Indigo is by far my favorite natural dye to work with. It’s easy, it’s fun, and those beautiful blue hues never go out of style. I usually mix up a vat on our back patio about once a month to fill requests for everything from 10-foot custom drapes to bolts of linen for pretty pillows, or perfectly patterned napkins like these.
To maximize every last bit of dye in the bucket, I always end up throwing in some odds and ends. It’s a great way to repurpose old clothes or use scraps to test new shibori folds. Sometimes it’s a bust. Other times…this magic happens.
The gorgeous, sun-baked hue on these wooden beads resulted after a few dips in the indigo vat plus three days drying outside. After some light sanding, they’ll be on deck to string into new home decor pieces for Tribe. Painting the beads also has a beautiful effect. For a super easy DIY, roll the beads around in a bucket with a small amount of watered down paint to get good coverage. Dry, distress, assemble and finish with some jute or yarn tassels at each end.
How to Decorate with a Bead Garland
A chunky bead garland is my go to layering piece for adding texture to a space. I have three different ones in my own home that move from room to room depending on the time of year. Try draping them over a stack of old books on your coffee table or wrap them around the collar of a big lamp. They look amazing tumbling out of a basket too. During the holidays, I even mix them into my Christmas tree, mantle, and dining table setups.
Ways to Learn About Indigo Dyeing
There a million tutorials and kits for learning indigo dyeing online. I took a different approach and decided to learn the basics during an indigo dyeing retreat hosted by the talented team at Indie Craft Experience. Being able to spend a few days really focusing on the process gave me a strong base for starting to develop my own methods at home.
At first, I made a LOT of t-shirts, napkins, tea towels, and tote bags…but all the practice helped build the confidence to master larger scale projects like these intricately patterned drapes.
My most favorite indigo projects are always clothes or room decor for kids. Mira and Zane have definitely helped out on the weekends. They love stirring up the dye vat, and designing something they can wear. It’s also great to show them how to reinvent school uniform whites or old favorites with stubborn stains that the indigo can easily mask.
I’d love to know what’s in been in your bucket lately if you’re a fellow indigo nut. And if you haven’t tried it yet, start small with a batch of napkins and just have fun. For anything and everything bigger and bolder, contact me for a custom project. Happy dyeing!
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