Natural Fabric Dying With Tea

Dying fabric with tea is great because for the most part you don’t need a mordant! Tea is rich in tannins which acts as mordant, giving the dye great staying power.

Tea is still a natural dye so it will fade slightly over time, especially if you use stain removers or detergents with bleach.

For our dying project we used pure white pompom trim in anticipation for another project (you’ll see soon! I’m excited for it!)

What you will need for this project:

– White fabric

– Black tea bags (I used decaf orange pekoe but you can use anything you have around)

– Pot

– Water

– White vinegar

– TongsAny size wood. We used 1x8x8 unfinished pine.pngWe are going to be putting these pom poms somewhere where they will be in direct contact with natural light (hint hint). So even though I didn’t NEED to use a mordant, I did decide to give it an extra boost of staying power buy boiling the pom pom trim in white vinegar before I started the dying process. You can skip this if your project won’t be in direct sun light or in a high traffic area. 20200614_100750.jpgThis project is basically like making a very large and very strong cup of tea!

If you wanted the tie dye look (who doesn’t these days!?) you would want to tie the cloth off now before you start the dying process.

You’ll bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your fabric. I like to get the fabric wet first so it absorbs the natural tea dye more evenly.

Once your fabric is fully saturated go ahead and put your tea bags in.  I started off with one tea bag and let it steep for 5 minutes to get a sense of what the color would be like. For me it was too light so I added a second tea bag and let steep in the boiling water for another 5 minutes. 20200614_111237.jpg20200614_112335.jpgYou can pull the fabric out slightly with a pair of tongs to see how the color is setting and get an idea of the final product. I loved this color so I took the pot off the element and let the fabric sit in the tea bath for 24 hours.20200615_101728-1.jpgAfter a day of steeping I pulled out the fabric and rinsed it under cold water until the water ran clear. If you are doing this with clothing you will want to add an additional step here and launder it on a cold gentle cycle. 20200615_101806.jpgHang to dry- it was a beautiful day here in Toronto, Canada so I hung ours outside to dry.

I love the color and can’t wait to show you what we do with it next week!20200615_102225.jpgHere’s the natural tea dyed pom poms beside the original20200615_170943.jpgExcited about natural fabric dying as much as I am? Heres a list of other natural dying projects from us at Tall Dork and Matching

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

Avocado Dying Crib Sheet

Last week I was given two large jars of avocado dye by my pall at @Backyardbedding and I showed you our ‘Ombre Avocado Dyed Macramé Cord’ project. Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own avocado dye so you can start turning your own house millennial pink.

**So far I’ve only done 3 projects with the dye, which I think is very conservative considering how much time I have right now, how easy it is, and how beautiful the dye looks. **Pats self on back**20200520_134747.jpgWhat you will need for this project:

–       Avocado pits

o   We freeze ours so we can use them as needed, just clean, pop into a ziploc bag, and you’re good to go until you need them.

–       A large pot

o   Do not use ceramic or porous material as it will stain

–       Mordant-

o   White Vinegar -1 part vinegar to 3 parts water

–       Tongs

–       Natural fabric

o   The dye will not absorb well into synthetic material Any size wood. We used 1x8x8 unfinished pine.png1.     You will place your avocado pits in a non-porous pot filled with water. Some of our pits had come apart, but no need to intentionally split them. We used about 20 pits for this pot of water (thank god baby C loves avocados!). Bring your water to a boil and let simmer on low with a lid on for 60min. Remove from heat and let sit over night for maximum color extraction. In the morning, removed pits and discard them.

o   Don’t start step 2 until step one is completed.IMG_7513.jpgIMG_7515.jpg

2.     You will need a mordant to prepare your natural fabric. A mordant is a substance used to set natural (and unnatural) dyes into fabrics. For this project we used white vinegar. Measure out 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water into a large pot, and place on stove top to boil. Once boiling gently, and carefully, using your tongues, place the fabric you are dying into the boiling pot of vinegar water. Place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Let fabric sit in the water bath for 1 hour.

o   After an hour, remove the lid and let water and cloth cool. About an hour. Ring out the excess water well. 20200517_175343.jpg3.     If you want to create a pattern and tie dye, this would be the time to do this. I tied off just the centre of the sheet with an elastic band. I wanted to keep it fairly simple.20200414_132929.jpgSorry this is not the crib sheet, its a previous piece I dyed to make masks out out. But just wanted to give you and idea as I forgot to take a picture of what I did for this project.

4.     Place your fabric in the avocado dye and let sit at least overnight. You can stir it around and disturb it a bit if you wanted to get the dye in everywhere. I like having the color a bit blotchy, like a very subtle tie dye, so I just shoved the cloths into the pot and left them to sit.20200518_121039.jpg5.      In the morning you can remove the cloths from the dye and rinse well under cold water until the water runs clear.

