We love how this cushion looks like a colour gradient from a tropical sunset. It’s perfect for transforming your sofa into somewhere to lay back and dream of summer fun.
Of course, you don’t have to use sunset colours, but pink and yellow is a stunning colour combination.
This technique would also look good on t-shirts, pillowcases, scarves… whatever you like!
You will need
To dye one cushion cover:
- 100% white cotton cushion cover
- Elastic bands
- Rubber gloves
- Squeezy bottles x2
- Plastic bag
- Cushion pad
Prepare your fabric
Lay your cushion cover flat on a clean surface. Start to fold it as if you are making a paper fan, flipping the cushion over after each fold. This is an accordion fold. My folds are about 4cm (11⁄2in) wide.
Add some elastic bands
When the cushion cover is completely folded, find the centre of the cushion cover by folding it in half, and put an elastic band tightly around the middle. Now add two more evenly spaced elastic bands either side of the central elastic band. If you want more stripes, add more bands.
Soak your cushion cover
Soak your cushion cover in water, then squeeze out the excess water so that it is damp but not dripping wet.
Prepare your dyes
Put on your rubber gloves and mix up the dye using the squeezy bottle technique; this is the best way to apply dye when you are using multiple colours, as you can control exactly where the dye goes. As you're pouring the dye straight onto the fabric and not leaving it in a dye bath you need to mix up the dye with less water than the packet advises. I recommend mixing a tablespoon of dye and a tablespoon of salt together with 350ml (12 fl. oz) water in a jug. This should fit in your squeezy bottles, but you may have to experiment.
Remember to try out the colour on a scrap of damp cotton fabric to check it isn't too light or dark. After rinsing and drying the fabric the colour will be lighter than it looks now (when the fabric is damp), so mix the dye to be a bit darker than you want the finished colour to be. If you mix a colour and it's darker than you wanted, you just need to add some more water to dilute it.
Pour the dye into your squeezy bottles.
Add your first colour
Hold the cushion cover over a bucket. Pour the first colour dye over one half of the cushion cover, overlapping the middle elastic band slightly.
Add your second colour
Now repeat with the second colour on the other half, overlapping the middle again to create a third colour. In this case pink + yellow = orange.
Leave the dye to set
Lightly squeeze the cushion cover and put it into a plastic bag. Leave in the bag for about 12 hours, then rinse under cold water, snip off the elastic bands, rinse again and hang up to dry. Wash the cover in the washing machine at 30°c, then insert a cushion pad once it’s dry. The dye may run a little the first time you wash your cushion cover, so don’t wash it with anything white. After that the colours will be fixed.
Throw onto your bed or sofa and dream of a tropical paradise!
Extracted from Tie & Dye by Lizzie King, published by Pavilion. Photographs by Lizzie Mayson