Pillows: To Dye For


Spring showers have us feeling cooped up inside, but bursting with new ideas.  A yearning to get out there and get our hands dirty always creeps up this time of year. Whether you’re feeling stuck or inspired, it’s so important for our mind and body to be able to express ourselves creatively. From cooking in the kitchen, planting in the garden, or dying new pillow covers… these small moments act as a  retreat from the hustle that surrounds our urban city lives. This DIY project is the perfect way to craft with your hands, master some creative control, and give your home decor a little refresh too!  The beauty of a project like this is that you can do no wrong – perfectly imperfect is the objective here.  And even better –  you are forced to give up control as the dye certainly has a mind of its own.  So splatter away with abandon!

Photography by Sarah Elliot
Pillows created by Jenna Saraco

Photo by Sarah Elliott

What you’ll need: Rubber gloves, soda ash, black fabric dye for natural fabrics (we used Jacquard Procion mx, in black), spray bottle, squirt bottle, paint brush, drop cloth, linen pillow covers

Prep your fabric. Since each pillow is being dyed individually, and separately, you’ll need to do a pre-soak in water and soda ash for 30 minutes so the dye fixes to the fabric. Follow the directions on the package for the correct ratio. Once you’ve soaked in the soda ash water, allow time for the fabric to dry again. It doesn’t have to be 100% dry, but you’ll be adding more water later so the dryer the better.

Photo by Sarah Elliott

Put on rubber gloves then mix your dye, add to your squirt bottle, fill your spray bottle with water, prep your area to begin dying. You’ll want to double the amount of dye to water since we’ll be adding in water as we work.

Photo by Sarah Elliott

Spray the fabric in the areas you want to add your dye, the more water you use the more the color will move. Spray, squirt, and spray, repeat! Move the fabric around as you work to change the direction of the color, and control the movement of the color across your fabric.

Photo by Sarah Elliott

Work the dye around the fabric with your brush, or use it to add a splatter effect. Think Jackson Pollock!

Photo by Sarah Elliott

Work the color around the canvas of your pillow.

Photo by Sarah Elliott

Don’t be afraid to use your hands. Work the color around to achieve your desired look. Less is more! White space is important, and the colors will bleed more as they dry. Make sure to dry flat so the color doesn’t run too much.

Photo by Sarah Elliott
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