Until about a year ago, tie dye conjured images in my head of groovy Deadheads and fourth-grade birthday parties (read: it lived firmly in the realm of hippies and children and wasn’t exactly what I would call… chic). But I’ve recently had a change of heart. Maybe it was this Gucci t-shirt that pushed me over the edge, or maybe it was the shibori textiles from Rebecca Atwood that moved tie dye firmly from the tacky to the cool category in my head.
Whatever the reason, I’m now fully sold and looking to tie dye pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Since Joanna recently redid her backyard as part of the One Room Challenge (and it looks so, SO good), we thought it would be nice to DIY a pretty linen table runner for her outdoor dining space. I finished the tie dye look with some metallic block-printed patterns to add another level of visual texture to the look, and I love how it turned out. Keep on scrolling to get the full tutorial!
- 2 yards linen fabric (make sure to get 100% linen since it will take the dye well)
- Rit liquid dye in Evening Blue and Navy Blue
- copper fabric paint
- small rubber bands
- 1 large potato
- paring knife
- large bowl, bin or bucket
You’ll want to start by trimming your piece of linen fabric to the right width/length for your table. I kept mine at six feet long and cut it down to two feet wide.
Then, create a nicely frayed edge by gently pulling on the strings that run lengthwise. Trim any stray threads that are longer than the rest.
Now for the dye! Start by wetting the fabric completely and then ringing it out.
Gather the fabric into loose points and secure using the small rubber bands. I wanted a pretty loose, large-scale, abstract pattern so I made my rubber-banded sections pretty big. I started with three of one color and went back in with my second color later.
Hold the gathered sections over your bowl (make sure you use something that either won’t stain or you don’t mind getting stained) and saturate them with the liquid dye. Let sit according to the directions on the back of the bottle.
After the allotted time, rinse the dye out until the water runs clear. Then, repeat the whole process with the second color of dye.
I tried to space out my splotches of color so they covered most of the fabric while overlapping a little bit. And don’t worry if you get random bits of color on the fabric — that’ll just add to the freeform beauty of the finished product!
While you let your dyed runner dry, it’s time to make the block-print stamp. Start by cutting a large russet potato in half. Then, decide the shape you want to go with and trace it out on one half of the potato.
Using a paring knife, trim away the potato around the sides of the shape until the stamp is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ inch high.
Next, brush a coat of the copper fabric paint onto the stamp, and press it firmly onto the fabric. Apply plenty of pressure and rock it from side to side a little bit to ensure good coverage. Repeat until you’ve created geometric clusters of the stamp on different sections of the runner.
Remember: the finished product is meant to be fun and freeform so don’t sweat the details too much — just do what feels right and looks pretty and you’ll get a cool finished product!
Cheers to a summer full of backyard BBQs, tie-dye linens and glasses of of chilled rosé!
photography by Jojotastic, DIY by Hannah Cross.
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