June 7, 2013

How To: DIY Upcycled Necktie Fabric Bouquet

dyed fabric flower wedding bouquet

A few months ago I posted photos of this dyed fabric flowers project that I created for a friend out of upcycled necktie interlacing.  I've gotten heaps of feedback, mostly that it would make a beautiful wedding bouquet for a diy or green wedding. This tutorial should make a few of you really happy {and hopefully will lessen the amount of emails I receive on the daily}!

The project is pretty simple, really. Mostly it's just methodical and takes a lot of time. In a nutshell, you deconstruct some neckties, dye some fabric, fold and glue them into flower shapes, then glue them onto a Styrofoam ball that is set up to hang with twine.

Gather your supplies:
Large Styrofoam Ball
Neckties (quantity is dependent on the size of the Styrofoam)
Twine
2 Buttons
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
Fabric Dye
Containers for dyeing
Awl

Deconstruct the neckties:
Using scissors and/or a seam ripper, tear apart those stitches!  After you've opened up the exterior fabric, you'll see the white, woven interlacing fabric strips inside.  Set the exterior fabric aside and use it for another project.  Get rid of the itsy bitsy threads.

Prep the fabric to be dyed:
1. Boil the interlacing strips in a large pot of salt water
2. Squeeze excess water from the fabric, after it's cooled off of course
3. Fold the fabric strips in half lengthwise, then roll them up to look like a cinnamon roll. Use stick pins to secure it as you go. Don't worry about the shape so much now since crafting the actual shape of the flower happens later. The folding and rolling of the fabric now is just the prep work to be able to dye the fabric in multiple colors.

Let's add some color!
1. Line the fabric rolls in rows in a flat container.
2. Following the instructions from the manufacturer, mix and pour in enough dye to only cover the bottom half of the fabric rolls, then cover to retain the heat. Let them sit for the suggested amount of time.
3. After one side has been dyed, it's time to dye the other side a different color.


Dye the second side of the fabric rolls:
1. Open the containers, then lay the un-dyed side of a few of the pink fabric rolls flat into the red dye.
2. Lay the un-dyed side of a few of the pink fabric rolls flat into the purple dye.
3. Lay the un-dyed side of a few of the red fabric rolls flat into the purple dye.
4. Lay the un-dyed side of a few of the red fabric rolls flat into the pink dye.
5. Lay the un-dyed side of a few of the purple fabric rolls flat into the red dye.
6. Lay the un-dyed side of a few of the purple fabric rolls flat into the pink dye.
7. Let the fabric rolls sit in the dye for the amount of time suggested by the manufacturer.

Does this ever happen to you... You're knee deep in a project and someone happens to come along to see what you're working on, expecting to see beautifully-placed-in-perfect-containers-and-photo-ready-magical work in progress (you know, like the ones you see in Pinterest photos?) Then, after one look at your crazy eyes and at the mess surrounding you, they raise their brow at the hand-dyed murder scene they just walked in on and look like they want to bolt.  This, my friends is when you know you're ready for the next step of this project {No one said this would be a pretty WIP!}.  Time to rinse!

After a cold rinse in the sink, unravel the fabric rolls and follow the manufacturer's instructions on washing and drying the dyed fabric. Here are some fancy shmancy before and afters.  See how different it looks PRE and POST rinse, wash and dry!?


Create the flowers
I used this simple tutorial by Jones Design Company to create my flowers, but you may choose to craft your flowers any way you wish.  Once you have all of your flowers created, move on to the next step.

As you can see, my flowers are less than perfect.  This is a very forgiving project!




Construct the ball
Using an awl (or a skewer, perhaps), poke a hole all the way through the entire center of the Styrofoam ball.

Lace your twine (yarn or string) through both holes of your button, then thread both ends of the twine through the center of the Styrofoam ball, using the tunnel you just created with the awl.

The button marks the bottom of the Styrofoam ball, and the top is where the twine comes through the hole.  Leave the ends of the twine nice and long so you can later create a tied, loop handle after the flowers have all been attached.

Attach the flowers
I used a hot glue gun to attach my flowers, but I suppose any glue would work well as long as it's compatible with fabric to Styrofoam.  Here are some tips before you begin:

  • Do not glue any flowers over the button on the bottom
  • Leave a small space (the size of your button) at the top of the ball where the twine comes out
  • Be sure not to glue on or cover the twine since it will be used as your finished handle
  • Glue each flower very close together so you don't see any Styrofoam white space peeking through.

Squish a large amount of glue on the back of your first flower, then stick it to the ball.  Do the same for the rest of the flowers until the entire ball is covered, being sure to glue them so their sides are touching.



Create a handle
After all of the flowers have been attached, slip the ends of twine through the bottom two holes of the remaining button, then slide the button down to rest on the ball.  Put a dab of glue under the button to secure it.  Tie a small knot on the top of the button for extra security if you'd like.  Then tie the loose ends of the twine in a knot at the top to finish it off.

Finishing touches
I added some dyed leaves to the top of my bouquet, but if you have a super awesome, way better idea (don't worry, I won't sulk for long)...do your thing!

To add the leaves, follow these simple steps:

1. Cut two small pieces of white, woven interlacing fabric in the leaf shape of your choice.  I selected interlacing that had already diagonal stitches woven in.

2. Dye the leaves using the manufacturers instructions.  You'll notice that my leaves are different colors...even though they were dyed in the same batch (same package of dye, same container, same amount of time, same rinse/wash/dry process), the difference in the synthetic fabric affected the end result of the colors.

3. Glue the leaves to the top of your bouquet.




Show of hands...who forced everyone they know to look at your finished project?  When they're finished "oohing" and "awwing", send them over here to make their own!

As usual, I'd love to see photos of your finished project.  Feel free to post them to my facebook page, or tag me at @upcycleyourlife on Instagram and Twitter.