When the incredibly talented and lovely gals from Paper Fox LA asked us to come up with a craft for their Mother’s Day Brunch (featured on Zooey Magazine), dip-dyed napkins came to mind immediately. Not only do they make a beautiful table setting but they are also the perfect gift. Who wouldn’t want a set of gorgeous hand-dyed napkins? These are super easy to make as well as being inexpensive -- the perfect combo when trying to come up with a gift for the mom who still appreciates things that are thoughtfully handmade. And don't they all?
- Rit Dye in whatever colors you want. We used these colors: Lemon yellow, fuschia, rose pink & sunshine orange mixed with rose pink for the peachy color.
- White napkins (we got ours from Bed Bath & Beyond). Just make sure that they are 100% cotton and not polyester.
- A large bowl
- Liquid laundry detergent
Before you get started, remember that you are working with dye. Don’t wear clothes that are white/special to you.
1. Prepare your dye in a large bowl according to the directions. We used Rit Dye but didn’t need a giant batch so we used about half the package for each color. First, mix the dye powder with 2 cups of hot water, 1/2 a cup of salt and a splash of liquid detergent in a bowl and stir well (this insures that all the dye crystals dissolve). Then mix in an additional 6 cups of hot water.
2. Rinse the napkins under hot water getting them fully wet. Wring them out and then fold your napkin the way you would like it to lay on the table.
3. Quickly dip the napkin until it’s 3/4 of the way into the dye leaving about 1/4 of white fabric at the top. This creates your first & lightest-colored layer.
4. Then dip it about halfway into the dye, holding it there for about 5 minutes.
5. Then dip it to about 1/4 of the way into the dye, again holding it in this position for about 5 minutes.
6. Finally, dip the bottom 1/4 of the napkin into the dye and leave it submerged until you have achieved your desired (and darkest) color. We draped our over the edge of the bowl and let them sit for about 25-30 minutes.
*Note* With a couple of our napkins the dye bled up into the top area that we wanted to leave white. To fix this we put some bleach in a bowl and dipped that portion in for about 30 seconds until it was white again. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly.
7. Repeat this process with as many napkins as you want in as many colors as you want. You can even try mixing different dyes to create your own custom colors!
8. Once you have achieved your desired results, rinse the napkins under cold water until the water comes out clear. Hang them to dry.
9. Put them through a cold rinse wash (without anything else in the load) & tumble dry. They'll probably be wrinkly so give them a good iron and fold them up the same way you did when you dyed them.
We placed our on the table with a cute little jar of jam (to go with fresh baked scones!) and a few small flowers tied together with some twine.
For more Mother's Day ideas, check out our collaboration with Paper Fox LA & Zooey Magazine and stay tuned for more upcoming tutorials!
Photos by Amanda Crew and Andrew Abajian.