Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Peek Inside Gus & Ruby Windows: Indigo Dye Kit

When Yellow Owl Workshop's new Indigo Dye Kit arrived in the shop a couple of weeks ago we were all abuzz with ideas of things to dye: tea towels, onesies for the littles, a tote to debut when the farmer's market starts back up. Then the 'ah-ha!' moment happened, a mini tee-pee tent to go in the window. Here's how to make your own.

You will need:
  • Yellow Owl Workshop's Indigo Dye Kit (includes the dye, gloves, instructions, and a scarf)
  • The usual things: a ruler or tape measure, pencil, scissors
  • Six 5' long PVC pipes (if you want a taller tee-pee, get longer PCV pipe)
  • A drill with 1/4" bit
  • A sewing machine, a needle and thread, or a friend who can sew
  • White cotton fabric, we used 3 yards (our friend who sews studied fashion design and is a fabric whiz, so you might need a little extra fabric if you want wiggle room or are making a larger tee-pee)
  • Cardboard or wood cut into about 6" squares
  • Rubber bands, a good handful
  • A bucket or another vessel to dye in
  • 18" of jute twine or another type of hearty string 
  • Washi tape

  • Mark and drill two holes in the PCV pipe about 6" from one end, try to keep them even on either side so that it's easy to string your twine through the holes.
  • Line the pipes up so that you can string the twine through each pipe. Roll the pipes together to create a loop with all of the holes and tie your twine tight.
  • Prop your tee-pee skeleton up (as shown below with my sweet Samson cat dancing inside). Make each side as even as you can. Measure the empty triangle spaces and find an average of your lengths. You'll want to give yourself about 1" extra on all sides for your seam allowances. The drawing to the right shows the shape you'll be measuring, the dotted line being that extra 1".
  • Sew each panel together side by side so that you end up with a shape resembling a semi-circle, you don't need to sew the two ends together at this point.
  •  Now you get to break open that dye kit! Yellow Owl Workshop gives great dying instructions so be sure to read through those. Simply put: soak your fabric, dye it, and let it dry.
  • This post from Design*Sponge gives excellent directions for a few different dying techniques, I used the square accordion fold. This is where those 6" wooden squares come in. If you're trying out a different technique, you may just use rubber bands.
  • Wring out your soaked fabric and lay it flat to begin folding. I started by folding the first three panels on top of the others, then folded each panel on one another again to work with the shape of just one panel. Fold that shape into the longest rectangle you can, then zig-zag the folds back and forth and sandwich them between the two pieces of wood. Rubber band the whole thing together tightly.
  • You can go about dying in two ways. The first option is to use the dye dauber in the kit to draw on the exposed bits of fabric. I tried this option first and it worked, but the ink didn't flow as well to create the softer look I was going for. I then tried a more traditional dying method, filling a bucket with a mixture of dye and water and let my fabric and wood sandwich sit in the bucket for 20 minutes. You can pop the top of the ink dauber off to pour the dye into a bucket. For a lighter indigo use more water, for a more bold color use less.
  • Once you've finished dying the fabric unfold and let it dry. Don't do any rinsing, it will desaturate the dye. While you're waiting for it to dry, use colorful washi tape to cover any bits of PVC pipe that will be exposed (we have all sorts of colors and patterns and even glitter tape at the shop).
  •  When your fabric is dry, wrap it around the PVC and sew the end panels together from the top of the tee-pee. We sewed about the foot so that we had a wide opening, if you want a smaller opening just sew further down. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the final tee-pee!
I added a fun starry touch the windows below. They are so easy to make and you could make a mobile with them or decorate for your next dinner party, maybe even hang them above a table for a fun seating chart.

You will need:
  • Foam core
  • Utility knife
  • A cutting surface
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Kraft paper or paper bags
  • Needle
  • Fishing line
  •  Cut star shapes from the foam core with the exacto knife. They don't need to be perfect. I love the way they look when they're all a little different. I also made a moon by tracing two different sized plates.
  • Paint each star front and back. Roll out some kraft paper so you don't paint the floor. I used a matte black paint for a sort of chalky look but you could really use any color.
  • String them up with the needle and fishing line. Now you have your very own starry night!
This window brings so much fun and whimsy. It makes me want to go camping in my living room with a thousand pillows and watch Moonrise Kingdom with my brother and sister. There's always something so great about remembering all of the little things that can bring such joy.

No comments:

Post a Comment