To Dye For
All the rage in weddings with organic elegance, indigo-dyed pieces are a quick, easy, and budget-friendly (woot!) way to give your day custom flair. Local designer Anna Joyce showed us how to make this fun statement lamp—hang it above the altar, over the dessert table, behind the bar, or in multiples over long farmhouse tables or the dance floor.
“Indigo dyeing has a bohemian vibe, but the color is so classic that it always feels chic,” says Joyce, who plunged into the process herself after finishing her fab hand-printing how-to, Stamp Stencil Paint (STC Craft | An Imprint of Abrams, 2015). She also loves a good dye job on table runners, napkins, photo booth backdrops, ’maids dresses, and more.
MAKE IT YOURSELF!
- A piece of cotton or linen fabric the length of the circumference of your lamp shade, plus ¼-yard extra to accommodate shrinking. The width should be the height of your lamp plus 2 inches.
- Jacquard indigo tie dye kit—comes with gloves and small wooden blocks for clamping
- A large bucket and mixing stick
- Large spring clamp
- Fabri-Tac clear craft glue
Mix indigo according to package instructions.
Accordion fold your fabric length-wise so that you have 6 panels. The more narrow the accordion folds, the smaller and more intricate your pattern will be.
Triangle/origami fold up the entire length of fabric, alternating over and under folds: 1) Take the lower left corner of one end and bring it up and over to the opposing edge so that you have an isosceles triangle; 2) Take the bottom right corner and fold it up and under on the same side so that the bottom is square again; 3) Take the bottom right corner and bring it up and over to the opposing side so that you once again have a triangle; 4) Take the bottom left corner and fold it up and under on the same side so that the bottom is square; 5) Continue the process until the entire piece of fabric is folded into a triangle.
Place the blocks provided in the indigo kit over either side of the center of the folded triangle and tightly clamp in place. Put on the gloves to protect your hands from dye and chemicals and wear an apron to protect from splashes. Completely submerge the clamped fabric in the indigo and allow it to soak for 20 minutes—to achieve a darker hue, take it out after 4 to 6 minutes, let it oxidize, and repeat 3 times. When you’re ready, wearing gloves and apron pull out the fabric and gently squeeze out extra dye; unfold the fabric and hang it on a clothes line or drying wrack, or lay it on clean grass to allow the dye to oxidize—it will turn from bright green to indigo blue.
Machine wash and dry your fabric. Cut the washed fabric to the length and width to go around the lamp, leaving a one inch boarder on all sides. Carefully fold the fabric over an inch along the length on both sides and iron to maintain the crease. Add some glue to the top inside corner of one end of the fabric and begin to glue the fabric to the lamp, gently finger-pressing it in place. Go around all of the edges, gluing and pressing as you go until all of the fabric is glued in place on your lamp shade. When done, fold the end over an inch and glue it in place down the width of the lamp. Clean using a lint roller.
For even bigger impact, finish your shade with crystal chandelier parts, tassels, or fresh flowers.