Thursday, January 28, 2010

A FINE DAY TO DYE (Tutorials Included)...

"Of course there are many ways we can reuse something. We can dye it. We can cut it. We can change the buttons. Those are other ways to make it alive. But this is a new step to use anything - hats, socks, shirts. It's the first step in the process."

-Issey Miyake-
I woke up this morning and decided it was a fine day to dye. Being cloudy and cold here, I thought it would be a good day to spend at home getting some background fabrics, papers, and tags prepared to have on hand for some project ideas. I spent a delightful morning mixing, dipping, and dripping!I wanted to shabby up some silk roses that I plucked from a vine purchased at a flea market for a $1.00. I don't know about you but I rarely ever happen upon perfectly aged millinery flowers. When I do they are very pricey and I just can't bring myself to pluck them from vintage hats, so, a second best option is to shabby up new or gently used ones.

SHABBY ROSES are as easy to make as 1, 2, 3...
For this project you will need:

*Silk Roses, plucked from the stem
*Silk Rose Leaves, plucked from the stem (optional)
*Old Pillow Case
*Washing Machine and detergent
*Instant Coffee
*Deep Bowl and spoon
*Boiling water
*Disposable Rubber Gloves

*Place plucked roses in an old pillow case. Tie open end of pillow case in a knot.

*Toss pillow case full of roses into washing machine, add a small amount of detergent and wash on a regular cycle. DO NOT ADD FABRIC SOFTENER. The washing process will remove the sizing from the flowers and fray the edges of the petals.*After washing, toss pillow case of freshly washed flowers in the dryer on low heat for few minutes to get out the excess water.

*Remove from dryer and pillow case, flowers will still be damp, lay out on an old towel, shaping slightly and allow to finish air drying.*If using rose leaves, repeat the process as described above. DO NOT WASH THE LEAVES AND THE FLOWERS TOGETHER. The dye in the leaves is quite strong and if you wash your flowers with the leaves they will have a sickly green tint to them.

You can use your shabby rose as is or go one step further:

*Mix two heaping tablespoons of coffee with 1 cup of boiling water in a deep bowl and stir until coffee is dissolved.
* Float your rose in the mixture upside down for about 5 minutes. Turn rose over for another 5 minutes. You can leave it in the dye bath longer if you want a darker flower.*Wearing disposable glove, shake out excess coffee dye and lay on protected surface to drain and allow to dry for a while. After it has had time to drain a dry a bit, turn the rose face down to continue drying process, the coffee will pool at the petal tips giving them a richer antique look.
TIP: I lay down a sheet of wax paper, placing an old book page on top of the wax paper, then I lay out the roses to dry on top of the book pages. Once dry and removed not only do I have a shabby roses but beautifully aged background pages for other pieces of art! You can substitute a cotton fabric like muslin or canvas for the paper and get a neat stained fabric as well.

While my roses were soaking I moved on to a fabric dying technique using acrylic paints and hot water. Cotton fabrics work best with this technique, muslin and drop cloth canvas are my favorites to use.


For this project you will need:

*Acrylic Paints of your color choice. Metallic paints also work with this technique.( I used Folk Art brand in Country Twill, Jamaican Sea, and Hauser Green Light )
* Warm Water
*Deep Bowls
*Cotton Fabric of your choice
( My fabric was muslin ripped down into 10 in. x 5 in. pieces )
*Disposable Gloves*Wax Paper


*In a deep bowl mix 3 teaspoons of acrylic paint and 1 cup of warm water, stirring until paint is mixed and diluted well. NOTE: You can increase dye bath to accommodate larger pieces of fabric. My Country Twill dye is not shown below but it was mixed the same as the recipe above.
I mixed my green directly into my blue when I was finished with it to get the hue I wanted.*Spread out a sheet of waxed paper large enough to dry fabric on.

*Wearing disposable gloves, dip fabric into acrylic dye bath, using a spoon to fully submerge fabric, and soak until desired hue is obtained.*Lift out the fabric, pulling it gently through one hand to wring out excess dye.
*Spread wet fabric on waxed paper and allow to dry.

*Once fabric is completely dry, using a dry iron on a cotton setting, iron fabric to further set dye.

TIP: Lay book pages on top of waxed paper, layer on wet dyed fabric, Place another piece of paper, I used ledger paper, on top of wet fabric,And run a brayer over the layers. Remove top sheet, set aside to dry.Remove fabric to another piece of waxed paper to dry. Allow under layer paper to dry.This will give you some mottled painted background pages to further embellish or use in your artwork!

