Tuesday, April 9, 2013

DIY: Dip Dying Your Closet

Know what I hate about getting older? Old Lady Knees. Do they make anti-wrinkle cream for kneecaps? I heard you can reduce wrinkles with hemroid cream, do you think that would work on my knees? Knowing my luck, I'd just end up with butt-knees. Which, if I Ben-ifer-ize it, sounds like Buh-knees. And who doesn't love bunnies!? Okay, I'll stop.
Alright, so I totally thought that the dip-dying-fad-train had left the station until I was in, wait for it...Anthropologie (gasp of surprise!) a coupla weeks ago. And that's when I saw this super summery gingham blouse with a lovely violet dip dye. Suddenly I had visions of myself enjoying summer days filled with estate sales, lazy lunches and crafty afternoons in this lovely little button-up. That is until the $79 price tag bit me like a "It Ain't Summer Yet!" snake. At which point I turned on my heel, got myself to Goodwill, snagged this gingham Target blouse and dip dyed my own. Take that, you grouchy gingham (did I just have an imaginary convo with a shirt? I think I did).

 Since we're engaging in imaginary conversations, here's what I'm guessing Anthro girl is sayin' about me as she looks on in $79-less wonder: "Oh my gawd, Becky. Look at her shirt. It is so not $79. She must be one of those Anthro-knock-off girls." (Does this reference show my age? Not gettin' it? Go here.)

Turns out I'm completely addicted to dip-dying. Who knew? I found this to be a very easy, albeit messy, craft. I've now breathed new dip-dyed life into three garments  (I'll share the third next week). The key is using the best dye you can get your mitts on...

Please, I beg of you, do not use that grocery store dye! You can pick Procion dyes up in every color imaginable at Dharma Trading Company. You'll also need:
  • Soda Ash (helps your fabric absorb and retain the dye)
  • Non-iodonized salt Hit the grocery store for this one but read the label. Most salt is iodonized.
Beautiful Blue.
For the most clear and concise of dying directions, I recommend those on the Dharma website. You can find it here.
Because I was only dying part of the shirt, I had to go a different route that what was written in the directions. So here's how I went about my dip dye:
  1. Wash your shirt. Because it's dirty and smells of thrift store. Or, if it's new, wash it to get all of those new clothing chemicals out that might prevent the dye from dying. 
  2. Double bag your shirt. If you don't want any dye on the top of the shirt, bag it accordingly. 
  3. Prepare your dye bath. You know, light some candles, pour a nice glass of wine...oh, wait, I said dye bath. In that case, dissolve your amount of dye in a small amount of water and add that to your large bucket of water. Pour in your measured amount of salt and mix until dissolved.
  4. Add your shirt to the bath. Because your want a gradation of color, you'll want to soak your shirt in certain time intervals. For the top part, I soaked the shirt, for 5 minutes; pulled it out a little bit and soaked for 10; a little more, soaked for 20 and the bottom I soaked for 50 because I completely forgot about it sitting outside. 
  5. Add the soda ash. Dissolve that stuff in a cup of hot water and add to the dye bath as your shirt is soaking. 
  6. Rinse and repeat. Rinse that shirt in hot water until it runs clear. Then rinse it some more in cold water. Throw it in the dryer and, viola! Dip dying done!

Yay, shirt complete! By the way, notice the couple drops of blue dye near my right arm in the back photo? Oops. Did I say "double bag it"? Make the triple.
And since I had that big blue dye bath, I thought I'd experiment with this super old Forever 21 dress. My original plan was to simply dye the midsection using this vintage dress (third one down) as my inspiration.

So this time, I bagged the ends, folded it in half and let that soak in the dye bath for 30 minutes. When it was finished, I found it to be just a little boring. So I mixed up some fuschia dye and this time just soaked the ends. And what you see below is the result.
Super easy and on-the-cheap craft. And I think it will be the perfect thing to wear when introducing the cool colors to the kids. Right after I slap that 'roid cream on my knees.

