aside.
Now you’ll want to get your dye ready. I took a little detour from the dye package instructions. I mixed 2 cups of HOT water with 1 tbsp of salt and the dye powder. Then I filled my extra large pot with about 2 gallons of HOT water, and then added my dye mixture to the pot to create my dye bath.
Once you have your dye bath ready to go, we get to do the fun part!
Wearing your rubber gloves go ahead and put your twisted fabric into the dye. Make sure they get completed submerged. I let mine soak in the bath for about 3 minutes because I was going for a more dyed look. The more white you want to keep your original fabric the less time you want to let it soak. I would not let it soak for longer than 3 minutes.
Once your fabric has soaked in the dye, pull it out using your tongs and place it on a safe area (I used old ceramic bowls), and let them sit for about 2 minutes before unwrapping.
Undo your rubber bands and unwrap your newly dyed creation! You’ll want to lay it out on a safe surface (our front lawn worked great for me) and leave it alone till the fabric is dry.
Then, last step promise, you’ll want to run your fabric through a detergent free wash (on COLD) and dry in the dryer to completely set the dye. And then that’s it!
You are now the proud owner of the cutest tie dye napkins (or whatever you chose to dye) in town!
I can’t tell you how excited I am about these napkins! They the perfect touch of blue to the patio dining table to compliment the blue we already have going on with patio. Ah, I’m so excited!
DIY Tie Dye Napkins
- Twist fabric and secure with rubber bands. Set aside.
- Create dye mixture stirring together 2 cups of HOT water, dye powder and 1 tbsp of salt.
- Add dye mixture to an extra large pot containing about 2 gallons of HOT water to create dye bath.
- Wearing plastic gloves, soak fabric in the dye bath for 1-3 minutes depending on how deep you want your color to soak into the fabric. Less soak more original fabric color.
- Remove fabric, maintaining twist and place on dye safe surface for 2 minutes.
- Remove rubber bands and unwrap fabric.
- Place on dye safe surface to air dry.
- Once dry, run through a detergent free COLD wash and dry.