How to Tie-Dye Pillow Covers
Have you embraced the tie-dye trend? Give your living space a happy refresh for summer with these simple DIY tie-dye pillow covers. If you’re like me, these pillow covers will not the last tie-dye project on your list!
Have you embraced the tie-dye trend? There’s no denying the nostalgic and good-vibes aspect of this print. This is probably why I turned to tie-dying ALL THE THINGS as a form of art therapy over the last couple months.
I’ll be honest here. I’m not a DIY’er. In fact, I’m probably the poster child for #pinterestfail. In my favor, the process of tie-dye is simple enough. After all, it’s been the quintessential day camp project my kids make every summer. So easy a kid could do it, right?!
I’ve found that the art of tie-dye gives me the structure of following specific directions (e.g., dye mixing recipe) while also giving me grace to subjectively apply colors here and there. The result is an aesthetically-happy and fun print time and again.
Pillow covers were at the top of my tie-dye project list because they are such a simple (and inexpensive) way to refresh furniture for the change of season. I found these standard size (20 x 20) cotton pillow covers from H&M for only $5.99 each. The heavier weight of the fabric makes them a great fit for indoor or outside furniture this summer.
Materials You’ll Need
You don’t need many supplies to tie-dye at home and most of these you should have around the house. Grab these and you’ll be ready to roll:
- Rit Dye in Indigo (I love Rit Dye brand which have been around for 100 years and the company is based in the Chicago area. They have a ton of hues that are available anywhere from Target to Amazon).
- A color protectant like Rit Dye ColorStay Dye Fixative (optional, but highly recommend)
- Pillow covers like these from H&M (pre-washed and dried)
- Rubber gloves
- Salt, measuring cups and spoons, and squirt bottles (you could also use glass jars and an eye dropper to apply color)
- Rubber bands (or twine)
- A drop cloth (or a couple trash bags)
- A baking cooling rack (not necessary, but helps colors from bleeding together when applying the dye)
Simple Steps to Tie-Dye Pillow Covers
- Assemble your materials on a clear workspace (e.g., the kitchen island or outside on the lawn). Tip: Make sure to cover your workspace with a drop cloth to avoid unwanted dye spots.
- Submerge your pillow covers in water until completely soaked. Wring out extra water.
- Lay pillow cover on flat surface and fold or twist based on desired print result. I varied my pillow covers between the Sunburst and Stripes techniques:
- For Sunburst: Pinch the center of the pillow cover and pull it up (like a tee-pee). Tie off with a rubber band and add rubber bands down the length of the cover. I spaced mine about two inches apart.
- For Stripes: Fold the cover like a fan (about two to three inch folds). Secure with rubber bands throughout.
- Prepare Rit Dye in Indigo (or any color or colors of your choice) according to the directions. This includes combining two cups of hot water with two tablespoons of dye. (I combine in a large glass measuring bowl with a spout). Stir together and add one tablespoon of salt. Stir again and pour mixture into a plastic squirt bottle. Repeat for all dye colors you plan to use.
- Lay wet and bound pillow covers on a wire cooling rack (make sure they do not touch) and add dye to fabric. Once one side is complete, turn over carefully and add dye to the other side. For this pillow cover fabric, make sure the dye is applied through the thicker layers.
- Let pillow covers sit and color absorb, in the sun if possible, for a couple hours.
- Submerge pillow covers in a large tub of water and four tablespoons of Rit Dye ColorStay Dye Fixative for 20 minutes. Stir covers around during this time to make sure all sides are submerged.
- Rinse each pillow cover separately under cold water until water runs clear. Wash each pillow cover on a gentle cycle and let air dry.
- Add your pillow insert into your newly minted tie-dye pillow cover and toss on your favorite lounging spot!
Tips for Success
- Wear those rubber gloves from the start! The dye is potent and will leave your hands stained for days.
- Try a test run. If this is your first time experimenting with tie-dye, do a trial run on an old t-shirt, cloth or dish towel. Get comfortable with the technique so you know which print style you like the most for your pillow covers.
- Wash each finished pillow cover separately. Avoid cross-coloring between your finished pillow covers in the event there may be some remaining dye when you toss them in the washer. It may seem tedious to wash each one separately, but it’s worth it.
You can apply these tie-dye techniques to anything from baby onesies and t-shirts to pillow cases and socks and so much more. Let me know if you refresh your living space with these mood-boosting pillow covers or decide to tie-dye something else!