18 comments:

  1. Oh, I love this! Screw that anthro girl, she's judgy, this is adorable!

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. I know, right?! going straight to your blog now :)

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  2. SO darling. The minute this baby comes, I'm running over to your place and stealing that dress. ADORBS.

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    1. It is the perfect post-baby dress...and so slimming with that dark midsection ;)Congrats on the baby, eep!

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  3. If you are showing your age by that reference - then I'm showing mine by acknowledging that I know it! You crack me up! Love this. I just started trying to upcycle some of my clothes and some I have purchased at thrift. I definitely need to try this one!

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    1. Yes you should! Especially since if you mess it up, eh, it was from the thrift anyway! You'll have fun and come up with tons of things to dye, I promise :)

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  4. Cassie, I used to do a lot of batik (i'm referring to the authentic kind, not the toothpaste/aloe thing I do with kids) probably 25-30 years ago, and that's when I discovered Procion dyes. What I learned was, that unlike the department store dyes, Procion dyes form a chemical bond with the fabric, thus making them a permanent cold-water dye. Once done and rinsed, the color doesn't bleed in subsequent washings. It's cool to know that after so many years, these dyes look like they haven't changed at all, and are still available from the exact same company where I bought them decades ago. When something is good, it remains good forever and doesn't need to be changed. I wish more good products were left alone! Now if I could just get the the original green Herbal Essence shampoo back, or Hair So New hair conditioner ("spray it on, snarls all gone!") I would be deeply satisfied.

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    1. That's funny, Phyl, the reason I have a stockpile of these dyes is because I used it for batiking as well! And, yeah, the authentic kind: double broiler on the stove, hot melty wax goodness. I loved the smell! I hated trying to get it out of the fabric -- ironing it out never quite worked for me. You'll have to tell me your trick. When I was dying, I thought: I should do some batik this summer...now you've really got me thinking about it!

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    2. Yeah, the ironing is definitely the tedious part of the process. I guess you can boil the wax out somehow, but then you have a giant cauldron of sorts that is ruined forever by wax. What I learned though is this: if you can iron most of the wax out, then you can take the piece to the dry cleaner and the rest will come out! The Procion dye colors will remain, and the oily 'halo' around the areas that were waxed will disappear. I made tablecloths (still have 'em), pillows, men's ties, and my big plan, still incomplete, was a lampshade frame.

      I used either an old crock pot for my wax, or an electric fry pan with water in it and my wax melted in a container in the hot water. That way I didn't need to be near the stove. I did a crayon batik version with 8th graders years ago (add crayons to the melted wax for color). With that process you use only one dye bath, and you cannot dry clean as the crayon color comes out with the eps ax in the dry cleaning process. I learned that through experience:(

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    3. Perfect!! Thank you so much for all the great tips! Never thought of a crock pot...and I have a mini one that would be just perfect for this...! Thank you:)

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  6. I've just found your blog (via Pinterest) and have had an inspirational time going through old posts. I love your outfits and I'm itching to felt a pattern on a cardigan now! As an art teacher (in England) I've really enjoyed seeing all the work you do with the children and you've given me some great ideas. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! Please do felt something, it is so easy and fun. I'd love to know what age group you teach...wouldn't it be fun to do some sort of art exchange?! Thanks for reading :)

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  7. I teach a year 5 class (9-10 year olds) and a year 6 class (10-11 year olds) once a week. I do teach the younger ones too but less frequently. I get a whole afternoon (2 hours) with each class and I have no idea how you manage to teach art in half hour slots! I love the idea of some sort of art exchange!

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  8. thank you! for some well-deserved "baby got back".

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  9. Well Cassie that video was 'original'! I don't think the song was released here, but thanks for the giggle.

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    1. What, girl!! You've never heard that song? Wow, here it was huge. Pretty hilarious, isn't it! Glad to hear from you :)

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    2. You are an inspiration to not getting in a teacher rut when dressing!!

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)