Showing posts with label fabric dye. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fabric dye. Show all posts

Tutorial: Bed Sheet Rag Yarn

Tutorial: How to make rag yarn from old bed sheetsI love to repurpose old stuff into crafting materials whenever I can. I have a stash of materials ranging from fabrics to plastic bottles that many would probably consider trash. When I recently found myself in need of a new bathroom rug, I decided to raid my trash stash for rag rug materials. Lucky for me, I found an old bed sheet perfect for making rag yarn.

Rag yarn can easily be made from either flat or fitted sheets. I found an old set of cream colored sheets, so I was even able to dye them to match our guest bathroom. Of course the dyeing part is completely optional.


  • old bed sheets (flat or fitted)
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • rotary cutter and mat (optional)
  • cardboard scrap (optional)
  • masking tape (optional)
  • RIT fabric dye (optional)
  • large plastic container (optional)


Since it's always nice to work with clean materials, start by washing and drying your sheet(s). You may even want to iron out any wrinkles to make the cutting process easier.

For flat sheets, neatly cut off  all the hems and edgings.
For fitted sheets, cut the seams at each corner and neatly remove the elastic edging and hems.
Opening up the corner seams will leave you with something that looks like this. Trim your sheet into a rectangle.
From this point, the directions are the same for both flat and fitted sheets.

Fold your sheet in half, lengthwise.
Fold lengthwise again by bringing the folded edge near, but not even with the raw edges.
Fold lengthwise a third time by bringing the folded edge near, but not even with the raw edges.
I chose to cut the sheet into strips with a rotary cutter, but you can also cut with a scissors.
If you use a rotary cutter, place a piece of cardboard so it covers about an inch of the raw, lengthwide edge and secure with a couple pieces of masking tape.

You will need to reposition your cardboard as you move your fabric for cutting.
Cut 1-inch wide strips, stopping at the cardboard.
Your sheet should look something like this. Notice the strips are not cut all the way to the edges. This is so you can make one continuous strand.
Once all the strips are cut, find a corner of the sheet.
Cut between the first and second strips.
Follow the first strip to the opposite sheet corner.
This time, cut between the second and third strips.

Follow the strip to the other side of the sheet and cut between the third and fourth strips.

Continue in this manner until all of the strips have been separated, leaving you with one very long strand of rag yarn.
If your sheet is the color you would like your yarn to be, roll it up into a ball.
As I said before, I chose to dye my sheets two different colors, so this next part is completely optional.

Begin by laying out the rag yarn. It takes a bit of patience.

When laying out the yarn I turned the ends whenever I got to  the side edge of the sheet.

This part doesn't have to be exact.
Prepare your dye according to the package directions and pour it into a large plastic bucket or tub.

Place about 2/3 of the length of yarn into the dye and let it soak.
Remove the yarn from the dye and rinse.
Mix up your second dye bath and pour it into your plastic container. Place about 2/3 of the length of yarn into the dye and let it soak. Some of the yarn from the first dyed section should be in the dye bath so the colors will blend.

Remove the yarn from the dye and rinse. Squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible.
Finally, hang the yarn out to dry.

Roll it up and your rag yarn is ready to use.
Once your rug is complete, you will want to wash it by itself at least once, so the colors don't bleed onto other fabrics or stain your carpet

Tutorial: How to make rag yarn from old bed sheets

Tutorial: Solar Printed T-Shirt

Learn how to use Lumi Inkodye, solar activated ink to create a high quality, printed t-shirt design.I was wandering the aisles of Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts a few weeks ago when I discovered a small display of Lumi Inkodye. I have enjoyed a few fabric dyeing projects in my day and have even experimented with screen printing, but I had never seen anything like the Inkodye before.

It's solar activated. So you spread it on your fabric, set it out in the sun, and whatever sections of the ink are exposed to the sun, dye the fabric. The ink that's not exposed washes out.

I simply had to give it a try. I was not disappointed by the result. The crisp lettering looks as if it could have been screen printed. The best part is, it's 1000 times easier than screen printing.



Before you begin, wash and dry your shirt. Skip the fabric softener when you are laundering it.

Next, create a stencil of your design.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the words "Create Happiness" out of Contact paper.
Remove the paper backing and stick the stencil onto your shirt.

Design Tip: When you print a design on a t-shirt, the top edge of the printed area should be at least 2 1/2 inches (about four finger widths) below the neckline of a crew neck shirt or 1 1/4 inches (about two finger widths) below a v-neck.
Slide a piece of cardboard into the shirt so the ink won't bleed through to the back of the shirt.

Secure the shirt in place with a few clothespins so it won't shift as you apply the ink.
You will need to work in a shaded room for the next part. I just closed the curtains in my studio and left the lights off. Also, make sure you work in a well ventilated are because the dye has a pretty strong scent, like hair coloring.

