I have been wanting to experiment with natural dyes for a while now, and with all the great new fall colors that have been popping up on our website (and featured in our monochromatic trend) I decided that it was time. This is such a fun, environmentally friendly project that takes a little time, but very little cash.
For today’s DIY I’ll tell you about what natural ingredients you can use to make natural dyes, and what shades of color they will yield.
What I got: red cabbage, lemons, oranges, beets, yellow onions, blackberries, blueberries, spinach.
For bluish/purple dyes:
Blackberries and red cabbage can be used to make bluish/purple dyes. It’s important to remember when working with natural dyes that experimentation is key – depending on the amount of ingredients you use and how long you leave a garment in the dye, the color you get can vary.
For pinkish/red dyes:
Beets and blueberries can make a really lovely dusty rose color.
For copper/orange dyes:
I never realized what a beautiful color yellow onions can have! Their skins can make an alluring mustard yellow, coppery color.
For yellow dyes:
Orange and lemon peels can be used to make a soft pale yellow dye.
For green dyes:
Finally, spinach can be used to make a beautiful shade of green.
To make the dye, chop up your ingredients and put them in a pot with twice as much water as ingredients. Bring the water to a boil and let simmer for an hour. For deeper colors, you can leave the ingredients in the water (without heat) overnight.
Remove the hard materials from the mixture with a strainer, leaving you with the liquid dye.
Before dyeing, you will also need to create a fixative, which will help your fabric hold the dye.
When working with berries, use a salt fixative – put 1/2 cup of salt in 8 cups of water, put the fabric in and boil for one hour.
When working with vegetables, use a vinegar fixative – mix one part vinegar and four parts water, add your fabric and boil for one hour.
When you remove the fabric, rinse in cold water.
The fabric is now ready to dye! Just drop it in the desired color, let sit until it reaches the shade you want, remove and hang to dry.
I am going to make my dyes and start experimenting this weekend – I’ll share my results next week!
Today’s DIY project was inspired by this post on apartment therapy. Free People has an instagram account and I love so many of the photos that our home office girls post there – it’s like our little visual diary. I LOVE the idea of printing out our photo memories and making them into wall art!
What you need: I used white poster board and double sided tape, and printed our photos out on a regular printer.
I picked photos at random and just started lining them up in rows :)
And that’s it! I think this would look awesome framed and hung up in our office :)
remember liz, our brooklyn fp girl who makes rad vests? well she’s at it again…my jaw dropped when i opened my email this morning and saw her latest project! not only are her patriotic vests to die for, but these photos are so inspiring. thank you liz!
“I have had this flag pinned up and ready to sew for months now but it never got sewn. But recently my dear, sweet mother came to visit and she took this flag home with her and she sewed for me so I would have it for the 4th of July!! Moms rule!!!”
i have another gorgeous piece from our summer store displays to give away! this amazing rope swirl tapestry was hand-made by our talented display team using rope, various brightly colored strings and pom poms and tassels inspired by india. hang it on your wall, use it as a carpet in a hallway, a table runner – whatever your heart desires! one thing’s for sure- no one else will have anything like it :)
this tapestry is actually two pieces – so you can take it apart and hang them separately or keep it as one long piece!
lots of you are asking for a diy – you’re in luck, we did one :) find it here.
a couple of weeks ago, inspired by a tutorial on honestly…wtf, one of my coworkers was inspired to bring back her love for making friendship bracelets, and created this masterpiece :) personally, i’ve only ever been able to do the straight line across or the V pattern, so i had to know how to do this.
for this tutorial we’ll learn how to make a smaller scale version of the bracelet, and once you get the basic steps down you can start experimenting with more string and lots of colors!
what you need: embroidery thread, scissors and tape.
Actually, my name is Liz. I am a young designer, a recent graduate from Parsons The New School for Design, and a current associate at Free People in Soho, NY. I started crocheting these vests this past year and asked some of the Free People girls to rock them for me.
