This is the one of the few list items that I can say with utmost certainty I came up with completely on my own. As I was compiling my list, I noticed that several other summer bucket lists included tie-dyeing projects, the most popular object of choice being the classic t-shirt. I would be one of the first to agree that tie-dyeing is an essential part summer. Tie-dyeing is to summer as fashion week is to fall, snow is to winter, and baby animals are to spring. However, I have dyed several shirts, and quite frankly, they’re the last thing I need. Therefore, I devised a plan to take on a tie-dyeing project larger than I ever had before… a tie-dyed bed. At first I thought I would stick to a traditional rainbow spiral, totally cliché and totally summer. I decided against it because I realized that looking at it every night and day would make me feel a little too laissez-faire. After a long period of designing, I came up with a pattern that I was in love with, yet simple and completely doable. Plus, it only required three colors, which is a lot more inexpensive than buying a bona fide tie-dying kit. After purchasing the dye (eight dollars total, compared to twenty for a kit), all I needed were the bed sheets. I kept putting it off because I just couldn’t bring myself to fork over thirty dollars for the set I really wanted. Miraculously one morning as I was unpacking boxes, I found an old set of white sheets with large gray polka-dots that I thought had been given to Good Will years ago, complete with a fitted and flat sheet plus two pillowcases. I had always loved the sheets but hated how they looked with my comforter, so they rested in peace under my bed. Now I knew it was time to resurrect them. The whole task took two and a half days to complete, but it was well worth it in the end.
I loved the results, although I will say it didn’t turn out exactly as planned (how many times have you heard me say that?). To begin with, the periwinkle-ish section was supposed to be a royal blue. Additionally, both the blue and turquoise sections were supposed to have a really cool ombre effect, which faded in the wash considerably. Plus, the fuschia section is a little more purple than I’d like, but it flows well with the periwinkle. Here are some tips so that you don’t have to learn some of these lessons the hard way:
- Soaking is by far the best method of tie-dyeing, and the longer the better if you want rich, vibrant colors, so pick a method that allows for your fabric to sit for extended periods of time (such as the rings I did in the middle section).
- After you dye your fabric, let it air dry. Then cover the whole thing in white vinegar and air dry it again. This will set the color and prevent it from fading in the wash.
- Do not undo any rubber bands until the vinegar soak is about halfway dry.
- If you are using a polyester-cotton blend fabric (mine was 80% cotton, 20% polyester) or any other fabric that is not cotton, be aware that the colors will fade considerably compared to 100% cotton.
- Always work outside in the grass. I know it’s itchy and dirty and unpleasant, but just do it.
- Wear gloves because the water will be hot and the dye will stain your skin.
- When mixing colors, be very cautious not to add too much of one color to the other, and use a small section of fabric to test it first before committing.
All in all, this was a great project. Although it was definitely time consuming, the end product makes me so elated. The sheets are completely unique, which I love, and I know that I’ll actually use them now. I don’t have a comforter to go with it yet, but I do have one in mind (in which case I will post more pictures on my Facebook page). Yes, summer vacation is gone, but I feel like summer still hasn’t really left… which feels pretty good.
Love & Summer,
P.S. Oh, and I used the leftover dyes to make some pretty cool t-shirts too… even if they are the last thing I need.