Shake up the Inkodye packet and squirt it onto a disposable plate. Use your foam brush to stir up the dye on the plate.
Use your foam brush to pounce (not brush) the ink onto the shirt.

Make sure that your lettering is completely covered with ink, but don't over do it. The material should be damp, not sopping wet.
Carefully take your shirt outside and place it in the sun so it is completely exposed and there are no odd shadows over it.
Within 3-5 minutes, the ink is already starting to darken.
After 20-25 minutes, it looks perfect. (I don't think you can really overexpose the dye.)
When you are happy with the color, take your shirt back inside to your dark room and carefully peel off your Contact paper or vinyl stencil.

Finally, wash your shirt twice, using the Inkowash. Lumi recommends using a hot wash/cold rinse cycle. (I used a warm wash/cold rinse cycle because I was afraid my shirt might shrink and it turned out just fine.)

After that, your shirt is ready wear and you can show off your one of a kind style!

Learn how to use Lumi Inkodye, solar activated ink to create a high quality, printed t-shirt design.

Tie Dye July - Found Objects

I have been practicing different dyeing techniques all month in search of the perfect method for dyeing a summer maxi skirt I created. I ended up using marbles and rubber bands to create a nifty, geometric pattern that kind of looked like bubbles.

After dyeing the skirt, I started thinking about what other objects could be used for dyeing in the same way. I decided to try a sample piece with a few objects that we have around the house - rocks, small plastic word tiles, poker chips, dominoes, jacks, and monkeys from a barrel of monkeys.

The results were not quite what I expected, but kind of interesting.

When I used marbles to dye my "Don't Lose Your Marbles" skirt, I put the marbles on the wrong side of the fabric, draped a small section of material over each one, secured the fabric with rubber bands and applied the dye. It yielded lovely circles.

I used the same process with my found objects and produced more random outlines where the rubber bands were secured. Then I flipped the fabric over to discover that the wrong side of the fabric actually had a more intricate design than the right side. Here's a close-up look at the wrong side patterns made by the different objects.

The monkeys didn't work great, but I thought all of the other objects were project-worthy. Some other objects that may be worth experimenting with - Scrabble tiles, Legos, shells, checkers, wine corks, buttons, bobbins, thread spools, small tiles... The possibilities are limitless.

Don't Lose Your Marbles Skirt

I have been practicing different dyeing techniques for weeks to find a method that would compliment a maxi skirt I recently created. I wanted a design that would be feminine and fun for summer. For the sake of full disclosure, I'll tell you that my first attempt, using a different method to dye my perfect summer skirt, was a failure. (Sadly, so was my second.) But, I am not one to give up and the third time was the charm. I was thrilled with the results!

The process is actually quite easy and could be used to dye just about any type of garment from a skirt to a shirt or tank top. I chose to dye my fabric and then assemble my skirt, but it's just fine to use an inexpensive, plain, white skirt, dress, shirt, tank top or cami from the store.


  • clean, white article of clothing or fabric
  • marbles
  • rubber bands
  • RIT liquid fabric dye
  • empty, plastic sports top water bottle
  • cooling rack
  • plastic tub or bucket 
  • large zipper bag
  • rubber gloves (optional)


Assemble your materials.

Use rubber bands to tightly secure the marbles in the fabric. I chose to make an angled stripe across my skirt.

The real trick is to make sure the marbles are as close together as possible. For nicer circles, the rubber bands need to be secured as tightly as possible.

Soak your fabric in hot water while you mix your dye according to the package directions. The RIT dye website has a Color Formula Guide so you can create just about any color imaginable. (If you don't want your fingers to get stained, wear rubber gloves.)

Once your dye is mixed, carefully pour it into a water bottle and attach the lid.

Spread out your fabric, right side up. I set mine on a cooling rack over a plastic container. It helps contain some of the mess so your sink doesn't get stained.

Use the water bottle to apply dye completely and evenly across your fabric.

Place your fabric into a large zipper bag. I also added about 1/4 cup of my dye mixture. Close the bag. Leave the fabric in the bag for about a half hour, turning the bag occasionally to mix up the dye and fabric.

Remove the fabric from the bag and rinse it with water until the water runs clear.

Carefully remove all of the rubber bands and marbles and rinse your fabric again. Wash and dry your fabric separately for the first few time to make sure no  dye  bleeds onto your other clothes.

Once your fabric is dry, you should have lovely, bubbly circles.

Like I said before, I am extremely pleased with how my skirt finally turned out, even if it took me a few attempts. Here's the skirt I created compared to a similar dyed skirt that I bought at the store. Not too bad, if I do say so myself!