6.     Wash with gentle detergent on a cold setting by themselves so they don’t discolor any of your other cloths.

7.     Hang to dry indoors. The heat and the sun can remove some of the color.

8.      Enjoy! And tag me in your creations @talldorkandmatching on Instagram 20200520_134631.jpg20200520_134825.jpg

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

DIY Barn Board

If you are following along, we are showing you little projects we did to collect enough interesting pieces together for our front hallway gallery wall. We first showed you our Quick and Easy Dried Flowers and now we are going to show you how to make a new piece of pine wood look like barn board to do a simple and minimal height chart for baby C.DIY BARN BOARD.pngwhat you will need .png

What you will need for this project:

-A light grey based wood stain. We used Weathered Oak by Minwax

-A Dark brown based wood stain. We used Provincial by Minwax

-Black paint. We used Valspar interior matte (stay away from anything gloss)

-White paint. We used Valspar interior matte (see note above)

-A piece of pine

-Old rags

-Paint brushes, we used foam brushes

*Picking out your wood: When we purchased our wood we looked for one that was already previously a bit distressed. It had a crack in the bottom and plenty of knots. The more distressed it is to start, the easier it will be for you.

1. Distress your wood. You can use anything you can find around your house or garage. We used steel wool and a mallet, but you could use cans of soup and a fork! Be creative. Anything that can make dents without breaking the wood will do. I focused heavily around the edges of the wood and the knots. I rubbed the steel wood all over the board and made small dents with the mallet to make it look older. I even rubbed gavel over parts of it. Make sure the wood is on an even flat surface so you don’t break it. A big of cracks are good but you want to keep the wood in 1 piece! Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 3.11.47 PM.png

2. Get a base tan! For your wood of course. Getting the weathered look is all about layers. So I started with the grey based stain and poured it on the wood(not everywhere) leaving it for about 5 minutes before I rubbed it in. Making the areas under the sitting stain to darken slightly more. I then took my rag and rubbed it into the remainder of the wood.20190920_192058.jpg3. You will want to do the same with the dark brown stain next but instead you’ll want to focus your pours over the knots in the wood. That will darken the knots and add more dimension. Leave the pools of stain on the knots for 2-5 minutes before spreading it out. 20190920_192303.jpg–       I did step 2 and 3 twice. The second time focusing on smaller areas, not spreading it out over the entire plank of wood. Ie: using the dark stain and only spreading it 5-10inches around the knots. Starting to gain some contrast in colors. Use your knots as guides. Knots should be dark and become lighter as you move out. 20190920_192333.jpg4. I mixed a bit of white in with my black paint to create a dark grey and then watered it down (3 parts paint to 1 parts water) to create a thicker stain. I poured this down the centre of the wood and left it for 5 minutes. When I spread it out after I made sure to really wipe any extra away around the perimeter so it had a gradual lightening affect around the edges. 20190920_192848.jpg20190920_193056.jpg5. Time to highlight! You will use your whites to highlight your knots. The best way to make those darker knots pop is to highlight them. You’ll want to take your brush and make small brush strokes around your knots (2-3 inches away from the knot). Use your cloth to rub them in so they don’t look like lines. If you know anything about highlighting makeup, you’ll be a pro at this.20190920_193515.jpg20190925_210804.jpg*Use your eye and go slow. You can always layer more. If it gets too dark, add more light! If it gets too light, add more dark! You are working with transparent stains and light colors so it’s very easy to fix. Also the more you work at it the more layers you get = the better it will look.

Once it was dry we drilled it directly into the wall and stenciled a black Z for our last name to the top. We now use it to track Cs growth. Its functional and it looks great in our front hall.

Have you tried this project? Tag us on Instagram for a change to be featured in our stories! @talldorkandmatching

As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously

DIY Montessori Pull Up Bar for Babies

When Baby C pulled herself up for the first time, it was an exciting milestone. A new beginning. From then on, there was no stopping our little bean. She went from crawling to cruising so fast! 

But we quickly realized she didn’t have much to work with. The only furniture around to cruise was our leather sofa, which was too slippery for her little hands.

So, we found a solution: a DIY Montessori pull up bar

The whole setup was cheap, quick, and easy! What’s better, our Baby C loves using her brand new Montessori pull up bar to practice standing up and moving around. 

We installed it along with mirrors, so that Baby C could explore herself and her surroundings with her newfound mobility.