I used the excess coffee and acrylic dye baths to dye up some batches of shipping tags too!
For some of the tags, I sandwiched the wet tags between a folded book page, Brayed over it, Unfolding the page, removing the tag, Setting both aside to dry on waxed paper.

I went back to the coffee dye bath and dyed a 10 in. x 10 in. square of muslin and cotton quilt batting, laying them out on wax paper to dry with a little gap between them. I lay dry shipping tags in the gap slightly over lapping the edges of the fabric. The dry tag will wick up the coffee from the wet fabric edges and stain the tag. I removed the tags before the stains melded into one another and replaced them with more dry tags. After I was finished with the these tags, I took my dry background sheets and lay them face down on the cotton batting, lightly pressing and blotting with my hands, this over stained the color from the acrylic dye giving it an antique feel.I set those aside to dry and moved on to my last dye job, gauze.
With the remaining coffee dye bath I unrolled a roll of gauze and plunged the whole thing into the coffee, soaking all of it up, squeezing it out, and soaking it back up. I left the gauze very saturated and spread it out on wax paper to dry. Since it is synthetic it does not dye well, so, it needs to sit quite a while before the final squeeze to get rid of the excess liquid. I'll go back later this evening to wring out the excess and spread it out to dry.

Lastly, I wanted to further stain my damp tags so I took one of the drying roses and lightly shook some of the excess liquid from it onto my tags and one half of my fabrics. Since the tags were still damp it made a nice faded stain into the background. Once the papers, tags, and fabrics are completely dry I will go back in and layer in more texture and depth by spattering and sponging.

And since all this was not enough to keep me busy between loads of laundry, cleaning, cooking, taking photos for this post as I went along, not to mention writing this post, I tired a printing technique with wrapping tissue paper! Oh, and did I forget to mention that I actually did sit down and watch a movie in between? I couldn't help myself, The Shop Around The Corner was on the classic movie channel. I love that movie!

So, if you could have a stay home and play day like I did today, what would you do?

Miss Sandy


Ima Weed said...

This was a wonderful tutorial, thank you for sharing.

Cheryl~ZanyMayd said...

Thanks for Sharing ~ I am going to try that on the flowers....

Pat @ My Tattered Elegance said...

Your tutorial was great. I have used tea to dye and I paint, but I haven't used coffee or paint to dye with. Got to try this. Loved the way the roses looked, they are really nice. Thanks so much for sharing.
Hugs, Pat

Dawn-Hydrangea Home said...

Love your roses!

Anonymous said...

Sandy, you like messy stuff! ;-)
Coincidentally today I bought a book on doing these kinds of things, "Paper Transformed - A Handbook of Surface-Design Recipes and Creative Paper Projects" by Julia Andrus. Fun stuff! Like what you just did.

I really like, when leaving things to dry all bunched-up, how the coffee seems to draw upwards towards the top of the wrinkles and it dries darker there! Neat!

I've never thought of dying silk flowers. Great idea because you're right, they never seem to look old and soft enough when they're new.

Loved this post!


The Feathered Nest said...

My goodness Sandy!!!! I LOVE IT ALL!! Can I come play???? I really do love it all ~ the techniques and all that you accomplished. It's so good to do all of the dying in one day, papers, roses, fabrics... whatever! Then you are ready to create! You never cease to amaze me ~ thank you so much for sharing. hugs and love, Dawn

Sharon said...

Fantastic tutorial. I am off to do some flowers. Thanks. I love your blog.

Vee said...

None of that, thank you! Wow! What a process and you showed it so very well. I can't imagine what you ate for breakfast, but it must've been Wheaties!

Karen Valentine said...

Awesome!! Thanks so much. I never thought about washing the sizing out of the roses first! I'm going to try this.

My Desert Cottage

Rose said...

Thanks for sharing the procedures of dying roses. It was nice going through your blog. Keep on posting some more blogs like this.

Dorthe said...

Hi miss Sandy,

Thank`s so much for a wonderfull tutorial, all you showed looks so beautifully in the tones, I can`t wait to try it myself.
The acrylic paint gives tons of possibilities, I see, so this is a great idea.
I`m a danish dollmaker, and loves mixed media too, so this will give me new wayes.
Thank`s again.

xo Dorthe

Carol Mae said...

