So if you haven’t read yet, I moved to a San Luis Obispo apartment a few weeks ago and I’m really lovin’ it. I’m pretty much all moved in now, except for a few final decorating touches! It’s seriously so fun having an apartment to decorate because I love being able to look at all the trendy home decor pieces in order to make my living space feel cute and home-y. But… if there’s anything that’s super consistent around here, it’s the fact that my bank account is occupied with paying tuition and I’m really not a millionaire.
When I was looking around at pillowcases for my bed, I found these at Urban and loved the look of them. The only problem: They’re 39$ (and backordered, but let’s be real.. the price was the primary deterrent). While $39 isn’t an absurd price for pillows, it’s definitely more expensive than the ones that are $9.74 at Target. And: tie-dye is a super easy at-home craft, so you really don’t have to sacrifice the cash for the look!
Presenting: How to make your own tie-dye pillowcases!
What you’ll need:
- White Cotton Pillowcases (I used these!)
- Dye (I used this one)
- 4-6 Tea bags
- Rubber bands
- String (optional!)
- A bucket
- Hot water
- Gloves (if you’re feelin’ it)
Step One: Fold ’em up!
If you’ve done tie-dye before, you know that the key to getting any design with the dye is by covering up parts of the fabric so that the whole thing doesn’t end up the same color. I wanted a shibori dye look that was mostly white and different than the traditional swirly, rainbow tie-dye. To do this, fold the pillowcase like an accordion so that it looks like it has pleats. The dye will reach the folds on the outside which will give it the look of irregular stripes.
Then, rubber band the entire fan-folded pillowcase from top to bottom. I placed my bands about a half-inch apart – this is what will make the breaks in the stripes.
There’s endless ways to fold for tie-dye and you definitely don’t have to do it the same way I did. You can use basically everything and anything to block off the dye and each way will result in a different, unique pattern. You can experiment on an old white cotton t-shirt if you’re curious about how your folds will turn out! Otherwise, scroll to the bottom to see what this style of folding ended up looking like.
Once you fold both pillowcases, you’re ready to dye! (That sounds so interesting… One different vowel in that last word would make this DIY quite unfortunate)
Step 2: Let’s get dye-ing!
This step can be tough because it takes a little bit of tweaking to get your desired color. I wanted a peachy, clay pink to match an accent pillow I picked up at Target a few days before, so the dying process wasn’t as simple as just preparing the dye as it says on the package.
Before you drop your pillowcase in the dye mixture, make sure to dip a test piece in to make sure you like the color. Target’s pillowcases actually come in a little white cotton bag which is perfect for testing. I used Rit’s petal pink dye and the color looked a lot like bubblegum to me. If you’re shooting for bubblegum – go for it! Prepare the dye as it says on the package, drop each pillowcase in, and leave them for about 3 minutes. Then, rinse them, wring them out and hang them up to dry – you’re done!
If you’re not going for bubblegum, here’s where the creativity comes in. My mom is an interior decorator and the craftiest person I know. We tried a few things to get the color closer to a peachy pink such as adding grey dye and adding more water to de-saturate the mixture. The thing that finally worked was adding tea!
Making Your Own Color
To make a color look less saturated, you can brew like 4-6 bags of tea in a large pot and then add a little bit of the petal pink dye mixture to the tea mixture. Dip a piece of test fabric in and alter the ratio of dye and tea until you get the color you’re satisfied with. When you think it’s right, drop your pillow cases in and leave them soaking for 15-20 minutes. Tea takes a little longer to saturate the fabric so give it time to sit and wait.
I just dropped the pillow cases right in the same pot that the tea was brewed in. It looks super gross in the picture.. like intestines or something. I promise it’s just fabric. 😬
Rit’s website also has a dye archive that will tell you what dyes to use in order to make some of their older colors. If you’re nervous about adding tea, you can check out this page to see what you need to mix to get a peach color.
Finished pillowcase prettiness
After waiting, pull a pillowcase out, rinse them, wring them, and hang them up to dry. When you wash them, make sure they’re separate from other white things because the color will probably bleed during the first few washes.
Aaaaand here’s the finished product of what my bedroom pillowscape looks like! I think these pillows added the perfect boho flair to my room and helps to spice up my white duvet and white walls. Although my bedroom still isn’t finished, getting the pillows done is a huge step to being complete. I’m super happy with the way it turned out! If you guys give it a try, let me know how you like it. I love tie-dye and I’m always interested in new styles of folding!