 

Here’s how to make a DIY Montessori Pull Up Bar —

Materials:

  • wooden dowel or railing – 1” thick, and as wide as you need (ours is 6 feet)
  • 3 handrail brackets (at least 1 for every 2 feet of dowel)
  • peel-and-stick mirror tiles
  • painter’s tape
  • fine sandpaper (150-220 grit)
  • measuring tape
  • pencil

Tools:

  • level
  • stud finder (or drywall anchors)
  • drill
  • mitre saw (optional, if you need to trim down your dowel)

Let’s get your baby cruising!

Steps:

  1. Measure your space.

Before you begin, make sure to choose an empty space in your home that will keep your baby cruising safely and openly. That is, free of any heavy furniture that could topple over, with a spacious wall for the pull up bar and mirror. Once you’ve found the right spot, bring out the measuring tape!

First, we measured the width of the wall where the Montessori pull up bar would go. You can round down to estimate how wide your bar should be.

Next, we measured the height. We stood Baby C up in front of the wall and used a pencil to mark where her hands would rest comfortably. Your baby’s height should help determine how high your pull up bar should be placed –– use their shoulders as a general guide.

Babies grow fast, so if you want to give your infant something to reach for, feel free to add an inch or two to your height measurement. This way, they won’t outgrow the pull up bar as quickly. But don’t go too high! And don’t forget to account for the height of the handrail brackets and the bar itself, which will already add 1-2 inches. 

2. Find your studs.

Now that we had our measurements, we used a stud finder to look for studs in our wall. You’ll need to locate two –– one for each end of the pull up bar. Mark the stud placements with a pencil to indicate where your outer brackets will go.

Studs are ideal for childproofing and mounting stability, but if you don’t have them, then drywall anchors work as well. 

Now it’s time to grab your level and check that all the markings you have made are level with each other at your desired height. You can also use the level to find your midpoint between the two ends, where your middle mount will go.

3. Get your wooden dowel or railing

We purchased a 6-foot-long wooden dowel, which fit perfectly in our space. You can get one that’s longer or shorter, depending on how much play room you have available. 

If you need it short but can’t find the right size on the market, buy a long one and trim it down with a mitre saw or handsaw. Some large hardware stores will let you use their equipment, so take your measurements before you go out and buy!

4. Sand it down.

Once you have a dowel or railing that fits your desired width, you’ll need to lightly sand down the wood. We used fine grit sandpaper, which works well to remove rough scratches and provide a smooth, clean finish.

I don’t know about your kid, but ours will put just about anything in her mouth. So sand away for childproofing’s sake! When the wood feels smooth and safe for tiny fingertips, it’s ready.

5. Screw the brackets into the wall.

After sanding the dowel, it’s finally time to start mounting! We put up our handrail brackets and fastened them securely into place. 

The two outer brackets were screwed into studs. We didn’t have a stud midway between them, but we decided to hang the middle bracket anyway –– just for aesthetics. With the two end brackets screwed firmly into studs, we were confident the pull up bar would be more than stable enough for our active Baby C to cruise on. 

6. Drill the dowel into the brackets.

With our three brackets in place, we held the dowel up to see where it would rest. We marked the wood where it will connect with the bracket. We drilled pilot holes into the marked spots on the dowel, and then attached the dowel to the bracket.

7. Mirror mirror on the wall.

Baby C is pretty in love with her own face right now. We wanted to put mirrors on the wall to encourage her self-discovery and also get her to cruise more. 

We bought a pack of peel-and-stick mirror tiles that would allow us to create a unique design (pictured). This is where you can have fun, experiment, and be as creative as you like! 

Use painter’s tape to place them and try different arrangements. When you decide on a design you like, peel off the backs and stick them up.

A few notes of caution about the mirrors: 

  • Do NOT cut the tiles. We bought these mirrors on Amazon, where it says they are easy to cut. We initially wanted to make a mirror pattern with triangles, but after we tried to cut them up, we found that the mirror pieces started to chip. Please be careful!
  • These mirror tiles smudge very easily. Of course, all mirrors get dirty when fondled by tiny hands, but be warned: if you plan to use these mirror tiles in particular, always have some Windex handy! We still love them though.

And there you have it! A beautiful, supportive Montessori pull up bar for babies.

We love how much safer and more adventurous it makes baby cruising for our little explorer. And more importantly, Baby C adores it!

Did you try this project? We want to know! Tag us @talldorkandmatching for a chance to be featured in our Instagram stories!

Childproofing your home? Check out my baby-friendly cord box

~ Tall Dork and Matching ~
Don’t forget to follow us @TallDorkandMatching on Instagram and Facebook for more DIYs and creative adventures.

Baby Skunk costume

Very few things we solidified before baby C was born. We decided on her name – although changed it a few times. We decided on peach as the color of her nursery, but that slowly developed into kind of pink. Abby still can’t quite admit she has a pink nursery, so we still say peach!

