How To Dye Your Tula Baby Blanket at Home
Have you been dreaming of a Tula Baby Blanket in your own favorite color? Well we asked a pro, Valene Hoover of Starry Skies Tie Dyes, to share some of her dyeing secrets on getting a truly one-of-a-kind baby blanket!
Hey everyone! My name is Valene Hoover and I helped create the little mom and pop shop, Starry Skies Tie Dyes (named after my daughter, Starlette and son, Skylo.) My husband, Justin Hoover, is the other half of the operation, but he understands that I have better people skills! We have been in business since 2014 dyeing baby wraps, ring slings, clothes, fabrics, and of course all the Baby Tula blankets and carriers! I feel Baby Tula made solid Baby Carriers for dyeing addicts like myself! And those luxurious white bamboo viscose blankets…a dyer’s dream! With great pleasure, I have been given the opportunity to share a how-to step by step tutorial on our signature galaxy dye jobs and a basic vat dyeing tutorial for the novice dyer that wants to get their hands wet! Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, I am always happy to help!
Galaxy Dyeing – Ice Dyeing
Galaxy (also known as ice dye) is when you layer dye and ice directly on the fabric to make a unique tie dye effect.
You will need:
- Tula Baby Blanket (white or gray works the best) – I used Stars Leo
- Blue Dawn dish soap or Synthrapol textile detergent
- Soda Ash (Washing Soda or Ph Up can also be used)
- Small spoon
- Ventilator mask
- Plastic covering or garbage bag
1. Prep your fabric by washing on hot with a 1/8 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap or Synthrapol.
2. In a separate bucket, mix 1 cup of soda ash per 1 gallon of hot water. Stir to dissolve soda ash. Once soda ash is dissolved, soak fabric for no less than one hour making sure fabric is completely submerged.
3. Take your fabric out of the bucket and squeeze as much access water out as possible. I personally just use my spin cycle on my washer to get the access water out.
4. Set up a grate with a tote underneath to catch your dye drippings. Put your fabric on top of grate, scrunching it together in a 2-D gathered pattern.
5. Sprinkle dye onto fabric using a spoon, salt shaker, tea strainer, etc. I decided to use 12 colors. I used Dharma Trading Co. Hot Hibiscus, Coral Pink, Daffodil, Lime Squeeze, Bright Green, Caribbean Blue, Lapis, Glacier Blue, Raspberry, Red Violet, Deep Purple, and Custom Colours Inc. Dark Black.
NOTE: I place my dye in different patterns each time I make a galaxy so they are all truly one of a kind. I allow complimentary colors to touch each other. The color wheel is a great tool to use when deciding where to place your colors. I usually start with my lightest colors first, then bright colors, then whatever blank space is left will get filled in with dark colors.
6. Add a thin layer of ice.
7. Let ice melt. Check the bottom to see if it has fully penetrated the fabric. If it hasn’t, add more dye and another thin layer of ice.8. Once your fabric is completely saturated with dye and all ice has melted, cover with a piece of plastic or a trash bag and let the dye adhere to the fabric (batching) in a warm room (70-90 degrees is ideal) for a full 24-48 hours. Batching is crucial for vibrant colors.
9. Rinse your fabric with cold water for at least 5 minutes to get all of the soda ash out so the colors don’t transfer to other areas of the blanket. Switch to warm for another 10-20 minutes.
10. When your rinse is starting to look clear, soak your fabric in a tub, tote or bucket in hot water for a few hours. It is completely normal for your blanket to bleed for hours, sometimes even a day or two! Change water every few hours. I usually do at least 5 soaks.
11. Wash fabric 2-3 times in washer on a hot, gentle cycle with a 1/8 teaspoon of Dawn or Synthrapol.
12. Let fabric air dry.
NOTE: After you’re finished, I like to put the fabric in the dryer on fluff with 2 -4 tennis balls to soften it up again.
Want to add the ‘stars’ to finish it?
Add stars with your favorite non-dimensional fabric paint and a simple pointed paint brush. I personally use Jacquard Lumiere Pearlescent white, but Tulip works well also. Let fabric paint dry for 24 hours and then heat set stars with an iron.
FINALLY! Admire your hard work. You have successfully created a beautiful, one of a kind, handmade galaxy.
Vat Dyeing – Single Color Dye
You will need:
- Tula Baby Blanket – I used Stars Leo
- (2) 5 gallon buckets, trash cans, small totes or a sink
- 2 cups of non-iodized salt
- 1 1/3 cup of soda ash (Super Washing Soda or PH UP)
- Dawn blue dish soap or Synthrapol
- Mason jar or cup
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large stirring utensil
- 1-2 packets of Dylon Dye, Tulip Dye or 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite procion dye (Dharma Trading Co., Custom Colours Inc., Jacquard, etc.)
- Wash your blanket regardless if it is new, used, or only used once. This is an important step that should not be skipped. This helps eliminate any barriers created in the factory or at your home that will cause the dye to not properly adhere to the blanket. One hot wash with a drop (1/8 teaspoon) of Dawn original blue dish soap or Synthrapol.
- Mix up 1 cup of soda ash or PH UP (PH PLUS, PH INCREASER, Super Washing Soda) per 1 gallon of warm or hot water. Let the soda ash fully dissolve. Add your blanket, making sure it is fully submerged. Let it soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Get your vat ready. Add 2 gallons of warm water. I use a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket, but a tote, small trash can or your sink works too. Add 2 cups of non-iodized salt. Let it fully dissolve.
- In a mason jar or any other small container, paste up your dye with 8 ounces of warm or hot water. Stir it as much as possible making sure it is fully dissolved. If it is not fully dissolved, it can create speckles of dye on your blanket.
- Pour your dye into your vat (sink, bucket, tote, etc.) Use your stirring utensil to stir your dye. Make sure the dye is fully dissolved.
- Put your damp blanket into the vat. Make sure your blanket is fully submerged and able to move freely.
- Stir, stir, stir! For best results, stir the entire time.
- Keep stirring! If you prefer a lighter shade, 30 minutes of constant stirring. If you prefer a deep or vibrant shade, stir for 45 minutes to one hour.
- The last 15 minutes of your stir time, slowly add your soda ash into the vat (1/3 cup.)
- Pull your blanket out of the vat and rinse all of the soda ash out for 5-10 minutes.
- Switch to warm water, rinsing for 5-10 minutes.
- Soak your blanket in the tub with hot water. Colors such as yellow or green will only need a short hot soak. Any color with turquoise in it will need a long hot soak to remove the loose dye that did not properly adhere to your fabric during the dyeing process. (Hot water is a mandatory step!)
- Wash your blanket in the washer on a hot, gentle cycle with 1/8 teaspoon of Dawn or Synthrapol 1-2 times or until water is clear.
- Air dry your blanket.
- After dyeing, your blanket will feel stiff. Don’t worry, it just needs to be broken in again. I like to put the blanket on fluff in the dryer with 4 tennis balls.
- Admire your hard work and allow your baby to cuddle with your soft baby safe dyed blanket!
NOTE: For black, use three times the amount of dye, salt and soda ash. Make sure to use boiling water (120-150 degrees.)
Thank you Valene for sharing this awesome information! We hope that these helpful step by step instructions will give you the courage to try something fun and personalized! Please note: Baby Tula is not liable for any post-purchase modifications of any Tula product.