Hi Sandy, Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm new to a lot of this and can't wait to try it. The roses are so lovely. hugs, Carol Mae

Lori said...

i love how the roses turned out Miss Sandy...what a great technique!!!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

What an absolutely fantastic tutorial. I had no idea you could use acrylic craft paints as dye.
How do you get your tags to remain flat? Mine always curl up?

LiLi M. said...

Ah just like everybody else up here I am in awe. I want to try it all! Love those roses, now I am never going to pass new fake flowers, now I have seen that you turned them into something gorgeous. I didn't know that you could use acrylic paint as a dye, oh this blogging learns me so much, no wonder that I am spending (too) much time behind my computer. Thanks for sharing all your secrets!
Hope all is well with you, warm wishes, LiLi

kathy said...

Sandy , YOur blog is always a delight for my heart and my eyes !!
Loving the process -- I too love to dye tags and fabrics and ribbons -- and sometimes use unsweetened koolaid etc --***Esp thanks for the Rose idea never thought of washing and fraying --
"LUV " that idea --
Have a great day Dear Friend --
KAthy - ga ♥

Jodie LeJeune said...

oh Miss Sandy!!!!
It's raining here in Louisiana and what a perfect weekend to dye!!!! Love the title by the sure got my attention!!!
You are so clever and thanks for all of the photos, you make it look so easy (& fun).
I love finding out your secrets as your creations are soooooo beautiful~
everything vintage

ps...I'm having a giveaway for One World One Heart...I'd love for you to hop on over for a chance to win. (I think you'd like it)

Celestial Charms said...

What a wonderful tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing it. What beautiful things you recreate!

TinyBear said...

I just love those roses Miss Sandy - so beautiful.
Great tutorial - thank you so much for sharing. Love to coffee dye too
Have a wonderful weekend
~ Tina said...

You are so right! The time to dye, is when you can do a LOT at the same time.

I've not tried the paint/dye technique, thanks.

Tricia said...

This is such a great tutorial and it lifted my spirits to imagine you having so much fun dyeing and playing. Oh, how I would love to have a whole day to play at art! But it is not to be so anytime soon - not until I get my 15 yr. old daughter graduated from homeschool. Ah, but next year she will have her driver's license - so maybe that day will come sooner or later! Thanks for all the efforts to photograph and describe what you were doing. I look forward to seeing how you use some of these in your work! Be sure to post.


chicroses said...

Thankyou so much for your tutorial for the roses and all of it. I do use coffee for my shipping tags. I use them for pricing my antiques to sell.Love them but now the roses.I want to go buy some from the craft stores..What a great idea...Thankyou Hugs Sally

Holly said...

What fun! You had quite an assembly line going. . .Thank you for showing us the photos with instructions. I love the way everything looks, and you didn't waste drying space or dye materials by putting them to more than one use! Beautiful. . .

bensonbear said...

Miss Sandy, what an inspiration your blog is! I found you over at Tina's, (Tiny Bear)-you may even get me going on some new creative adventures.....something other than my bears :), something messy :D
Thank you so much for sharing this.
Greetings all the way from Tasmania.

Charlene said...

AWESOME Post/Tutorial!!!!!!! Thank you Sandy. I love the roses best of all. All of it was great. I can't wait to have time to try it. HUGS! Charlene

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I love this...a great tutorial!

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial for aging silk flowers. Thank you for sharing

Barbara Jean said...

WOW!! This is an awesome (or should I say many awesome) tutorial!!
I love all the great ideas and tips. Thank you so much for a great blog.

I'd like to put this and your blog on my blog, and let others know about this great tutorial

Off to see more!

PS are you going to show us the tissue printing??


barbara jean

Barbara Jean said...

Just put up a quick post telling people of your great tutorial here.
Thanks for the OK to do that.


barbara jean

Nelly said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial. I use coffee as well, but never tried the acrylic paint for dying so now I'll have to give that a try.

My absolute fav. channel is TCM and I love, love the Shop Around the Corner also. Watch it every time its on and all its versions.


Marie said...

Thank you for this well written tutorial on different methods of dying. I will be linking to it for my article on dying fabrics for cross stitch at

Jessica said...

I am going to use the paint for some of my vintage doilies. After I use the iron to set it further, do I have worries about the fabric if it should get wet? I would like to use some of the doilies as lace on scarfs, but need to keep the coloring a little more controlled in smaller places. Thought this might be my best option :D

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin