Colorhue and Rust Dyed Pillow Case

 

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Okay, so I debated about posting this because I am essentially using the same technique that I used in my last Rust Dyed Pillow Covers post. Well, with one important exception. This pillow case was dyed with Colorhue Dye before I placed the rusty bits on top. So, I decided to take this opportunity to discuss these dyes. I’m also so enamored with the turquoise and rust color combination that I had to share my gorgeous pics!

I have used Colorhue dyes extensively in my work. They were the first dyes that I really dove into when making scarves. They are wonderful dyes but they aren’t perfect and I have had trouble finding ANYONE out there discussing the pitfalls of this dye. According to the Dharma Trading website they are instant set concentrated dyes that require no heat setting.

Well that’s not exactly true in my experience. After a tremendous amount of trial and error I have found that although these dyes do strike incredibly fast, they do indeed require a little help to be colorfast. Without heat setting I have found that the color will run endlessly in my wash water. Certain colors are worse than others (red, black, and brown) but they all do this to some extent. Additionally, the Dharma site says that it is difficult to get good depth of color and a dark black. Much to the contrary I have been able to get beautiful saturated color (including deep blacks) with these dyes.

At one point I called the manufacturer because I was SO frustrated with my inability to completely fix these dyes. They recommended soaking my textiles in vinegar before dyeing. I have found that a vinegar soak (15 – 30 minutes) helps but the most important step is heat setting. My first attempt at heat setting was to microwave my fabric for approximately 3 minutes in a glass Pyrex dish covered in plastic wrap. This required stopping every minute or so to allow the steam to settle so that my plastic wouldn’t explode (you can guess how I learned that this was a necessary step). Ultimately, I discovered that a hot iron placed on top of my bundle (through a cloth or paper towel) right after dyeing was the fastest and most efficient method for setting this dye. I do this for approximately three minutes (turning the fabric every minute or so and moving my iron continuously so that I don’t scorch the fabric) and then I give it a good wash before hanging it to dry. There will still be some excess dye in your wash water but it WILL stop and your dye will be permanent at this point.

You can easily mix these dyes to get more color variation and although they are expensive they do go a long way. You can dip dye with them and you can dye more precisely using a dropper (I like the glass ones). If you want to see lots of examples check out my Etsy site (many of my scarves have been dyed with Colorhue dyes). Oh, one last bit, these dyes ONLY work on silk or silk blends although some of the information that I have read says they work on cellulose fibers (not so much, ask me how I know!).

Materials:

  • silk
  • vinegar
  • Colorhue Dye
  • aluminum foil
  • rusty bits
  • bricks, pavers, or rocks
  • time!
  • Derwink Inktense sticks, So Soft fabric paint, Lumiere fabric paint (optional)
  • hot iron
  • mild detergent

Tutorial

Step 1: Soak your fabric in vinegar and then dip it in a bath of Colorhue dye for 10-15 seconds. This dye is water based and non toxic (making it a good choice when working with kids – but it will stain, so be careful). This dye is also a concentrate so you simply mix it with water until you achieve the color you desire. I often dip a small piece of paper towel in my dye to check the color – bearing in mind that it will look several shades lighter when it’s dry. Please note that I decided to hold off on heat setting until after I did my rust dyeing since both dyes require heat to set.

Step 2: Lay out your fabric as flat as possible on a layer of aluminum foil and place your metal bits on half of your fabric.

This color combination is ridiculous!!! My rusty bits have been sitting outside since my last project and it seems that abject neglect has served them well! Fingers crossed for some beautiful fabric!

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I had to include this one because it’s just so darn pretty!

Step 3: Fold your fabric on top of the first half being careful not to disturb your design.

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Step 4: Place another piece of foil on top and then lay something heavy on top of that to insure good contact between your fabric and your rusty stuff. In the last pillow cover tutorial I recommended that you seal your foil before placing your bricks (or whatever) on top. I have since read that air helps to facilitate the rusting process so I have decided not to seal the foil this time. It will be interesting to see if the rust transfers more quickly (last time it took three days).

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Step 5: Once you have achieved a color that you are satisfied with open things up and let your fabric completely dry out. It’s been two days and I’m loving the color, so maybe not sealing things up was a good idea?

Things are still wet here, so the color is darker than it will be, but I LOVE how the blue seems to be turning green around the rusty bits! Also bear in mind that the rusty pieces are still in place so the fabric will definitely look different when I open this up and the bits are removed.

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In fact, since it just needs to dry out I don’t see why I can’t open it up now?! My impatient nature strikes again! Here goes!

Wow. Sooooooooo pretty. It’s like a gorgeous painting and can I tell you how much I love the pops of orange and gold?! I wish I could leave the metal pieces in place! But alas, they must go…

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Still really pretty, but I’m missing the orange and gold (maybe a little embellishing is in order?). And this is still wet so I’m anxious to see how it looks when it’s dry…it’s interesting how the rust transferred more strongly on the right or top half. I like that there is some variation in the pattern and the green is really lovely.

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Step 6: Embellish, or not. I decided to go for it with these and this for a little bit of gold sparkle. I did this while it was still a bit wet because the Inktense sticks require moisture. I defined some of the squares with a grey/black Inktense stick and I added orange and red accents with the same product. I painted gold onto some of the squares which I realize is difficult to see in the pic below, but it is a nice addition.

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I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. :/ I was craving a more saturated turquoise, more contrast overall and a bigger pop of color…so it went back into the Colorhue dye for about 3 minutes. I like that the rusty areas went more brown and less orange (more like when it was wet) and I’m happy that the blue is deeper. I also did a bit more embellishing with this in Metallic Bronze and I darkened some of the outlines with a mix of brown and black fabric paint. It definitely has a Gustav Klimt vibe. 🙂

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Step 7: Let it “cure” for 24 hours.

Step 8: Iron on high for three minutes to set the color.

Step 9: Wash in a mild detergent. I used Synthrapol, which is a professional textile detergent, but any mild detergent or shampoo is fine (shampoo works great on protein fibers because hair is made out of protein). Hang to dry and iron.

Here it is! If you would rather buy then diy go here. 🙂

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Eucalyptus Leaf Print Tutorial

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Hello folks! If you read my first post on eucalyptus dyeing then you may have gathered that I was none too thrilled with my results. So I was determined to get back to it and see if I could get some crisp eucalyptus leaf prints. I figured that it might be nice to work on a smaller scale this time (or at least until I achieve a result that I am pleased with) so I will be using some silk pillow covers. Here goes!

Materials:

  • protein fiber such as silk or wool
  • vinegar
  • eucalyptus leaves (you will need to find a eucalyptus species that is suitable for dyeing such as red ironbark or silver dollar)
  • paper towels
  • stick, small piece of pipe, or a dowel
  • artificial sinew or twine
  • pot with steamer basket – please use a pot that is dedicated to dyeing!
  • Derwent Inktense color blocks (optional)
  • iron

Tutorial

Step 1: Alright first things first! Technically you can dye nearly any natural fiber with eucalyptus. However, if you choose a protein or animal fiber like silk or wool you will not need to use a mordant (mordants help to fix dye to fabric). So if you would like to use cotton or linen you will need to pre-soak your fabric in a mordant such as alum. Alum is available online and some say you can buy it at the grocery store although I have never seen it there. I generally purchase mine here.  As I previously mentioned, I will be using two blank silk pillow covers that I purchased through Dharma Trading (I swear they need to start paying me for the free advertising!).

As far as the eucalyptus is concerned, this may require a little research if you don’t have easy access to a tree. The silver dollar variety is readily available in the U.S. through florists and some markets. I would try Trader Joes since their prices on flowers and plants can’t be beat! The leaf shape on this variety is much more circular (as the name implies) so you will end up with a different but no less lovely result. I will be showing you two examples of this process, one is very simple and the next is a bit more complex.

Now let’s get down to business! First wet your fiber in a vinegar bath. This isn’t absolutely necessary but it will help to fix the dye and it’s an easy step so why not? If you choose not to use vinegar you should definitely wet your fabric. Then lay it out onto a layer of paper towels making sure that it is as flat and smooth as possible. I didn’t do this the first time and I needed to carefully lift up my fabric (with the leaves already in place) to slide the paper towel underneath. So learn from my mistakes people and put down the paper towel first! Then lay out your design on one half of your fabric. I’m doing this in part because I like that I will get a mirror image of my design but this also allows me to make a smaller bundle that will easily fit into my steamer basket (this will make more sense later). If you have a larger steam set up and want to do a different design then go for it!

 

Step 2: Lay the second half of your fabric on top of the first being careful not to disturb your design. Press with your hands to smooth.

 

Step 3: Place another layer of paper towel on top of your fabric then use a stick (I’m using a piece of eucalyptus), a small pipe or a dowel to roll your fabric into a bundle. Be mindful not to disturb your design as you are rolling it up. Tie it tightly with artificial sinew or twine to create a neat bundle.

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Step 4: Place in your steamer basket and turn your heat to high. When it comes to a boil turn your heat to low and let it go for one hour. When your hour is up, turn your bundle over and steam for one more hour.

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Step 5: Let your bundle cool completely and unroll. Some folks say that you should wait 24 hours to open your bundle, but having tried this I really didn’t feel like it made much of a difference. It’s truly like opening up a present! Here’s what I got.

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Sooooo pretty! I love that there is variation in the leaf color on number one. And the shadow of each leaf is nice in number two – I’m not sure why that happened but I like it. I decided to add stems to the second one using these. I took the red and rubbed it on the metal lid, then added some dark grey and a bit of orange. I added some water with a small brush and I was able to get a nice reddish orange.

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Hmmmm, maybe I liked it better before the stems? What do you think? I’m toying with the idea of giving this one a quick dunk in some black tea. Stay tuned…

Step 6: Hang your fabric to dry and let it sit for a minimum of 24 hours to “cure.” Waiting truly is the hardest part!!!

Step 7: Iron to set your design, give it a quick wash in a mild detergent, hang to dry and iron again.  Now they’re ready for their cover shots!

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So as you can see I decided to give both of them a little tea bath. I dunked them for approximately one minute and then rinsed them under some cold running water. I then ironed them while they were still wet to set the color. They dried almost immediately with the hot iron.

Although I loved the crisp white background I began to notice that the areas where the dye had bled were looking a bit like the pillow case was dirty, which was not a good look! I figured that a creamier background would help to blend things. Mission accomplished. 🙂

 

 

Rust Dyed Pillow Covers

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I know that you were itching for some more rust dyeing! Okay, maybe it was me who was itching. I bought these little beauties on Etsy and I couldn’t wait to turn them into something.

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I had a few silk pillow cases laying around so I figured that I would try to do a two for one (two pillow cases, one project).

Materials:

  • natural fiber fabric such as cotton, wool, linen, or silk
  • vinegar
  • rusty stuff
  • aluminum foil
  • heavy pavers, bricks, or rocks
  • time!
  • salt
  • black tea (optional)

Tutorial

Step 1: Soak your fabric in a vinegar bath for a few minutes. This is a very important step because the vinegar will significantly speed up the rusting process!

Step 2: Lay your fabric out as flat as possible onto a hard surface covered with several sheets of aluminum foil. Make certain that you leave an inch or two of foil around the edges so that when you place more foil on top you will be able to seal up your little package nice and tight (this will make more sense later on…just do it people!). 🙂

Step 3: Create a design with your rusty stuff.

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Step 4: Once you are happy with your design, carefully lay your second piece of fabric on top. Please note that you only need to do this step if you are rust dyeing two pieces of fabric at the same time. If you are only dyeing one piece, skip ahead to step 5.

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Step 5: Spray with a 50:50 vinegar and water solution (optional – I just wanted a bit more moisture to hasten the rusting process). Lay more foil over the top and seal your edges being careful not to disturb your design.

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Step 6: Place something heavy on top to insure good contact between your fabric and your rusty stuff.

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Step 7: Wait two or three days…if you have been reading this blog then you know how much I love to wait! :/

Once you have achieved a deep rust color (which took nearly 3 days in this case), open up your package and let it air dry completely. Some folks say to let it “cure” for 24 hours but I’m really not sure how crucial this is.

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So pretty! I’m wondering how it will look once I remove the metal pieces…

Step 9: Remove your metal bits and iron for 3 minutes to set your design.

Ackkkkkkkk! I forgot this step! I’m not certain how much difference it will make?! Hopefully not too much!

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Step 10: Soak in a bath of warm water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt to 1 gallon of water) for 15-20 minutes to arrest the rusting process.

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Step 11: If you are happy with your design then give it a quick wash, let it air dry and iron if needed. I felt like mine would look better with a dip in some black tea. As you can see I used the expensive stuff (about 20 bags because why not?).

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They’re starting to look grey! Nice!

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Step 12: Soak until you have achieved your desired color bearing in mind that the color will be quite a bit lighter when dry (I let mine go for approximately 4 hours). Squeeze out your fabric, hang to dry and iron to set the color. Last but not least, give it a quick wash in a mild detergent until your water runs clear, hang it to dry and iron (again).

Here they are. What do you think?

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I think they’re lovely. I like the juxtaposition of the silk with the rust as well as the somewhat graphic yet abstract design. I feel like the grey plays nicely with the brown and gives it a more polished look. For my taste, the rust against the white came off a bit too rustic (no pun intended!). I also like that although the pillows are very similar, they don’t completely match.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! Please feel free to comment or ask questions and please click the Follow button to receive regular posts.

If you would rather buy then DIY go here.

Quick and Easy Hot Glue Stencil

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I promised somewhere along the line that I would do a homemade stencil tutorial. So here goes! These are SO easy to make! I love that the designs are completely unique, but there are some limitations. For example, it’s difficult to get a really crisp stencil with this method so if that’s what you want, I would use mylar. The only other limitation that I can think of is your imagination!

Materials:

  • high temp glue gun
  • high temp glue sticks
  • non stick surface of some sort (I’m using a cookie sheet)

Tutorial

Step 1: Gather your materials and make certain that your surface is something that your hot glue won’t stick to. I have read that you can use wax paper or aluminum foil. Trust me, both are not worth your time. I did have some success with parchment paper but that could get pricey. So an old cookie sheet or a dollar store cookie sheet will work just fine.

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Step 2: Create your design! If you want to be more fussy about it you could draw your design onto your surface – I would use a washable marker or maybe a pencil? I’m simply free handing it. The only thing that you need to be careful about is making sure that all of your lines are touching so that your stencil will hold together. If any of the connections look weak you can go back and give them another dab of glue.

I like that the glue is kind of “blobby” and uneven. I think it lends a handcrafted look to an otherwise modern design. You can be as simple or complex as you like. If you use a smaller glue gun you can most certainly get some finer details in there. Don’t worry about the little strings that come off as you are making your design because you can easily clean those up when things have cooled down. Also, if you are unhappy with any of your lines you can carefully trim the glue with scissors or an exacto knife when you are done.

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Step 3: Let it completely cool off (this takes about 10-15 minutes) and then carefully lift it from your surface. Voila! A homemade stencil!

I will be using mine on an 18 x 18 inch pillow. So after the stencil above cooled I lifted it up and connected another three rows of circles.

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Here it is in action for some sun printing!

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Here’s the finished product. If you would rather buy then DIY go here. 🙂

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Sun Printing with Dye-Na-Flow

So here I go with another new technique! The first time I did this it didn’t go so well, mostly because I failed to follow the directions. Hopefully things will go better this time.

This is a sun printing technique using a fabric paint called Dye-Na-Flow. According to the Dharma Trading website where I purchased this paint it is a “thin, free flowing concentrated color that works on any fabric.” I had it on hand because I had used it to do some marbling (another tutorial?). According to what I read, you simply paint it onto some fabric, place a mask of some sort (stencil, flowers, rocks, whatever) on to the fabric and put it in the sun. The magical part is that wherever you put the mask the fabric will return to it’s original color. I have no idea how this works but it’s super cool!

As I said, my first attempt with this technique didn’t work out so well. I painted a white silk scarf with a combo of white and black paint and then placed some rocks on top to create a pattern. The pattern was just okay. The rocks left a less defined print than I would have liked and I didn’t do a great job of smoothing out my fabric so anywhere that there was a bump or wrinkle was imprinted! Yikes! When it was dry I hastily scooped it up and rinsed it (before checking the instructions). Apparently, I was supposed to wait 24 hours and then iron it for 3 minutes before washing it. So, not surprisingly a lot of the color washed out. Here are a few pics:

Now for round 2!

Materials:

  • white cotton pillow cover – or fabric of your choosing
  • Dye-Na-Flow paint
  • mask or stencil of some sort
  • sunlight 🙂
  • Derwent Inktense color sticks – optional

Tutorial

Step 1: Pick a piece of fabric and give it a quick wash to remove any schmutz. Then smooth it out REALLY well. You don’t want to have any creases because as you can see from the pics above, they will show up in your final result.

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Step 2: Paint your fabric with Dye-Na-Flow making sure to cover it well. I’m using a blank white cotton pillow cover that I purchased from Dharma Trading.

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Step 3: Add your stencils or “masks.” I am using stencils that I made from hot glue (I see another tutorial headed your way!). I played around with the design until I was satisfied and then I put it in the sun until it was completely dry.

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This is how it looked when I took off the stencils. Interesting that it isn’t solid black around the zipper even though I put a lot of paint in that area. Apparently, it needed more! Some of the edges are also a bit lighter then I would like. The pattern is kind of interesting, but I’m not in love with it.

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Here’s the back side. I made sure that it was saturated with paint, so I’m not certain what happened here but it’s kind of cool.

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I really wasn’t happy with how this came out so I did a little embellishing.

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I used these to add the color. Better.

Step 4: Let your fabric “cure” for 24 hours and then iron on high for 3 minutes to set the color. Wash with a mild detergent until your water runs clear. Hang to dry and iron.

Here’s the finished pillow:

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As you can see, some of the color washed out. I don’t mind that it’s more muted but I’m not gaga over it. It looks more “craftsy” than “artsy” to me but I think that this technique has potential and I will very likely revisit it at some point. Thanks for hanging out with me! I would love to get your thoughts on this one. 🙂