And finally, the one constant, her Halloween costume. We knew she would be around the crawling age – which she started a few weeks back – during Halloween and thought a skunk would be adorable. Her little skunk tush waddling back and forth as she crawls is too much cute! (I’m going to have to delete that line before she’s old enough to get mad at me for talking about her cute tush online!)

We have attached affiliate links at the end of this post at no additional charge to you. We will earn a commission when you link though and purchase.

What you will need for this project:

–       Black onesie with a hood

–       Hot glue gun and glue sticks

–       Pipe cleaners

–       Black and white felt (or foam sheets if you don’t have felt)

–       Chalk for marking

–       White yarn, in 1 or 2 different textures

–       A textured piece of black fabric – we found a soft fluffy throw blanket from the dollar store

–       A textured piece of white fabric – we found a dish towel at the dollar store

Tail and Back Stripe:

To start off, we cut the shape of the tail out of a piece of black foam sheet. Folding it in half while cutting will help get both sides symmetrical. Basically you just fold the foam in half horizontally and round out one of the edges. We found the length of the sheet was the perfect length for a big fluffy tail.

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You will want to do the same for the middle back – slowly tapering it as you hit the neck, and coming to a V as you hit the front of the hood. I used 3 pieces of foam for this.

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Once you have the shape of the skunk stripe you can start adding the yarn. To cut the yarn efficiently into small pieces we wrapped them many times around something the size of a small remote (about 2 inches). Once you’ve wrapped a bunch you can cut it off, and you’ve got lots of equally sized little pieces of yarn. If you’ve ever made a pom-pom, it’s the same theory, just don’t tie it off before you cut.

We started by hot gluing the smoother yarn all the way around the perimeter of the skunk stripe. We did a couple of layers that are pointing out. Then we started with the more textured yarn so the stripe would become fluffier. We glued these all projected down toward the tail, as we approached the neck area we slowly switched directions so it wasn’t too obvious so that some of the yarn would stick out closer to the face (don’t do it so close to the face that the baby will be tempted grab at it).

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The Tail Structure:

We wanted the tail to have structure and stick up a bit, so we laid the tail with the yarn side down. We then placed pipe cleaners in the interior of the tail, basically as many as we could fit without spilling over. We then took our black fabric and cut a piece just bigger then the tail, covered the pipe cleaners and glued it around the perimeter of the tail.

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We cut the corner of the blanket so it was already a nice seamed edge, but where it wasn’t, we just folded the blanket underneath and hot glued it down so it didn’t look messy.

This was great! It gave us the ability to mold the tail and point it up so it wasn’t just dragging sadly behind her. Also a lot harder for her to grab it!

The White Tummy:

For the white tummy we used a dish cloth. This is a part of her costume that she will be able to grab freely and we wanted to make sure it didn’t have bits on it that could be ripped off. We drew a circle with the chalk on the belly of the onesie and transferred that shape to the dish cloth. We had to cut our circle in half because the outfit has a zip, but if yours doesn’t, you can simply hot glue the circle (belly) onto the belly part of the onesie.

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The Ears:

For the ears we used cuttings from the same black throw blanket as before. We cut 2 of the remaining corners as they are already triangles with a nice sewn edge. We then cut out 2 triangles from the white foam a bit smaller than the ears and glued them where the inner ear would be. We marked on a curve with chalk where we wanted the ears to be on the hood, making sure they were symmetrical. You want the ears to be a bit curved when you glue them on, too straight and they will look funny and very large.  When gluing the ears to the hood we made sure to hold them in place until fully cooled so they didn’t shift or straighten out as they bonded.

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Once all your pieces are connected, it is time to try this cuteness on and revel in how freaking adorable it is! Happy Halloween to our Tall Dork and Matching fam!

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Things we would have done differently:

–       We would have gotten a onesie with a tighter hood or a drawstring. The hood we have is great for everyday bit doesn’t stay put for long.

–       We would have used felt instead of foam paper. We used foam because that is what we had in the house. But felt would have conformed better the onesie and been a bit more seamless. From some angles the foam does stick out a bit when she moves in certain ways

–       If we wanted this costume to last longer or maybe be used again, we would have sewn the bigger pieces on instead of used hot glue. If you plan on using this costume for multiple kids or events I would strongly consider sewing, or doing small touch ups with the hot glue between uses.

Have you tried this project? Tag us on Instagram for a change to be featured in our stories! @talldorkandmatching

 As a blogger, our content includes affiliate links from advertisers. We may earn money from actions readers take on these links, such as a click and purchase. However, these are the tools that we recommend fully and have helped our blog tremendously