This past season I looked to craft and the charm in handmade objects for inspiration. I had just moved into my new loft in Brooklyn, NY and found my place was a collection of crafts. My most prized possession is a yellow chevron pattern crocheted blanket my mom made when I was young. I owe all of my talent to my mom, who taught me how to crochet. As for the vest itself, I focused on creating a piece that would complete every outfit in my closet. My style is that similar to that of the Free People girl. I look to Pamela Love and Erin Wasson for style inspiration, who both share that endearing, yet individualized free-spirited vibe. I feel like a vest is something you can wear year round: in the winter, I’m always looking for another layer and in the summer, it’s great with a tank and shorts or just over a bathing suit!
thank you so much for sharing liz!!! not only did you quote one of my favorite songs but the vests are amazing and i’m insanely jealous of your rooftop garden…xoxo
i’ve got lots of great diy inspiration for you all today so lets get right to it!
one of our readers made this bike lock inspired by our dog leash DIY! i love the fabrics she used…this is a great way to jazz up your bike lock, just wrap different scraps of fabric around it!
another reader, autumn, sent this awesome project she made for her environmental perspectives class, in which they were required to create an interior or apparel item made entirely out of recycled materials.
she made an up-cycled outdoor chandelier using an old wire basket, recycled glass jars, various necklaces and chains found in her dresser, a coat hanger to hang it up and a little bit (or a lot) of creativity! she spray painted the wire basket to match the necklaces and coat hanger, used some wire to hang the jars from the necklaces, filled the jars with collected sand and seashells then topped it off with a votive candle…..perfect for an outdoor summer garden party!
speaking of outdoor parties, i can’t get over these string chandeliers from the blog wednesday!
a few of you have asked about the amazing rope swirl tapestries in our new store displays and you’re in luck because one of our display artists put together a tutorial on how to make them! it looks like such a fun rainy day project.
what you need: a large piece of cardboard, black marker, scissors, rope in various sizes and colors, neon twine, pompoms.
use a variety of different colors and textures to create a fun swirl – these purple and orange tassels are just another piece of string woven in with the others!
once you’ve got it down, you can make a whole bunch in different sizes and colors, to create a whole wall tapestry just like the ones in our stores :) i can’t wait to try this!
Be sure to check out our new DIY Projects category for more DIY Inspiration!
if you love dreamcatchers as much as i do, you must check out the work of rachael rice. she’s a very talented artist who makes dream catchers that are beyond anything i’ve ever seen. and that’s just one thing she makes – she is extremely creative and was kind enough to share some of her projects and how she makes them for our blog!
once you have the basic steps down for making a dreamcatcher, it becomes much easier to experiment and get a little crazy with them! here, rachael demonstrates how to make small ones using bangles and string – these would be adorable for key chains, bag charms and hanging in your car!
once this part is complete, attach feathers or any other embellishments using string!
rachael has also been making more conceptual dream catchers using pieces of cardboard or thick paper, vintage doilies and hand-made paper feathers!
“Doily is a funny word. What I love about them is that they’re like lace mandalas, and whenever I hold one I think that some woman’s hands probably created it. I like collecting them, and you can find them for next to nothing at yard sales and antique shops.
Pieces of cardstock, cardboard, or even stiff paper can be a home for a lost doily reincarnated as a dream catcher. Paint or collage on your disc (I used silver) and glue your doily on top!”
“To make the feathers, start with some heavy paper and use crayon or oil pastel to create designs. Add any collage elements you’d like (you can use FP catalogs!) – be random, don’t think too much. Paint over those designs with watercolors, or thinned out acrylics or tempera paints. Let dry. You can also do the back! Cut feather shapes out of the paper: I made a stencil and just traced it with pencil. Use markers to make feather designs, or just doodle – you can’t do it wrong :) Attach the feathers to your dream catcher with some embroidery floss, simply hang them where you like!”
amazing! on the right is an example of another one she made called “dark star.”
and last but not least – i think these are my favorite – lace quartz pendants!
“Vintage lace and doilies find new life when cut up and glued onto the tops of quartz crystals. That way we can wear pretty rocks without having to drill holes in them! Simply cut a strip of lace or doily and use a glue gun or regular Elmer’s to attach it to the top of a pendant. A little jump ring or piece of wire run through the holes makes it ready to hang from a piece of leather cord, or a chain.”
Be sure to check out our new DIY Projects category for more DIY Inspiration!