Do and Dye: basic DIY fabric art tips for funky rooms #How-To & DIY#crafts#room decor March 17 | Guest post by Libby Bulloff Those of you who read Offbeat Home may have seen one of Libby Bulloff's Blackmetal Homes & Gardens photos featured over there. Here she is with a DIY tutorial from the opposite end of the color spectrum… -Ariel Want to add a wicked spray of color to your kid’s room, but don’t have time or money to paint or find the perfect carpet? Fabric dye is a fantastic and oft-forgotten trick for sprucing up secondhand curtains or stained sheets, and a great way to involve older children in the process of decorating their own space. An afternoon of converting the kitchen into a chemistry lab can produce one-of-a-kind, squee-worthy, upcycled textiles. Photo by Mel Issa. My favorite dyes for simple color projects are Jacquard iDye and Jacquard Procion MX dyes, both available at Blick Art Supply stores or online. Both lines host an array of wild tones that are kid-friendly, such as chartreuse, turquoise, and scarlet, and are inexpensive (one shade of iDye is about the price of a latte). Photo by Breigh. iDye comes in a dissolvable packet (meaning no mess for us clumsy folk), takes to cotton or synthetics quickly, and works on the stovetop or in a washing machine. Procion MX is slightly more complicated to mix but can be used as tie-dye or in cold water, which is safer for little helpers. iDye has a tendency to be less bright than Procion MX, and may fade in direct sunlight or after many washings, but Procion requires precise measurements and patience — remember to take this into account when you choose dyes. Photo by Diana. I like to work with cotton textiles because they react predictably to both iDye and Procion MX. White cotton pillowcases are a sweet item to test-drive if you’ve never played with fabric dye before as they aren’t spendy, but day-glo pillows make a massive impact on the awesomeness level of bedtime. If you choose a fabric that has synthetic fibers too, you’ll want to pick up a packet of iDye and also of iDye Poly in a similar color (use both together). Fabric art newbies should gather a few supplies. You’ll need: Related Post DIY Baby Mobile Tutorial + 5 other projects you'll love This tutorial is actually ultra simple and uses just a few inexpensive crafting supplies that you may already have laying around: photos, craft paper, scissors,... Read more a large bucket or cooking pot that you’re not planning on eating out of again, or a washing machine stir stick or spoon (also avoid using this for food, please) items to dye (cotton pillowcase, bedsheet, curtains, matching PJ pants, et cetera) water iDye or Procion MX non-iodized table salt soda ash (if you use Procion) plastic bottles if you want to tie-dye rubber bands detergent or Synthrapol rubber gloves paper towels or rags and surface cleaner (just in case of a mess!) Definitely rinse out your fabric prior to dyeing. I always run items through a hot bath with a concentrated detergent called Synthrapol (Dharma Trading also makes a Professional Textile Detergent that is more earth-friendly). Synthrapol is crucial if you want an even, consistent color, and best of all: it's inexpensive, and you only need a capful to do a small tub/sink of clothes. Photo by Wendy Copley. Enough talk — time to dye! Most children can probably assist you with washing machine, tub dye, or tie-dye; stovetop dyeing may be safer for older kids who know their way around a kitchen. Following Jacquard’s instructions for iDye, Procion MX tub dyeing (if you want to dip-dye or color the entire item one shade), or Procion tie-dye is pretty straightforward, and I’ll let the professionals lead you forward. More tips can be found on the Dharma Trading site if the aforementioned leaves you in the dark. What the pros DON’T tell you is that it is ok to experiment and to make messes. This blog post by Totally Smitten Mama is a perfect example. She tests iDye and has some serious snafus which she solves creatively. Starting with basic textiles, like a thrift store throw or a sheet that’s a bit ratty, can be an excellent failsafe if you're concerned about making a mistake (though I thoroughly encourage "mistakes" — that's how you get the coolest outcomes!). I will sometimes re-dye an item several times to achieve layers of unstructured brilliance. I love to throw a pair of socks in with a dye run, too–instant color coordination! Photo by Judy Merrill-Smith. Kids love making D.I.Y. projects with their parents, especially ones that allow them to decorate their spaces and selves creatively. Best wishes for brightly colored fun, and let me know what you make! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Libby Bulloff Dubbed "...the Annie Leibovitz of steampunk portraiture" by Gareth Branwyn of MAKE Magazine, Libby is a Seattle-based digital photographer of "all things technolovely and neobeautiful". Playing with the grey areas that nest between binaries, Libby is intrigued by the bizarre and comical and specializes in photographing smart and strong people of all sizes. Her brightly-colored portraiture has been published internationally in magazines such as Women's Wear Daily, Marie Claire, Bizarre Magazine, and a plethora of steampunk-themed books. Libby is also a devoted crafter of wearable art and a fashion blogger. She can be found online at http://exoskeletoncabaret.com. http://exoskeletoncabaret.com PREVIOUS A bitty Spanish apartment with BIG color and 19th century brick ceilings NEXT The Smacks Crispies Experiment Show/Hide comments [ 2 ] When I had been dating my husband for a few months, I casually mentioned that it was spring, and time to tie dye my sheets. I thought I was absolutely insane, that as a 23 year old woman I dyed my sheets at least once a year. Reply For those with a natural bent, here are some options: http://backdropmag.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/web-exclusive-natural-tie-dye/ Sometimes "natural" dyes bleed more or don't offer enough ZING of color, sometimes, the opposite is true. It's all about experimentation, baby. I would caution those whose homes get a bit humid that hanging items you've dyed yourself can sometimes bleed off on walls. Be sure to rinse, rinse, rinse your dyed goods. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.